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Our Interview With Leading British Magician Ben Hanlin
July 20, 2016
We recently caught up with Ben Hanlin, a leading British magician well known for his role in the TV series Tricked. Ben is headed to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival next month with his new show Trickhead and his stupefying talent will surely blow the minds of everyone in the audience. Get your tickets here to witness the Trickhead magic for yourself.
Tell us about your show Trickhead?
Ben Hanlin: Trickhead is my brand new, debut one-man show, which will be going to Edinburgh Fringe this year. I’m a magician, so obviously the show includes a lot of magic that will leave people a bit mind blown and make them think they’ve seen amazing things. I’ve also tried to make it a really, really fun show with loads of moments that will make people laugh out loud. It’s an interactive show so I will bring people out of the audience as well. In summary, Trickhead an interactive and fun show that involves lots of magic.
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
I have a couple pre-show rituals. There is a new thing I have started doing, it sounds a bit weird but another friend of mine, who is also a magician, said to try this and it has actually worked very well so I keep up with it. I peek at the audience through the stage curtains as they are coming in and I say to myself ‘I love all of them and they’re all my friends’. I look at them individually and I say ‘you’re my friend, you’re my friend, you’re my friend, etc.’.
Somehow that makes me feel like I’m walking into a room full of my friends. Another pre-show ritual that really helps is jumping up and down a little bit right before I go out on stage to get my body moving, that makes me feel like I’m full of energy.
How would you describe your personal style?
If you’re referring to my performance style, I try to make it fun. A lot of magicians can often come across as quite mysterious or, dare I say it, slightly weird. I try to come across as myself, which hopefully is just a fairly normal guy who has the ability to do some tricks that look like real magic. I want everybody to feel relaxed, hopefully have fun, and know that I’m a fun person that’s going to make the audience laugh and not take themselves too seriously so that they can enjoy magic as well.
You’ve performed some risky pranks on celebrities? Have any of them ended badly?
Yes, fortunately not on the celebrities. In general, they’ve always taken it pretty well when I’ve revealed to them that it was a trick and they were fairly relieved that I have just been pranking them. However, when I smashed Kerry Katona’s wedding ring and put it back together and revealed that it was a TV show, she did not see the funny side right away. Eventually she did, but at first she started to hit me and call me a few swear words because she was just annoyed that I pranked her, but she was great after it, she was really fun.
If you were not a magician what would you want to be doing?
I don’t know… I like performing on stage. I like the idea of coming up with magic and coming up with a concept and having to present that idea and interact with audiences. So maybe a presenter because that’s as close as it gets to being a magician without doing magic, if that counts.
What are you looking forward to the most at the Edinburgh Fringe?
I’m looking forward to seeing so many shows. I’ve only gone up for a few days in the past, but I’ll be there for a whole month this time. I just can’t wait until my brain is full with all the amazing shows that hopefully I will see.
What is your favourite trick to perform and why?
Good Question. I think this is probably a bit of a cliché, but I like to perform the trick that I’m working on the most which is often the newest because that one excites me because I’m trying to figure it out and try and give that one a bit more attention than some of the other tricks.
However, there are a few tricks that I go back to that I have been doing for so long, I just feel so comfortable and always enjoy performing them. For example, when I quit my full time job, I had to go on the street and learn to street perform. This is a slightly dangerous trick, but I used to perform this to tourists and this one trick alone paid my bills for a couple years. So tricks like that have a special place in my repertoire.
Do you have a favourite designer?
Hmm, that’s an interesting question. I do, I like a few different people at the moment. I really like Ben Sherman’s designs and I really like the clothing brand Reiss, I think it’s good for men at the moment, especially their nice suits. I really like Pretty Green as well, a lot of their clothes are really good, and my personal style fits with them. My clothing style is always slightly mod, so as a result a lot of my clothes have a subtle mod feel to them.
What has been your best memory from the show Tricked?
Another good question, I suppose one comes to mind. We tricked Blue [a British band] into believing that Simon Webbe, one of their band mates, had gone over a cliff in a caravan. That was one of the biggest stunts we had ever performed, and it was actually one of the first of our stunts. It was the first time I had really pushed magic to that direction, and it was the first time I have seen magic get that type of response out of somebody. It gave me an adrenaline rush and a buzz.