Cabaret Interview Caro Meets

Ali Cook: Impossible

By | Published on Thursday 6 August 2015

If you are a fan of magic shows, you might have noticed that they don’t make it to the bigger venues, on the whole. This month in London, however, there’s a magical West End treat for aficionados of the genre, and no doubt for those of you who haven’t quite caught the bug yet (go on, give it a try. Magic isn’t just dodgy geezers with rabbits and hats, you know).
It’s a something of a mixed bill, with lots of acts appearing, tied together in a central theme. I spoke to one of the participants, magician and actor Ali Cook (you have probably seen him on the telly), to find out more.

CM: You are only one of a number of acts appearing in ‘Impossible’, but can you tell us a bit about it? What format does it have and who else is involved in it?
AC: ‘Impossible’ is a celebration of magic combining the skills of some of the best magicians from around the world. From the elegant magic of Luis De Matos to the daredevil stunts of my friend Jonathan Goodwin.

CM: What would you regard as the highlights of the show?
AC: Well it’s like a sketch show of magic. Some people love watching grand illusions like vanishing a car! Other people love close up sleight of hand and that is pretty much how the show works. It goes big trick, little trick, visual trick to mind reading effects. There’s literally something for everyone.

CM: What can we expect from your own contribution to it?
AC: Well I guess I’m an all-round magician. In the first half I’ll perform rarely seen grand stage illusions and then in the second half I’ll demonstrate hard-core sleight of hand mixed with escapology.

CM: Would you say it’s suitable for a family audience, or is this for grown-ups only?
AC: This is definitely a show for all the family. It centres around a young boy and his discovery of a magic puzzle box. By the end of the show after meeting eight illusionists he pulls off his own grand feat of magic.

CM: It’s rare for magic to be featured in the West End isn’t it? Is magic having a resurgence at the moment, do you think?
AC: Magic hasn’t appeared in the west end for decades although it has always broken box office records when it’s been here or on Broadway. I think it’s because it breaks all language barriers. Magic is universal. But magic is having a huge resurgence at the moment what with countless shows on prime TV both here and in the states. I think it may be partly due to fact that I think everyone loves watching YouTube clips of magic (after cute animals of course). Maybe the ideal show would be Crufts meets David Copperfield?

CM: Can you tell us a bit about why you got into magic? Was it something that you were always interested in?
AC: When I was a child my mum owned a new age book shop so I guess I was always surrounded by mysteries. But when people came in for psychic readings, it felt more psychological to me rather than paranormal, and that fascination with psychology got me into magic.

CM: As a performer, do you have any specific influences? What shapes your approach to your work?
AC: I’ve been influenced by many people but probably the most is maybe Steve Martin. I love the way he started out working in a magic shop, became the world’s biggest comedian and then a movie star. Not bad.

CM: Which is more fun, TV work, or live performance?
AC: Live performance is always more fun. Every night is like opening night; you have no idea what’s going to happen next and you can’t use any camera tricks or edits.

CM: What’s your favourite playing card?
AC: My favourite playing card is the ace of clubs.

CM: What’s next for you?
AC: Well, I’m also an actor and I’ve been working on a movie called ‘The Call Up’. It will be coming out in the autumn.

‘Impossible’ is on at Noel Coward Theatre until 29 August. See this page here for more info and to book tickets.

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