Interview with Mandy Muden
Laughs, gasps, and more than one “oooooh”! That’s what you can expect when the queen of magical comedy, Mandy Muden, gets on stage. You may know her from this year’s semi-final of Britain’s Got Talent but, believe us, she’s just getting started. We sat down with her this week to learn a little more about the UK’s cheekiest conjurer.
You began your career as an actress – can you tell us how you got into magic? What about it attracted you?
I always loved magic and dreamt of being a magician, but it was very closed off to women back then. I used to go to a magic shop in Charing Cross-Davenports and one day I met Fay Presto who took me under her wing. She taught me magic and how to get work. I loved how magic made people feel. It almost takes people back to that lovely state of childhood wonderment.
According to your website, you are “the only woman ever to combine comedy and magic” – why did you decide to start blending the two?
I only ever wanted to do comedy magic as I love both. I grew up watching Tommy Cooper and thought he was the funniest person I had ever seen. I also don’t think magic should be taken too seriously.
You are also a decorated member of The Magic Circle – an organisation which famously only started allowing women in 1991 and, even by 2016, only had 70 female members out of 1500 – do you think magic is still an “old boys’ club”?
When I joined the Magic Circle is was still very much an old boys’ club but things have changed dramatically. There are some great female magicians out there and the blokes have changed their attitudes too…although there are one or two that are still a bit tricksy! Still, a size 5 up the nether regions soon takes care of that. It is very important for me to inspire girls to get into magic. I hope I have helped to create a road for girls and young women that was a far easier one than I had.
You have performed in some amazing places – even Buckingham Palace – what has been your favourite venue to perform in?
I loved performing at the Magic Castle in Hollywood because it is the most iconic theatre for magicians and it’s truly an honour to be asked to perform there.
You were a semi-finalist (and a huge hit) on Britain’s Got Talent – can you tell us a bit about your experience there?
I have to say I loved every single minute of it. It was amazing to perform at Hammersmith Apollo - the atmosphere was electric. One of the biggest highlights for me was the crew - they really are the unsung heroes of the show. They work really hard and are always so supportive to the contestants.
You are known for your witty banter and audience participation – what is the hardest bit about picking someone out of the audience to come on stage, and has it ever really backfired?
It is hard when you get someone out who doesn’t want to be there. You never really know how people are going to react, but for me that is part of the fun. It has backfired on many occasions however… I once got a man up on stage because he kept talking through the show…then it turned out he was completely blind and his friend was explaining to him what was happening! I made a joke out of it and we ended up having a good laugh.
You are about to embark on your first solo comedy tour, “Cunning Stunts” – what can people expect from the show and why should they come see it?
I am hoping they are going to have a bloody good laugh and see some good magic (fingers crossed)!
Mandy’s UK-wide tour, Cunning Stunts, kicks off at the Theatre Severn in Shrewsbury on the 25th Jan, and will be in London for Valentine’s Day, so make sure you bag yourself a ticket!