The Naked Magicians to wave their wands in Hong Kong
Christopher Wayne and Mike Tyler talk about their comedic approach to magic and upcoming shows at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts
How did The Naked Magicians come about and what’s the concept behind it?
Tyler: the concept was created by Simon Painter, the co-producer of The Illusionists, which is now the biggest magic show on the planet. He had the idea of the show name and the poster image. From the original idea, Chris Wayne and I developed the show to attract an audience that otherwise wouldn’t attend a normal magic show. The show is an orgy of magic, comedy and nudity with all the trickery themed around sexual topics. It’s literally the funniest, cheekiest and naughtiest magic show in the world.
Air-conditioning in Hong Kong is always on full blast. Are you worried about being too cold performing in the buff here?
Wayne: temperature is always something that affects the “length” of the show, but we have performed in some of the coldest parts of Australia and New Zealand and we haven’t had any complaints yet.
Tyler: we normally ask for slightly warmer temperatures to make sure the “show” isn’t shorter than normal. The cooler temperatures tend to have the male audience members leaving feeling better about themselves.
By doing magic naked is The Naked Magicians implying other magicians are not doing real magic?
Tyler: wizards can do what magicians pretend to do, meaning that of course there is a trick behind everything magicians perform, whether it involves clothes or not. We take on the challenge of performing incredible magic without relying on many conventional methods.
Wayne: we do have a saying that “Good magicians don’t need sleeves, and great magicians don’t need pants”. There is no such thing as real magic! Being a magician isn’t about tricking or fooling people, it’s about creating entertainment that your audience will never forget.
Other than lots of flesh, are there other unconventional elements that the audience can expect?
Tyler: apart from the nudity, the audience can expect non-stop laughs and incredible magic presented as a celebration of sexuality that’s perfect for anyone with a bit of a cheeky side to their personality. It’s the perfect night for any adult regardless of whether they’re gay or straight, male or female, young or old.
Wayne: they can expect to laugh more than they will ever laugh in a magic show, or comedy show. They can expect a lot of audience participation and a finale that will leave them dying of shock and laughter! The finale of the show is the most magical, funniest, and naughtiest thing you will ever experience. I love watching people’s faces light up as they see the madness unfold in front of them.
What was the freakiest/funniest accident that has happened during a rehearsal or performance?
Tyler: during a photoshoot once, I was responsible for burning Chris’ penis twice. I learnt that you should never mess with another magician’s wand.
Wayne: my job and my hobby almost went up in flames.
What is the most challenging thing about performing tricks naked?
Tyler: as two magic geeks at heart, the challenge was to make sure we didn’t compromise on the strength of the magic and comedy just to include the nudity. We feel like we’ve made the best dessert with every ingredient working together to create the perfect taste.
What’s your favourite trick from the show?
Tyler: without giving too much away, my favourite trick involves a mobile phone, a hammer, an audience member dancing with a wand, a parody of classic magicians and a reveal involving a blow-up sex doll. It’s literally a screaming moment for the audience every single night.
Without costumes, what’s the handiest part of your body to hide props?
Wayne: I’ve never been asked this before! A cheeky smile hides a lot more than anything else ever could.
Tyler: a magician never reveals his secrets [cheeky smile].
Do you compete to achieve a buff body for the show?
Tyler: we have different bodies that appeal to different audience members. Some will be on #TeamMike and others on #TeamChris. We’re both confident and comfortable in our own skin, which is important in our jobs where everything is on display to thousands of people.
Wayne: I don’t think we really get jealous, we both have different bodies, which come with different pros and cons. We do guarantee that the audience will see us naked, so we go to great lengths to stay in shape so that the audience likes what they see.
Did you prepare anything especially for the audience in Hong Kong?
Tyler: apart from all 10 inches, we have a trick that happens entirely in the audience’s hands from start to finish. It’s a very magical moment that leaves everyone with a souvenir of their night to take home with them. The entire show is special and we can’t wait to perform it for Hong Kong.
Which magician would you like to see do their tricks naked?
Tyler: there’s a girl I dated briefly after high school who used to disappear every morning. I’d like her to show me some new tricks naked.
Wayne: I’m not going to answer this just in case they are in Hong Kong right now reading this.
September 15-17, 7.45pm, September 18-19, 7.15pm, 9.45pm, September 20, 7pm, Drama Theatre, Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, 1 Gloucester Rd, Wan Chai, HK$395-HK$595 HK Ticketing. Inquiries: 3759 7617