Here’s an feature I found, written by Justin Tonna and first published as a two page spread in November 2007 on the Sunday Circle Magazine. Justin went on to become the editor of the same magazine a while after this article was published. Who knows, perhaps a little magic did enter his life after his encounter with me? Now, reading the feature, for the first time after almost 8 years, it seems like we have created a time capsule to serve as a tool for me to use to look back upon in order to measure my success, actually predicting my future, where most of what I dreamed and wished for did actually materialise in real life.
Since then we no longer perform under the name of ‘The Plamers’, that period was between 2005 and 2010, I still am a member of the Magic Circle and seem to have accomplished all of the things I had mentioned at the time and more. We got to perform in various other countries across the world like Qatar, Norway and China to name a few, went back to work for three consecutive years on cruise ships, created our own full scale theatre show, ‘Magic in Cartoonland’ at the National theatre in Malta, along with two other productions and currently star in Malta’s current number one dinner show (as rated by tourists) called ‘The Chamber of Mysteries’, that we have produced as well.
What was not mentioned in this article was that on returning to Spain the second time we had performed in hotels and resorts with our very own show and on our third visit to Spain we were engaged to perform in on of the greatest Dinner Show spectacles alongside star of Flamingo in Mallorca Victor Muro, in one of the greatest touristic variety shows on the island of Mallorca, in the most beautiful venue, Es Foguero.
IT’S A KIND OF MAGIC
JUSTIN TONNA put a little magic in his life when he met magician Brian Role’, who has just joined the world-famous Magic Circle that boasts Paul Daniels as one of its members.
We all like a little magic in our lives, but how many of us can actually claim to be a magician? No, we don’t mean one like Harry Potter or Gandolf, but rather one of their real life counterparts like David Copperfield or Harry Houdini. One such man is Brian role’ who has been interested in magic all his life. Now an accomplished magician on both the local and international scene, he explained to me how he took his first steps along the path of hocus-pocus and hints at what the future may hold.
“I was always very passionate about magic and was constantly trying new tricks,”
Unfortunately, his first attempts at magic didn’t go so well. Whilst trying out one of his ‘illusions’ the five-year old wizard almost set fire to his bedroom when an experiment went wrong. “I was always very passionate about magic and was constantly trying new tricks,” he says with a grin.
And there was no Hogwarts to give Brian a mystical education, he learnt his trick from family members and friends, showing off his repertoire to anyone who would watch. “I loved seeing people’s expressions when I performed a trick,” he enthuses.
“Watching other magicians perform their illusions also held a great fascination for Brian”
Watching other magicians perform their illusions also held a great fascination for Brian. He remembers being able to see beyond a performance to deduce how a trick was done, even from a young age. At the age of 15 Brian went to live in London for almost a year. Here he fondly remembers his discovery of Davenports Magic Shop. “I was a regular visitor there – not a customer as I had very little money in those days – but I was always in and out of the shop.” (personal note 2015: I used to occasionally buy from the shop too and like all those young budding magicians spent all the little money I had doing so.)
Returning to Malta, Brian continued to work on his tricks, reading books and watching other performers to improve his art. “This was my learning phase,” he says with a smile. “I was constantly studying and experimenting.”
By the age of 24 the young magician plucked up the courage to approach the Malta Magician’s Society for membership, eventually rising through their ranks to become the president between 2004 and 2005. Brian also went on to gain membership in the International Brotherhood of Magicians and has recently been accepted as a member of the prestigious Magic Circle.
Access to these groups allowed Brian to expand his knowledge through the help of fellow magicians. “I soon came to realise that magic is not just about doing tricks. Magic is also about the experience your audience takes with them,” he says seriously.
Having solidified his confidence in his magical abilities, Brian began performing professionally, taking part in his first show in 1998. As his reputation increased, so did his repertoire of illusions. He constantly refined his act to match his audience’s expectations, always looking to fascinate and entertain the crowd.
“I had to sign a disclaimer in case I got mauled.”
Then, whilst visiting a circus in 1999, fate led him to a chance meeting with the international magician Julia Christiie. After a quick audition, Julia offered him the opportunity to work with her in Mexico. “I was terrified,” Brian laughs. “Not only was this my biggest break, but the act involved working with tigers and panthers and I had to sign a disclaimer in case I got mauled.”
But the meeting with Julia also had another impact on Brian’s life. “she suggested I began working with Lourdes C Palmer, who was working with another magician at the time,” Brian relates. What initially started as a professional relationship soon turned romantic. The couple still continue to work together and today perform as a double act entitled ‘The Palmers’. “Lourdes is fantastic,” Brian says with affection. “She has made many sacrifices and has been extremely supportive. I am very lucky.”
“India was lovely, we returned twice more and thoroughly enjoyed it.”
In 2001 the pair flew to Spain where they spent six months as part of the show, ‘Fantasy On Ice’ (personal note 2015. The same show was rated by tourists as the number one resort show in Mallorca in 2001). Unfortunately, the tragic events of September 11th gutted the tourism industry and Brian and Lourdes returned to Malta, although they were soon back on the road this time heading to India where they spent three months performing. “India was lovely,” Brian comments. “We returned twice more and thoroughly enjoyed it.”
Then it was back to Spain again, followed by a six month stint on a cruise ship and yet another to Spain. Questioning Brian on his Spanish attraction he is quick to explain. “Spanish hotels invest very heavily in their entertainment repertoire and have excellent performing facilities. They put on a huge variety of acts for their patrons, all of which help to attract tourists in to their premises.”
Although he loves putting on big shows, Brian is also equally at home performing close-up magic. This involves him mingling with the audience and performing things like card tricks and sleight of hand.
“A few shuffles, followed by a snap of his fingers, and my card appears in a sealed plastic bag”
Before I can blink he whips out a deck of cards and begins to show me what he means. I autograph one of the cards and return it to the deck. A few shuffles, followed by a snap of his fingers, and my card appears in a sealed plastic bag that was previously lying empty on the floor. Although I watched him intently, and he performed the trick under my nose, I was at loss how he managed it. Perhaps there is some of the Harry Potter in him after all…
“This type of entertainment is becoming very popular at weddings in other countries,” Brian explains. “It is the perfect ice-breaker to get guests talking amongst each other, and they are also great for corporate functions,” he adds. (personal note. the following paragraph is a prediction for what was yet to come!)
So what tricks does this magician have up his sleeve for the future? “I intend to get back on cruise ships, as well as expand the number of countries I have performed in. Locally I would love to see a revival of the dinner show where illusionists entertain guests as they dine, and in the future I am aiming to produce my own theatre show in Malta.”
“there are great things ahead for this young magician”
As he hands me a spoon that turns almost liquid in his fingers, I have no doubt that there are great things ahead for this young magician. Unfortunately, we would need a fortune teller for that – and that’s a whole different kind of magic.