By Andy Hirst
A spectacular show by a Huddersfield magician in his home town will feature unique tricks and illusions you’ll not see anyone else perform … and he’s giving people the chance to learn some circus skills in the run-up to the show.
Michael Jordan, a 30-year-old magician, illusionist and circus skills expert who does top-rated summer season shows in Blackpool, is bringing his unique two-hour show to the LBT this half-term.
Michael comes from Scapegoat Hill so the show is certain to be highly popular. There will be two shows on Saturday, February 26 – a 2.30pm matinee and a 7.30pm evening performance.
But today (Saturday, Feb 12) and next Saturday he’ll be doing some circus skills workshops at Nelson Mandela Corner behind Huddersfield library so anyone can learn how to do juggling and plate spinning. The workshops are free, run from 11am to 3pm and people can just turn up.
Michael has revealed that he’s devised most of his illusions for the LBT show himself so you’ll not see anything like it anywhere else.
He said: “I come up with the ideas and then work closely with a specialist illusion builder in Blackpool to make them work on stage. There’s a lot of back and forth during the building process to make sure it’s just right, but he’s very clever.”
One of his most stunning illusions is called Excalibur, with Michael plunging swords into a glass box with an assistant in there … and the trick has a real unexpected sting in its tail.
Michael’s love affair with magic began when he was just seven and his grandad, Barry Jordan, would show him a magic trick each week … but never tell him how it was done.
It intrigued Michael and set him off on a journey which has led him to TV appearances and selling out iconic venues such as Blackpool’s famous Showcase bar and the Tower Circus for several years.
Former All Saints High and Huddersfield New College student Michael said: “My grandad bought magic tricks and then loved to show them to friends down the pub. He’d lock them away in a black briefcase and every Sunday get one out to show me. Once he’d done that trick he’d lock it away again. It left me absolutely amazed and I never knew how he did some of those tricks until I learned them myself years later.”
The turning point for young Michael came one Christmas when Barry and his late grandma, Maureen, gave him the ultimate Christmas present … a Paul Daniels Magic Set.
“It had a video showing how all the tricks were done and I watched it again and again,” said Michael. “It set me off on a magical journey that I’m still on today.”
Michael went on to buy tricks from specialist magic shops and did his first show aged just 10 with sister Siobhan at a cousin’s birthday. He joined a Junior Magic Club in Wakefield, honed his skills, and before long was doing gigs in church halls and other local venues … usually for free.
As word spread that the young magician was actually great at his craft, the money started to trickle in. He won local magic competitions and his first big break came when he was 18 and took part in a competition organised by The Magic Circle. He won and was named Young Magician of the Year.
Within a year he had his first professional shows lined up at Haven holiday parks in Wales.
“That’s when I began to realise how much work is involved being a magician,” he said. “You learn your trade more at holiday camps than anywhere else. It was a different venue each night with different sized stages and different audiences and, if you didn’t hold their attention, they’d let you know by talking among themselves or going to the bar.”
Michael also realised that some of the toughest hecklers can be kids.
“At holiday camps they used to sit in large groups at the front shouting stuff like ‘those knives ain’t real’ and chanting ‘fall off, fall off’ when I was on my unicycle. I think they just wanted to see a clown.
“But I loved doing the shows and knew instantly that this is what I wanted to do.”
Michael has to think on his feet though … and sometimes be courageous. At one of his Blackpool shows 50 blokes turned up on a stag do.
“I don’t think they quite realised what they’d booked,” said Michael. “But it clearly wasn’t what they were expecting and started to heckle and then began to swear. I could see families getting very uncomfortable about it so stopped the show and explained to them it was for families. It could have gone either way but, as it turned out, they calmed down, were then as good as gold and seemed to enjoy what they were watching.”
Now there’s no time to heckle as Michael’s shows are so fast-paced with each trick lasting around three minutes before he moves onto something else.
When his sister, Siobhan, decided to leave the act she was replaced by dancer and actress Tamsyn Sear who Michael has now married and the couple have two children, five-year-old Logan and Kiana, three.
Michael wears a bowler hat on stage – but says it’s for a practical reason rather than pure showbiz.
“When it gets hot up there my hair looks a real mess,” he said. “So it makes me look neater.”
And he also wears braces instead of a belt following advice from a legendary magician.
Ali Bongo, chief consultant to the Paul Daniels Magic Show and former president of The Magic Circle – whose knowledge of magic was said to be encyclopedic – saw Michael perform.
Michael said: “He rushed backstage afterwards virtually in a panic he was so anxious to tell me something. He told me to always wear braces, never a belt, on stage as it looks so much better. I took his advice and have not worn a belt while performing since then.”
To book tickets for the show on Saturday, February 26 at the LBT go to https://thelbt.org/what-s-on/circus/high-jinx-magic-illusion-circus-show/
* Written by ANDY HIRST who runs his own Yorkshire freelance journalism agency AH! PR (https://ah-pr.com/) specialising in press releases, blogging and copywriting. Copyright Andy Hirst.