Magician and 2016 Britain’s Got Talent winner Richard Jones sees his future in the army for quite some time yet.
“Part of the reason I have stayed in the army is because I found my love of magic through the army, and the reason I am as good as I am at magic is because I am in the army.
“I am now labelled the military illusionist!” says Richard who will be among the performers lined up for a charity concert in Worthing. The show will be at the Pavilion Theatre on Saturday, April 28, all profits going to the National Autistic Society.
Richard’s belief is that every variety show should have a magician – and he is delighted to be it: “It really all started when I went to see a Derren Brown show in the West End. That was about seven years ago, and he chose me as a volunteer to go up on stage and do some magic in front of everyone. That was the moment I decided I wanted to become a magician. I had always loved magic, which was why I was at the show. But after that moment, after seeing the electric vibe in front of thousands of people, that’s when I knew that I really wanted to do it.
“I suppose it could have gone one of two ways! But that was it for me, and I fast-tracked my learning, trying tricks all day, 24/7. I was lucky that I knew someone who was a member of the Magic Circle, and they lent me a few books.
“I was in the army and still am. I spent a lot of time travelling around the world and that gave me people to share the magic with. I was lucky. I always had an audience! Sometimes the tricks would work well. Sometimes they wouldn’t, but I was lucky that I could keep trying, and then I got to the point where I could do a show – and then my shows got bigger and bigger.”
Richard counts himself fortunate that he cut his teeth with army audiences: “An army audience will give you a bit more banter. You have got to understand that humour, and I was lucky that I did because I was from that background. And I think ‘Well, if you can cope with an army audience, you can cope with anything!’ It was good to start that way round whereas there are other people who might be worrying because they have got an army audience coming up next week. I have been there!”
And the army were quick to recognise his talent, encouraging him to develop it: “The army have been very accommodating. They like people to realise that they can join the army and develop all sorts of skills. They want people to see that positive side of the army.”
For other stories by Phil, see: https://www.chichester.co.uk/author/Phil.Hewitt2