Theatre | Making It Magickal


Magic shows have undergone a revolution in recent years, with none so daring as Magick Macabre. Catherine Wilsdon speaks to its creator, Joe Daly.

Magick Macabre strives to stand out from other performances of mind manipulation and trickery as it merges magic with theatre. Magicians have been around for centuries, but a new emerging breed, such as Keith Barry and Derren Brown, have signalled a turning point in this industry. These guys are savvy businessmen and none more so than Ireland’s own Joe Daly of Magick Macabre.

Daly’s love for magic and illusions was ignited at the age of six as he sat in a crowded venue in Blackpool watching Paul Daniels. His degree in marketing has helped this young entrepreneur win the support of Riverdream, the production company that brought Riverdance to the world stage.

Tired with the fragmented nature of the average magic show, this young magician aims to create a more natural flow by incorporating a narrative into his acts. This narrative aspect allows producers to provide the audience with a real theatrical experience, putting a large effort into costume and set design.

Set in an asylum, the show tells the story of the mentally deranged Daemon Cordell, played by Daly himself. Daemon’s victims are not scantily-clad women but gruesome clowns and asylum patients. This fresh approach to magic is influenced by Daly’s love for theatre, and with the support of a production company of the scale of Riverdream, Daly’s dramatic vision can be attained.

Within the story of Daemon Cordell, Daly will perform his shocking and dangerous illusions. The titles of these illusions don’t leave much up to the imagination; however Daly does mention that the sawing-in-half entails sawing a man from crotch-to-crown using no box, no sheets, nothing.

Providing the Dublin shows are successful, Daly hopes to bring a variation of the show to Las Vegas. Wes Craven, writer of The Hills Have Eyes, Scream and A Nightmare on Elm Street series, has penned a rendition of the show for American audiences. With production costs running into seven figure sums, Magick Macabre may well turn out to be the next Riverdance, and just as terrifying.

Magick Macabre runs from the 24 October to 15 November