Keith Barry’s Hypnomagick, which he describes as “a mixture of mentalism, mind magic and hypnosis”, had a sold out run earlier in the year and is back for its final two performances at The Olympia Theatre on November 10th and 11th. We sat down with the Waterford man to talk about everything from the UFC, to breathing techniques and Saw V. Yes, really. He began by telling us what an audience can expect from Hypnomagick.
“The first half is me hacking into people’s brains and figuring out their thoughts. Everything from getting the whole audience to think about their secret crush, their free pass, and I’ve to figure out who that person is. And then there’s a load of perception tests. And I’ve got games where I invite people up on stage and they could potentially win cash if I can’t figure out what they’re thinking,” he said.
There’s a full hypnosis show after the interval but Keith, whose been performing magic for over twenty years, was conscious of doing something original.
“The show being Hypnomagick, I decided to put on a magic show for people while they’re under hypnosis. I revert them all back to being five or six years of age again, and they have that childlike sense of wonder, and I put on a magic show for them. They all freak out because they think the magic is real.”
You might think that a magician would look to other magicians for inspiration but Keith purposefully doesn’t watch his contemporaries, fearing it may influence his work. He gets ideas from a variety of sources and has incorporated another Irish star into the show.
“The UFC and Conor McGregor is very topical right now so I hypnotise twenty people into believing it’s fight night and they’re crazy, insane UFC fans. And then I hypnotise one person to become Conor McGregor and one person to become his opponent. You can imagine how insane and hilarious that gets,” he says.
Keith also draws inspiration from the movie industry. He worked alongside Woody Harrelson as a consultant on both Now You See Me movies and got to witness, and admire, the professionalism and work ethic of the likes of Mark Ruffalo and Morgan Freeman.
“It’s often been said that a good magician is an actor playing the part of a magician because, in essence, what we’re doing is displaying that we have these super powers. But the truth be known everything I do is based on science, deduction and magic techniques.”
As he prepares to bring this show to a close, he has one eye on the future. He’s putting the finishing touches on a new project called ‘Keith Barry- Magic Madhouse’ which he'll debut at the end of December and tour in 2018. It sees him return to visual comedy magic. He gave us a sneak preview of one trick and its fascinating source of inspiration.
“I’m currently getting a metal straight jacket made, with industrial strength padlocks and a glass box that gets attached to the straight jacket. It goes over my head and gets filled with water. The inspiration for that came from watching Saw 5,” he said.
(Agent Strahm in a spot of bother)
“So, I’m teaching myself to hold my breath at the moment. I can do three and a quarter minutes. I’m actually going to over to Wim Hof (Dutch daredevil known as ‘The Ice Man’) in London, to one of his breathing seminars, so I’m learning and taking inspiration from him too.”
Never one to rest on his laurels, Keith has been pushing boundaries throughout his career. Don’t miss your last chance to see Hypnomagick.
(Tickets are €30 and available from Ticketmaster. For more information check out www.keithbarry.com)