Magic of laughter

Sligo star Kiefer Moriarty chats to Eddie Rowley about the gasps and giggles guaranteed by new stage show Magic Goes Wrong

Kiefer Moriarty performing as The Blade

WHEN Irish actor Kiefer Moriarty decided that performing in the theatre was his calling in life, he didn’t bargain for the challenges that lay ahead as he was forced to become a professional magician. In hit comedy Magic Goes Wrong, which opens at Dublin’s Bord Gais Energy Theatre on Tuesday, Kiefer plays a character called The Blade, who has to pull off a dangerous trick involving a water tank. “Acting is the most bizarre career I could have chosen,” says Kiefer (30), who grew up in Sligo town. “I trained as an actor and then one of my first roles out of drama school was playing a magician so I had to relearn everything. I had to train as a magician, do the sleight of hand and learn how to be submerged under water for 12 minutes — mad stuff altogether.” Created by award-winning UK comedy company Mischief, with magic legends Penn & Teller, Magic Goes Wrong is an evening of grand illusion with breath-taking tricks and typical Mischief comedy that will tickle your funny bones and fill you with wonder. “I play The Blade, the danger magician, and it’s a crazy role. He’s trying out all these dangerous tricks,” Kiefer tells Magazine+. “He believes he can do it, but he has missed the path of practise and honing a craft. This fella just runs directly at the bright light and hopefully it works out. “As the title goes, it doesn’t usually work out, but you have to give him credit because he gives it a 100pc and therein lies the comedy. He’s throwing knives, he’s trying to dodge sticks being flung at him, he’s trying to hold his breath for four or five minutes while the compere tries to do a magic card trick. “It is comedy and a bit Fawlty Towers, but underneath there is real magic and that is what people are mostly surprised about when they come to the show. They see actual phenomenons happen on stage and it’s a joy.” Kiefer admits that when the role first came to him, he found it slightly daunting as it was a major skill to master. “Honestly, the first day I had a couple of doubts, I’m not going to lie,” he confesses. “My agent sent through the breakdown, which usually has what type of character the person is and sometimes that’s just a paragraph. The breakdown for The Blade was two-pages long and said you have to be comfortable with stunt work and magic. “But I’m a trier, I’ll always try things once, and I said I’d give it a go. The first day of rehearsal there was definitely a couple of doubts in my mind, but luckily I was under the tutelage of Ben Hart, a 2019 Britain’s Got Talent finalist, who came in as a magic consultant.” Obsessed with acting as a child, Kiefer tells how his perseverance paid off. “There’s a well-known theatre company in Sligo called the Blue Raincoat Theatre Company and they used to call me a theatre rat,” he jokes. “At the age of 12, I was so obsessed with going down and watching them rehearse and just being in the way. They were nice about it and allowed me to hang around. “They had a youth theatre and I used to go in and watch rehearsals. After a while, they started putting me to work. At about 15 or 16 I’d work the bar, but they finally caved in and gave me a couple of roles in their small Yeats Festivals and it took off.” Kiefer is excited about bringing this show and his role back home to Ireland for the first time. “To be an actor is incredible, but to come back to my home country is just going to be the cherry on top of a really amazing cake,” he says.

  • Magic Goes Wrong runs at Bord Gais Energy Theatre in Dublin from May 10-14. For tickets  see bordgaisenergytheatre.

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