ILLUSIONIST Adam Trent has entertained thousands across America with his mind-bending magic.
Now he’s taking his tricks on tour in The Road Trick, seeing what experiences he can wangle by showing off his skills as a magician.
He talked to the Sunday Post about his TV and Broadway success, the incredible experiences of his new show and what he loves most about performing magic.
You’ve been described as Justin Timberlake meets David Copperfield – how accurate is this?
“Not as accurate as I’d like it to be! That came out in the paper about 10 years ago.
“When I was younger I wanted to be in a boyband so I did all sorts of singing and dancing in my show – I don’t do as much of that anymore!”
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How did you first start out in magic?
“I saw David Copperfield when I was eight years old in Colorado where I grew up and I just remember the whole audience having fun and laughing.
“I don’t even remember it being a magic show, I just remember a really funny, entertaining show.
“The next year I got a book on magic for my birthday and started doing little card tricks and whatnot and it just went from there. I started doing little birthday parties when I was about nine or ten, one thing led to another and now here I am!”
What performers inspire you?
“I like Penn and Teller a lot, and Derren Brown in the UK I’m a big fan of. There’s so much good magic now.
“It’s like we’re entering a second golden age of magic and it’s so visible these days.”
How tough is it to break through in the world of magic?
“It’s like anything else in entertainment, it’s obnoxiously difficult to get momentum but once you get momentum things begin to happen.
“I’ve been doing it for over 20 years now and I don’t think I’ve taken a single day where I haven’t worked in some facet towards developing my career.
“It’s extremely tough and there’s a lot more than just performing and being the artist that goes into it.”
What was it like performing on Broadway as part of The Illusionists?
“It was amazing, one of the best experiences of my life! It’s very intimidating and psychs you out a little bit.
“On the opening night there was a moment where I thought ‘ok this is about to be something very different’ but once I walked out it was just like any other show again – the same old thing.
“It just happened to be in New York rather than somewhere else!
“Looking back on it, it’s a stamp of credibility and authenticity – there’s nothing really quite like it.
“When I was first deciding whether or not to do Broadway, I almost didn’t do it but my manager at the time said ‘you have to do it, because for the rest of your life it doesn’t matter what else you do you, can say you did Broadway and no-one will mess with you ever again’. That was wise advice.”
You’ve performed live on TV in the US on The Ellen DeGeneres show and The Today Show among others – what was that like?
“Doing live TV is the scariest format for something like magic, with the number of things that can go wrong!
“Anytime you do something like The Today Show where it’s live television you want to be very sure of what you’re doing because you can end up going viral for all the wrong reasons!”
Tell us a bit about your new show The Road Trick.
“My whole life, people have said ‘man, as a magician you must get so many free drinks at bars’ and yes, as a magician people do often offer things up that they wouldn’t normally.
“The Road Trick is a concept I came up with a few years ago – what if I took this ability of magic to be this great icebreaker and make people offer what they wouldn’t normally offer?
“I put that idea on steroids, went to Europe with a backpack full of tricks and just went out and used magic to see what kind of cool experiences I could get into.
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“It was shot for real, it wasn’t one of these reality shows where we had writers behind the scenes producing things.
“I actually just left the hotel with a backpack in the morning and started going and I ended up on a yacht party in Monte Carlo, I met these guys who took me up to jump off the side of the Swiss Alps and I got to go into the off-limits parts of the catacombs.
“In North Africa, I had a shaman bring me out into the middle of the Saharan Desert for a sacrificial animal ceremony that tourists never get, so there was a range of amazing, unique and terrifying but very fun experiences all combined into one trip.
“Magic was all the icebreaker that helped me do it.”
What’s the most rewarding thing about performing?
“The most rewarding thing is when the performance is over and you’re not even doing anything anymore and the audience are still experiencing whatever enjoyment or euphoria that happened.
“Occasionally it’ll be six hours later and people will still be explaining the story to other people like ’no you don’t understand this thing happened and that was there’ and they’re still experiencing joy from it hours later!”
“In theatre they say there’s two faces, comedy and drama, but I think there’s actually a third face and that’s wonder.
“Magic is one of the few, if not the only, art form that can instil wonder in people which is an emotion that many people don’t normally feel.”
What’s your favourite trick to perform?
“I do a trick in my live show right now where I clone myself… that’s a goodie!
“As far as when I do stuff for people in person, any trick that makes it seem personal to them.
“So it’s not a specific trick, but more like something that involves them personally, for example something appearing on their skin or things like that. That’s the most powerful part of magic.”
Could you have imagined when you were a kid doing birthday parties that one day you’d be on Broadway?
“As odd as it is, I did imagine that. That’s because I was a naive and crazy kid!
“One week I thought I was going to be an astronaut, one week I thought I was going to be a race car driver, next week I thought I’d be a rock star in a band and then the next week I thought I’d be a magician.
“Each one of those was as unlikely as the last but each one as a kid you were like, I’ll be president, why not!
“Magic just happened to be the one thing that kept going and the whole thing worked out.”
Will you bring your show to Scotland?
“I went to Scotland when I was a little kid. I was very, very young and I’ve not been back since.
“I’ve got a couple of friends from Scotland and I’d love to go back at some point.
“Hopefully if we do a season two of The Road Trick then we can come to Scotland for an episode.”
The Road Trick is available to stream now on Red Bull TV here: https://www.redbull.tv/show/AP-1MSN8D3X91W11/the-road-trick