The internationally renowned wizardry of Mr Keith Brown will soon be sparkling around Vancouver. The Mumble caught up with the fellow for a wee blether…
Hello Keith, so where ya from & where ya at, geographically speaking?
Keith: I am from London, Ontario but I recently relocated to Toronto.
When did you first realise you were, well, magical?
Keith: Probably when I was 13. It’s when I got my first gig as a magician performing at a local pub down my street. I had already been doing magic for a few years but it was more of a hobby. It was around this time that I realized I was doing something special and that I could really pursue this as a career instead of just for fun. It was also when I realized how incredible lucky I was to be able to find my passion and have the support necessary to pursue it. Not everyone finds their passion let alone at such an early age.
This is your 28th time performing at a Fringe festival, having toured the world in the process. Do you think the appetite for magic is different in different countries, or is there a universality to what you do?
Keith: I think that magic is a universal language. Sometimes it’s best not to say anything at all and let the magic speak for itself. However, there are definitely cultures where magic plays a greater role and has a bigger cultural significance. I was recently in Africa and had to be careful of who I performed for in case they took it the wrong way. Where as in Asia magic is very much ingrained in their culture.
How did performing in front of the First Lady of Iceland turn out?
Keith: She sat front row with her 5 and 7 year old. They had a great time! I honestly still can’t believe it happened and all I did was have the courage to send an email and invite them.
You know a good show when its happened, what are the special ingredients?
Keith: Everything just clicks and it’s a well oiled machine. I think the special ingredients are being mentally and physically prepped. There’s nothing worse than doing a show sick or on zero sleep. Also, a willing audience. An audience that’s ready to have fun, participate and enjoy mystery. It’s a lot harder to win over an audience when they don’t want to be there. However, I find that’s rarely the case at Fringe. Standing behind the curtains and hearing the roar of the audience before you even walk out is usually a good indicator.
What does Keith Brown like to do when he’s not being, well, magical?
Keith: I like to travel, hang out with friends and family. My show is rather high energy so I enjoy my down time and doing something low key like seeing a movie, trying new food or grabbing a drink. I like learning new things, challenging myself and seeing the magic in everyday life.
You’ve got three famous figures from history coming round for dinner. Who would they be & what would you cook; starter, mains & dessert?
Keith: I’d invite Steve Martin, Gary Vaynerchuck and Dai Vernon, arguably the most influential magician in the last 100 years, and someone who has deeply influenced my thoughts and approach to magic. Runners up would be Elon Musk, Einstein, Kevin Heart, Howard Thurston, Johann Nepomuk Hofzinser, Salvador Dali & Jim Carrey. I already have a hard time deciding what I want to eat, but… Steak & goat cheese salad with a balsamic vinaigrette. Barbecued pears with blue cheese, pine nuts and dried cranberries. Make your own pizzas because who doesn’t love a good pizza? Dirt pie, dutch apple pie and vanilla ice cream. I am a child trapped in a man’s body.
If your performance style was a soup, what would be the key ingredients?
Keith: This interview is making me hungry. I’d go with a homemade hearty chicken noodle soup. Something that’s satisfying and filling, plenty of veggies and with the right amount of spice.
Do you find it difficult or easy to blend storytelling with magic?
Keith: Yes and no. Some tricks or effects can stand by themselves and don’t need a story. They are the story. However, others can really benefit from a story to take it to another level. To make it more than just a trick and give it some meaning. The hardest part is finding a story worth telling and pairing it with the correct trick. It’s also hard to find a story that fits my voice, my personality and my character. I see and come up with tricks all the times that don’t fit my performance style and would be better suited for another magician. Some of the stories I do tell in the show have taken a life time to develop, and I am still tweaking them.
You will soon be performing at the Vancouver Fringe – what have you got for us this year?
Keith: I have an interactive magic and story telling show that features the story of how I got to perform at a Stanley Cup party before I could even drive a car, as well as the trick that put me in the hospital. There’s everything from mind reading, feats of memory and magic classics. It’s magic with every day objects that you can find around the house or get from the store. It’s participatory magic that the audience helps create!
You’ve got 20 seconds to sell your show to somebody in the street, what would you say?
Keith: I was chosen Toronto’s BEST Magician and I am not even from Toronto. I was featured on TEDx and am a best selling author. I have been doing this for over 16 years, longer than I haven’t, because I love it and hopefully you’ll enjoy it just as much as I do!
September 7 @ 5:00 PM (Half Price Tickets!)
Sun, September 9 @ 7:45 PM
Mon, September 10 @ 10:15 PM
Thu, September 13 @ 6:45 PM
Fri, September 14 @ 8:45 PM
Sat, September 15 @ 3:00 PM