Being able to go forwards in time must have many advantages, with the ability to forecast and prevent one’s own death ranking pretty highly! As a duo of Victorian magicians, Morgan and West are in the rather unique position of being able to make this a reality. Their time-travel plans are in place for their arrival at this year’s OxFringe, with a show in which, with a little help from the audience and a lot of help from magic, they will (hopefully) avert their own murders, otherwise due to take place later this year!
While Morgan informs me that “there’s a great difference between Morgan and West and Rhys and Rob” (at which West interjects with a crucial similarity, assuring me that they both drink “A LOT of tea”), the establishment of their current Victorian performance personae had a slow gelling process.
They reminisce about driving up to the Edinburgh Fringe as Oxford undergrads, agreeing in the car to “pay off all debts and never speak of this again if it all goes wrong.” Today, this tentative first step has developed into an ever increasing repertoire of routines with accompanying magic tricks, all absolutely grounded in the Victorian domain from which they operate. “It does get a bit tricky not being able to use things like marker pens,” says Morgan, discussing their commitment at all times to preserving their old-world aesthetic. When asked about the implications of being unable to use overtly modern devices in relation to the methods behind the magic, they were determinedly and mysteriously secretive. As it is a magician’s prerogative to be, I suppose, whatever century he hails from.
“We’re very good at winging it,” they reflect modestly. A useful thing to be good at when the dramatic tension of their upcoming show hangs on their lives being at stake! Their inspiration for “Crime Solving Magicians” comes from Sherlock Holmes; and the realization of how effectively magic and sleuthing could be combined on stage. In designing the show, their need to adhere to an ever progressing story has meant that magic ideas are “absolutely plot-driven,” leading to the creation of something far more like a piece of theatre than a regular magic show.
In determinedly moving away from the hoards of contemporary magicians vying to be at the “cutting edge” of modern magic, Morgan and West have created something indefatigably individual and charming, and their forays into the 21st century and onto the stage are something to be treasured.