From left: Chris Cox, the Mind-Blowing Mind-Reader; Ali Cook, Master of Magic; and Josephine Lee, Grand Illusionist

Making the impossible possible
FUNFARE - Ricky Lo (The Philippine Star) - December 14, 2017 - 4:00pm

Yes, it’s magic! Don’t blink when you watch the magicians perform their tricks in Impossible, touted to be “The world’s greatest magic show” from Dec. 25 to Jan. 3, 2018, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, featuring death-defying stunts, technological trickery, grand-stage illusions and close-up magic in fast-paced breath-taking performances. They make the impossible possible right before your eyes.

Presented by Wilbros Live, Impossible stars Boundary-Breaking Magician Ben Hart, Explosive Street Magician Magical Bones, Mind-Blowing Mind-Reader Chris Cox, Grand Illusionist Josephine Lee, Master of Magic Ali Cook, and Comic Daredevil Bello Nock. (Tickets at affordable prices starting at P160 only, available at all TicketNet outlets or online via TicketNet.com.ph. For reservations, call 911-5555 or 374-9999.)

Here are Cox, Lee and Cook in an exclusive interview with The STAR:

What is the most complicated or difficult or grandest magic trick/illusion you have done? What was the inspiration behind it?

Cox: There’s a routine in Impossible called Control Chris Cox that I’ve been working on for nearly 10 years now. It’s constantly changing and every night it is totally different. The inspiration came from thinking that I don’t want an audience to go home disappointed by not seeing something that they want to see. So I give control of my act to the audience every night. They simply think of things they want to see me do in the show, I then pick people at random, read their minds and do exactly what they’re thinking of… hopefully.

It’s so difficult as every night I go out on stage not knowing what’s going to happen, it’s all down to you, the beautiful audience to think of amazing, funny and exciting things for me to do to entertain you. Then down to me to read your mind and do those things.

Lee: I performed an original act on Britain’s Got Talent at the beginning of the year. It’s an extremely difficult act to perform and the first time I had ever performed it was in front of Simon Cowell. This was either a very smart move or a silly one but luckily for me it all went well. My inspiration for this act came from the Disney movie Maleficent. I found it fascinating how she had the power to control objects around her and tried to recreate this in my act.  ?

Cook: The most difficult trick I do is when I multiply one coin in to 20 coins from under a credit card. It’s pure sleight of hand and that is the hardest skill to master — it took me eight years to get it just right. It’s perhaps the most intimate trick in the show but gets the same reaction as the Grand Water Tank Escape.

Most magicians became enamoured with magic at a young age. Can you recall your first encounter with magic/illusion and how it affected you?

Cox: Yes, I remember it really vividly. I was 11 years old and I got a letter through the postbox — which was delivered by an Owl. I then spent seven years at Hogwarts #Hufflepuff and have loved magic ever since.

Lee: I was actually introduced to magic quite late in life when I was used as a magician’s assistant in a show. I remember vanishing in an illusion and when I returned there were gasps in the audience and I thought to myself, “This is the coolest thing I’ve ever done. I just made people gasp!”

Cook: I remember seeing the great magician, Lance Burton, throw his top hat into the audience of the London Palladium theatre. It floated around the audience in a huge semi circle. He then caught it casually with one hand, turned to Her Majesty The Queen and took his bow.

Which of your tricks do you think will have a similar effect on those who will be watching the show?

 

 

 

 

Cox: As a mind-reader, I’m always delighted to watch my audience as they watch me and see their belief systems collapse around them. The joy of mind reading is it seems truly impossible yet by watching me do it you can’t help but think, “Well, maybe this guy can do this for real and maybe he really can read minds.” Hopefully, I’ll inspire some of the audience to follow their dreams and do what they really want to do. I can’t believe I’m getting to travel half way around the world performing for people. It’s amazing.

Lee: I perform the Table Of Death in the show and to be honest, every night I perform this I’m just as nervous as the audience are! ?

