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Jamie Raven to wow the audience in Inverness

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Jamie Raven has a confession to make. Possessor of a shock of dark hair and with a career as a professional magician, his name sounds like a well-chosen and appropriate stage name.

“Both names are actually my real names,” said Jamie, who takes his live family magic show to Eden Court Theatre in Inverness tonight.

“I was in a shop recently when someone said to me, with a name like that you should be a wrestler or a magician.”

Jamie, 33, didn’t have the heart to tell him he’s not only a magician, but one of the best-known magic acts in the UK. He’s enjoyed sell-out shows in London’s West End and is the man who made showbusiness mogul Simon Cowell declare: “I now finally believe in magic!”

He burst on to an unsuspecting world during the 2015 series of ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent. His magic tricks not only amazed everyone, but his humble and charming style also captured the public’s hearts.

His ambition was always to take his world of magic to a bigger audience, and after years of taking his show out on the road, the TV programme finally gave him that chance.

Jamie, whose mum Belinda is from Paisley and who has relatives living there and in Renfrew, got interested in the world of magic as a youngster.

“My earliest recollection of seeing magic performed was during a holiday in India. We were at a party when a man came over to our table and performed for us, then later took my brother and I aside and taught us a few simple tricks.

“I never thought then that 12 years later I’d be performing magic for a living and still don’t know whether he was just interested in making a bit of extra money or someone who wanted to share the knowledge,” said Jamie, who has an economics degree and is a keen golfer with a handicap of 10.

What he does know is that he is passionate about getting people to see magic performed live, rather than purely watching it on television or via the web.

“If someone does a trick and posts it on social media, and that video goes viral, then that is a wonderful thing because it may get people interested in magic who weren’t interested before.

“However, my concern is that so many young people these days judge their worth by how many followers they have or how many likes they receive for a particular posting. I get that. Their video might go viral but here’s the catch, if they’ve just learned it to fool the camera or be seen from one angle, then when people are standing around them, they can’t do the trick.

“What they need to do is spend time learning the tricks so they can be performed to real people. If they only master a trick that fools a camera then they’ll never reach their full potential as a performer.

“If every child learning magic now only does it for the camera and social media, then it could be that in 30 years’ time there’s no more live magic shows – but live shows are the most satisfying for the audience as there’s no camera trickery, no extras, no one hidden in the audience, just the magician performing the magic in one go.

“I’ve had videos that have had more than 200 million views online but they don’t laugh back at you and you can’t see the amazement in someone’s eyes which you get with a live performance.”

During his Inverness show tonight he wants to hear lots of laughter, gasps of amazement and see people try to work out for themselves how tricks are done.

“I’m going to be showing off many different styles of magic, as many as possible really, including some close-up tricks, such as the sort featured on Britain’s Got Talent, and some big illusions based on technology,” said Jamie.

“Every part of the show will involve the audience, but my favourite part is when I get a kid out of the audience and get them to levitate.

“The show is really great fun and suitable for all the family. After each show there’s a meet and greet when they can chat to me about what they’ve seen, have their photograph taken with me and even show me a trick they have mastered.

“If the show means inspiring one, or 100, youngsters to take more of an interest in magic, that’s great, because that person could be the next David Copperfield or the one who carries the torch for the industry in the future – they just don’t know it yet.”

Jamie Raven Live is at Eden Court Theatre, Inverness on Thursday, November 24. The show starts at 7.30pm. For tickets contact the box office on 01463 234234 or visit