I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to call Richard Essien, better known as Magical Bones, one of the coolest magicians the UK has produced in years. I mean, this promo for his 2011 hip-hop illusion show, Sleight of Dance, was made the best part of a decade ago, and it’s still slicker than a lot of vids released this year.
But Sleight was just the start for the London-born magician and dancer, who went on to star in the successful West End magic show Impossible and appear in Around the World in 80 Tricks. Fresh from a superb closing performance at the 2018 BAFTA TV awards, Bones will be performing his new show Black Magic at the Underbelly Festival Southbank.
Black Magic is more than a eye-catching reference to Bones’ skin color. The show is a tribute to Henry “Box” Brown, a slave-turned magician from the 1800’s who freed himself by hiding inside a wooden crate and mailing himself to abolitionists in Philadelphia. After his escape, Brown became a famous abolitionist speaker, magician, and showman.
Oh, and if you’re wondering where you might have seen Bones before, he was the dancer in the excellent music video for Mint Royale’s catchy remix of Singing in the Rain.