Cook: I perform Harry Houdini’s water torture cell escape with a new twist that has never been seen in the Philippines before. I’m chained, handcuffed and then trapped inside a glass tank full of water. I then have a minute to escape. Just before you think it’s too late, the impossible happens. It caused a sensation when we performed it on British television and we’re hoping you guys will love it, too.

What do you know about the Philippine audience and what are you most excited about?

Cox: I know very little. I normally do loads of research but I’ve just had a baby in the last few weeks so my life has been totally consumed by her. I can’t wait to do some research on the flight over and get to know Manila. I hear the shopping is amazing, and I’m a big foodie so can’t wait to find some brilliantly tasty street food and some fancy restaurants to try the best food Manila has to offer. If anyone has any suggestions, hit me up on Twitter @bigcox

Lee: Every single person I have ever met from the Philippines has been extremely enthusiastic and outgoing, so I’m very excited to perform to the audiences in Manila, as I know we’re going to have such a great time with them. ?

Cook: It’s a real adventure for me. I have never been over to the Philippines before and I can’t wait to explore Manila as well as play to such a huge audience.

What is the most rewarding aspect of performing and being a magician?

Cox: Getting to watch people believe in the impossible, to make them feel like Children again and believe that there is magic in the world. I feel so honored to get to do what I love to perform on stage in front of a huge audience and share my skills with them. I just want to entertain people, to make them laugh, to enjoy themselves to feel amazed and forget about all the stresses of their life for the time I’m on stage. That is a true reward.

Lee: The most rewarding aspect of being a magician is making people believe in the impossible

Cook: I think it’s the reaction on people’s faces when they are really amazed. There is nothing quite like it. A great comedy makes you laugh, a great drama makes you cry but a great magic show makes your jaw drop.

Are you preparing something special or a first for the Philippine audience?

Cox: I have something very special planned because we’ll be here over Christmas and New Year. Then, it’s up to the audience who get to Control Chris Cox to come up with something special to see me do!

Cook: Yes, I hope to levitate a child from the audience. Normally, when you see a magician, he levitates his glamorous assistant but they could easily be attached to some wires. However, we ask someone straight out of the audience — nothing prepared whatsoever and in the middle of the stage with no wires or strings, they are suspended in mid-air.

What is the best piece of advice a magician or mentor has given you? And what advice can you give to aspiring magicians?

Cox: Be yourself. Find what you love and what you enjoy and find a way to show that to the audience. And have fun!

Lee: To enjoy yourself. When you enjoy yourself so will your audience!?

Cook: A famous British comedian, Frank Skinner, said to me that a show is not about the jokes or tricks; it’s about your relationship with the audience.

How many tricks do you have “up your sleeve” or in your repertoire?

Cox: More than I care to remember! I’m always forgetting the tricks that I can do! In Impossible you’ll see me do two unique, funny and mind-blowing mind-reading tricks the like of which you’ve never seen before. They’ll make you shout out, “I love Cox!”

Lee: I have endless amounts, it’s never ending!

Cook: Far too many!!! The problem is magic is an obsession, not just a job. I know 78 tricks — but they’re just card tricks!!! As for stage items, I’ve toured the UK a lot with my own one-man show and have over four hours of stage magic — 50 routines.

What do a group of magicians do when they are together in their spare time? Are you close friends with the other Impossible magicians, do you impress each other or do tricks?

Lee: Talk about magic! It never ends; it’s part of our lives. We are a very close group and I believe this is what makes our show so strong as we work as a team and not individuals. We are constantly sharing ideas and helping each other with new concepts and as a team we all get stronger together.

Cox: I hang out with Josephine a lot, we try going to visit local shops and restaurants both while touring and when back at home. We get on really well. Some of the magicians like to always talk magic and do tricks. I’m not one of them. I normally avoid it!

What was the craziest thing that you’ve done with your magic?

Cox: I read the mind of Liam Payne from One Direction. That was pretty crazy.

Lee: I became a magician in the first place! I still can’t believe that’s my job!

Cook: I turned it into a career.

(E-mail reactions at entphilstar@yahoo.com. For more updates, photos and videos, visit www.philstar.com/funfare or follow me on Instagram @therealrickylo.)

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