Leonardo Bruno, The Alchemist, The Illusionists: Direct From Broadway

The real magic is born within ourselves. You create your magic show ...

Modern performance magic has come a long way from the days of Harry Houdini – the art form is nearly unrecognisable from the days of pulling rabbits out of top hats and daredevil escapes. Today, live magic shows are more akin to the wonders of Harry Potter made real. When it comes to keeping magic from becoming an antiquated form of theatrical entertainment, we have The Illusionists to thank. This cadre of skilled magicians, mentalists and tinkerers has pooled their collective resources to create an unparalleled spectacle of performance magic – one that has taken Broadway (and the world) by storm. A bunch of these famed wizards are descending on Brisbane this week, bringing with them their show The Illusionists: Direct From Broadway. Plenty of mind reading, levitation and mind-bending illusion is on the cards, but before we catch the world-class performers doing their thing from January 9–19, we chatted to Leonardo ‘The Alchemist’ Bruno about where his love of magic originated and how he masters his illusions.

Let’s take it back – tell us about the first time you were floored by a magic trick?
As a kid, I was always around magic because of my grandfather, he would tell all the secrets so it was very hard for me to be fooled, even when somebody would try to disappear something for me I would know there was some kind of palming. Everything changed when I saw magic special and Greg Frewin was performing, he had a routine with doves and I just couldn’t believe my eyes, because at some point in his routine he had a slingshot and a ball, when he throw the ball it became a dove in the middle of the air! That was amazing!

Your grandfather Leonardo Trébole was a very prolific and important magician in Mexico and Latin America. When did you decide that you were going to follow in his footsteps and pursue magic as a career?
My first performance was at the age of five, it was the school festival. Shortly after that my grandfather trained me for an international magic contest in Texas, and when I brought back the first place I knew that was what I wanted to do all my life, magic!

Your career in magic took a turn in a different direction when you were introduced to Kevin James (‘The Inventor’) – how did his style of magic influence the way you perform?
He has taught me, among many other things, that the way one performs has to match you. As one evolves with time, your magic also has to evolve with you, you cannot get stuck with the same things forever. You have to keep reinventing yourself as a performer.

Your work has seen you perform for some very impressive clientele, including the likes of Barack Obama. Who is at the top of your wish list for people to perform for?
If I were to choose I would choose somebody that has never experienced magic before, which nowadays would be very hard, but very exciting! If it had to be a public figure I would choose to do a show for Bill Gates, Elon Musk , or Mark Zuckerberg. Actually , all of them together would make up an interesting audience, but I would like for the show to be at one of their homes, it would make me feel like one of the cool kids!

From start to finish, how long does it typically take you to master a new illusion?
As a magician I think we are never completely satisfied with our final product, we are always trying to improve it.

As you had such an early start in magic, we can imagine you have quite the arsenal of tricks to draw upon. What is the most difficult act you’ve ever performed?
I make a rose float in the middle of the audience and everything involved makes it the most difficult act I’ve ever done!

We’re super excited to see The Illusionists: Direct From Broadway when it comes to QPAC’s Concert Hall in January 2019. Without giving too much away, can you give us a hint for what can we expect to see at the show?
You can expect to have your emotions played with, so let the kid inside of you be free that night!

In The Illusionists you work with a cast of equally amazing performers who are all masters of different disciplines. What is it about the different styles of magic that work together to create such a compelling show?
This a different show because not only the magic is different but also the personality of each of the magicians in the show, this is why we all have a different moniker.

Being on the road with a bunch of people who perform magic for a living must be a crazy time! Do you ever prank each other?
Yes! All the time, and it is very funny because even their style in magic translates to the style of pranks, it is fun and interesting.

If you could convince the world to believe one thing, what would it be?
That everything is possible, and the kind of magic we do is for entertaining purposes only, but the real magic is born within ourselves. You create your magic show.

Catch Leonardo Bruno and the rest of The Illusionists when they take the stage for Direct From Broadway at QPAC from January 9–19.

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