After a decade of magic shows for young and old alike, Morgan & West are back with fun for all the family in their Christmas extravaganza.
As jingle bells chime and log fires roar, join the Victorian era’s finest time travelling magicians as they tackle one of the festive season’s most iconic tales, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.
Adding their own blend of fantastical storytelling and mind-bending illusions, a drop of hi-jinks, a dash of chaos and a yuletide show brimming with magic, Oxford’s favourite magicians are back.
So why A Christmas Carol? “Being the 19th Century’s greatest magical duo it seemed rude not to try to inject some magic into Dicken’s iconic Christmas morality tale,” Rhys Morgan says.
“It’s filled with supernatural and ghostly goings on which lend themselves perfectly to magic. The Muppets have proved it can be enormously fun to mess around with. Put it all together and it was too perfect an opportunity to miss,” he adds.
Fresh from a critically acclaimed run of Unbelievable Science at the Edinburgh Fringe (where it was nominated for the Primary Times Children’s Choice Award) and a subsequent sell out national tour, Morgan & West, local lads who met at Oxford University, are coming to the Banbury Mill over the Christmas period.
But don’t expect things to go to plan. With Morgan’s enthusiasm for enacting the famous story prevailing over his actual grasp of the plot, and West’s suspiciously Scrooge like tendencies and initial desire to champion magic over theatre, the pair set out to create a truly entertaining festive performance which can be enjoyed by all ages.
So was it tricky matching magic to a story? “Enormously so. You can’t just crowbar a magic trick in here or there, you need to make sure that it all makes sense within the story that you’re trying to tell. We spent a long time going over all the versions of Charles Dickens’ classic tale that we could find to get to the heart of the story to marry it up to our sense of humor and conjuring expertise.
“Since this is the third Christmas season that the show will be coming out I think it’s safe to say that audiences really get behind what we’ve managed to do.”
Having working together for over a decade, winning ‘Best Comedy Show’ and appearing on The Next Great Magician (ITV), Penn & Teller: Fool Us (ITV), and The Slammer (CBBC) they’ve definitely got enough experience under their belts.
Initially, secondary school science and maths teachers at King Alfred’s in Wantage, while doing small shows in village halls the length and breadth of the UK, they had to make a choice and spent the next eight years touring the country and indeed the world with their magic
“We love dressing up and what better excuse to wear frock coats, double breasted waistcoats, and brightly patterned cravats than Victorian fashion? The facial hair is pretty fun too. it’s excellent fun to play characters on stage who are a little larger than life.
“We were also influenced by the golden era of magic, when the line between conjuring and reality was blurred.”
So will this year be any different? “We never stop trying to make things bigger, better, and bolder than before. Our take on A Christmas Carol has been tweaked, reshaped, and polished for the stage at the Banbury Mill, to make it best version possible of our fun and nonsense.
“Magic wise the final illusion is really rather fitting to the story and never fails to elicit an enormous gasp of disbelief from the crowd. It is always a real joy to perform but blink and you’ll miss it!” Rhys promises.
Morgan & West:
A (sort of)
Christmas Carol Magic Show!
Banbury Mill Arts Centre – December 13 _ 24.