Benedict Barber is a magician with a taste for the ghoulish and grisly. In Master of the Macabre, he takes the audience on a dark autobiographical journey – from his introduction to magic at the age of just five through the trickery he employed at school to alarm his fellow pupils and terrorize his teachers to a shocking experience as a young adult that has shaped his life both on and off the stage.
In an exclusive interview with LondonTheatre1, Benedict answered a few questions about himself and Master of the Macabre.
When did you first get interested in the world of magic?
My uncle introduced my brother and I to magic when we were just 5 years old. We started with basic card tricks, sleight of hand, you know the usual stuff. But we quickly learned that as much as people love being amazed, confused, flabbergasted… people love being scared even more…
What can you tell us about one of your first magic tricks?
The first tricks we learnt were simple pick a card routines which then developed into things to make people jump, squirm, scream…
Who is your favourite magician – past or present?
Favourite magicians of all time are Harry Houdini and Simon Drake. I get most of my up to date information from www.magicianblog.com as it is one of the few sites in the world updated daily.
Which type of magic do you like to watch?
I like to watch a performer perform, not tv magicians who rely on camera trickery and editing which require no skill.
What is the hardest type of magic to perform?
Hardest type of magic to perform is close up magic and manipulation…
Why the taste for the ghoulish and grisly with your magic?
The taste for the ghoulish comes from the fact that everyone loves to be scared, even if they deny it. After a scare your body is flooded with hormones such as dopamine, adrenaline, seratonin. These make you feel good, make you feel high. So whether or not someone is conscious of this fact or not they experience the thrill regardless as to whether they will accept this…
Why should everyone come along to see YOUR magic show?
Everyone should come and see MASTER OF THE MACABRE because it is the only show of its kind in the whole world. There is quite literally nothing else out there like it. So if you want to challenge your prejudices, be hugely entertained, shocked, amazed, amused and bewildered come and join me.
The beauty with this show is that it really is different every single night and the audience create the atmosphere..
Too many shows these days are too safe. We push things to the limit as far as we possibly can without ever forgetting that our primary objective is to entertain … and terrify…
Last nights screams are still ringing through my head this morning…
Master Of The Macabre Audience Reviews
Master of the Macabre
This enticing theatrical experience will leave you wide-eyed with astonishment and bring you to the edge of your seat with fear. If you’re prepared to have your prejudices challenged, your assumptions questioned, your beliefs shaken and your nerves shredded then this is the show for you.
Master of the Macabre is – quite simply – the most terrifying magic show you will ever see…
Warning – the show is only suitable for ages 15 and up.
Performed by Benedict Barber
Directed by Tony Middleton
Written by Benedict Barber and Matthew Stradling
Additional Magic consultancy by Chris Dugdale
7th October to 1st November 2015