A Tempting Teaser from Britain’s Got Talent Illusionist, Darcy Oake

Rebekah Spratt | 23rd June 2015

darcy-79Canadian born Britain’s Got Talent favourite Darcy Oake is planning his most daring stunt ever for the upcoming tour, which is hitting Manchester at the 02 Apollo in September. As a finalist on the ITV talent show, Darcy left Britain spellbound by his death-defying stunt which saw him strapped in a straight jacket and suspended – upside down – above a looming bear trap, with only seconds to escape.

VIVA were in fine company last week as we caught up with the Illusionist over a coffee at Innside Manchester, where Darcy vowed the upcoming show will have us in the edge of our seats, but also promised plenty of audience interaction, stating, “Magic is more about the connection with the crowd, so interaction is everything.” And so, first thing in the morning, we were treated to an exclusive teaser of what’s to come from the September show. Darcy dazzled a bewildered audience at the Comedy Store in Deansgate, later admitting, “It’s funny, because you never really know how it’s going to go down so early in the morning, right?”


Like at the Comedy Store, Darcy reveals how he prefers to perform to a smaller, intimate crowd, but adds, “My favourite thing is working a huge room that has that really intimate feel. The Hammersmith Apollo in London has that kind of atmosphere; it’s huge but you still feel like it’s really intimate. I also like to do shows when it’s quite a small crowd, but on a bigger stage, so you get the balance of the grandiose but still retain the intimacy.”

Darcy’s love of magic stems from an obsession that began in his childhood, “I feel like everybody kind of learns a little bit when they’re a kid but, then they grow out of it and move onto other things. I just sort of never stopped learning because I just loved it and kept going with it.” Before appearing on BGT, Darcy was working on cruise ships, but says that the audition in Manchester at The Lowry went better than he could anticipated. Since then, his schedule has been so off the radar that he has to consider carefully how to keep his content fresh, “You can easily become so enthralled in your own vision, but it’s all about trying to perceive how the audience sees it.” On the creative process of developing ideas, he explains how it can be tricky to view the act from outside the box, “If you write a song and you memorise every single word, you become fixated on little parts that nobody would ever even notice… it becomes this weird sort of obsession I guess although it’s as perfect as it can be. It’s a long process.”


Inevitably, the conversation soon turned to this year’s BGT contestants. Darcy reveals, “Calum Scott was amazing, he seemed like such a nice guy, so down to earth. The story was there and I wanted him to win…I thought he was fantastic!” As Calum learnt the hard way, being in the spotlight is not without its downsides, “It can be hard. I know that I was feeling the pressure, but Calum got the Golden Buzzer, so that was even more pressure. When it goes really, really well, you’re like, ‘How am I going to live up to that last one?’, so there’s a whole other mind game going on. It can get to anyone, I guess”. And despite the controversy caused over the use of a stunt dog, he was also a fan of this year’s winner Jules O’Dwyer and her dog Matisse, “To me, it just proves the fact that she can train three dogs to do that, so how could she not win? There’s a three legged dog that steals food for a little buddy, you know? It’s pretty amazing, it’s a pretty good act. I thought she was great.”

On top of the live pressure of BGT, there’s also the weight of social media that comes into play when you’re put in the public eye, “During BGT, Derren Brown reached out a bunch of times. He actually gave me some really good advice, like ‘Don’t read anything… Good or bad’, You’ll read through your Twitter, and say you read fifty things that are the best, ‘I love you’, ‘I’m a fan for life’…but then you read that one thing that’s like, ‘I hate you’, and that’s all you remember; the one negative thing.” Describing internet trolls (aptly) as “The keyboard warriors that just sit behind and spew venom”, Darcy has accepted that you have to realise that not everyone is going to love you, but you do everything for the people who do. “Those are the only people who matter. Instead of trying to win everybody over, it’s like the rule of thirds- I guess a third of the people will love you, a third of the people will hate you and a third of the people don’t care, so do it for the third of people that love you. Those are the people that are like, diehard fans, because they’re there till the end.”


So what draws the elusive Darcy Oake to magic? “I love when a trick is done really well, and you don’t know how it works”. In a society where you have a world of easily accessed information at your fingertips, Darcy says, “There’s something unique about an experience that you just can’t explain, especially one that’s man-made. I think that’s why people love to watch dance shows? It has this sort of, magical aspect, where people move in a way that seems almost impossible… but to actually see something that can’t physically be possible, I think, is a cool thing. It can be really powerful”

Not every trick has been smooth sailing, however, so be under no illusion that Darcy’s cool and collected demeanour comes from absolute certainty, “We were practising the timing of the straight-jacket bear trap trick in rehearsal, trying to find the height for machine, and I was like, ‘Let’s take it up really, really high, this has to look epic.’ So they said we should put a mat down on the floor, but I was thinking that if we put a mat down, the audience would know I’m going to fall. I had them take it up way too high, and then I just fell onto the stage. My whole leg was black…it was bad, I still can’t move my pinky toe.” And then there’s the magic of working with live animals, such as Darcy’s signature dove act, “Doves are live animals with a mind of their own. There was one time a dove flew out into the audience and landed in a lady’s lap, laid an egg, and then flew back to the stage. I was like, ‘Thank you! Tadaa!’ But you can’t plan that.”


Darcy will perform at the Manchester O2 Apollo on Friday September 18.

Tickets are available from www.gigsandtours.com or by calling 0161 273 6921.

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Follow Darcy Oake on Twitter: @DarcyOake


Photo credit: Rob Evans Photography