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Prepare for Marvels as magician/comedian Pete Firman gets ready to hit Cambridge

Pete Firman. Picture: Karla Gowlett
Pete Firman. Picture: Karla Gowlett

The star – one of the UK’s most celebrated magicians and comedians – will be bringing his new show to the Cambridge Junction this Friday (October 12).

Pete Firman. Picture: Karla Gowlett
Pete Firman. Picture: Karla Gowlett

Pete is taking his latest show, Marvels, on a tour of the UK this Autumn, following an extremely successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe in August.

Audiences can expect to be mesmerised by Pete’s acclaimed blend of laugh-out-loud comedy and jaw-dropping magic, as he presents a truly unique live theatre experience.

Pete’s skill for fusing magic and comedy has made him one of the most sought-after magicians working on British television, writing and performing in magic shows such as Dirty Tricks, Derren Brown’s 3D Magic Spectacular (Channel 4) and The Secret World of Magic (Sky One). He also recently featured on The Generation Game (BBC One).

“What does magic mean in 2018?” Pete wonders. “100 years ago, magicians were rock ‘n’ roll stars but there’s not a lot that’s left undiscovered in the world now. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why the magic show is a popular form of entertainment because it’s a rarity for an audience to be bamboozled.

Pete Firman. Picture: Karla Gowlett
Pete Firman. Picture: Karla Gowlett

“I wouldn’t say that Google has ruined magic but if someone is persistent enough they could probably find out how a trick works. These are the kind of things that a 21st century magician has to deal with.”

While David Blaine might avoid any elements of comedy in his act, most modern magicians realise that a well-delivered spot of banter goes down well with an audience already reeling from being astonished.

Pete acknowledges that a master such as Tommy Cooper could never be emulated, but that shouldn’t stop him from inserting some good gags into his show.

“I’m trying to do good tricks and make it as funny as I can,” he says. “I’m not doing a trick and then doing five minutes of stand-up about aeroplane food; the jokes are interwoven and integrated into whatever it is that I’m doing.

“You can get a lot of mileage out of that trope of borrowing a gentleman’s watch and smashing it up but where it ends up right in the end. Not only is that a good trick, it’s a funny situation that you can create with someone.”

Should you find yourself up on stage during Pete’s Marvels tour, don’t worry about your timepiece not making it back home with you, and please don’t be offended if he can’t keep hold of your name in his head. He has a lot going on in there during showtime.

“I have a terrible memory,” he notes. “My biggest faux pas in performing is forgetting people’s names and it’s really the worst thing that you can forget because people do take umbrage when you call a ‘Barry’ ‘Gary’ or something like that.

“Doing magic is a little bit like patting your head and rubbing your belly: you’re doing different things at different times and I just have a problem with remembering names.”

Fortunately, Pete won’t have to worry too much about forgetting where he’s going on tour when he takes Marvels across the UK.

“There’s a lot of driving and a lot of travelling involved,” he says, “but luckily I have a tour manager with me, so he does the driving and I can have a kip.

“Touring is tiring but it’s nice in that each day is different; you can get different challenges from the venues because they’re not all the same. Some are theatre-theatres, some are arts centres, some are multi-purpose venues, so there’s a challenge when you arrive on the day and you have to tweak things slightly.”

As his loyal fanbase continues to carry him through, Pete hopes to pick up some new followers with his Marvels tour, even if they come in through the side entrance.

“There was actually a conversation had about whether some comics’ fans might come along by accident. But we thought it would probably be alright, and if we sold a few extra tickets because of the Marvel universe, then is that a bad thing?”


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