Ahead of his first ever show in Sneem, Fergus Dennehy talks to the world famous magician and hypnotist that is Keith Barry about his new show entitled ‘HypnoMagick’, his love of fishing in Kerry, working in Hollywood with some of the worlds biggest actors and how he thinks that Donald Trump and his White House Staff are in fact master manipulators.
THROUGHOUT his stellar career, Ireland’s Keith Barry has been known by a great many titles. He’s been labelled a magician, a mentalist, hypnotist, brain hacker, an activist for the elderly and in more recent times, he’s even become Hollywood’s go-to resident magic consultant.
Ahead of his upcoming new show entitled ‘HypnoMagick’ in the Sneem Hotel on April 14, I was given the chance to interview the man of the hour and after listening to him speak about his love for his craft, I started to think that there is still one more item that can be added to the above list of titlesand that is that simply put, Keith Barry, is a man incredibly passionate about his craft and someone who is constantly driven to improve and expand upon his already burgeoning repertoire of skills.
Skills gained from a very young age and honed well into his teenage years, Keith admits that practising magic and hypnotiosm weren’t exactly the regular things that a boy his age should have been getting up to.
“I got a Paul Daniels magic set back when I was 5 or 6 and that kind of spawned my initial interest in the whole side of magic and then when I was 14 or 15, I was given another book on the subject called the ‘Klutz Book of Magic’ and this when I first started to perform in the public eye, using all the tricks from that book.”
“At the same time then, I got this little pamphlet on hypnosis called ‘Practical Hypnosis’ and so I started getting involved in that side of things aswell from here and in the years that followed, it all sort of escalated on from there into this amazing career that I have now.”
Keith’s show in Sneem on April 14 will be the first time that he’s performed his shows outside of the INEC in Killarney and he says that while he’s looking forward to hitting the road to new locations, he jokes that if his performing career doesn’t take off any further, he wouldn’t mind setlling down in some quiet Kerry location and fishing his days away.
“I’ve been down in the direction of Sneem a couple of times myself doing a spot of fishing and it’s a truly stunning area. It’s not beyond the real,s of possibility that I’ll spotted sporting a giant beard and living by a river fishing away,” he jokes.
“This will be our first official performance down there and we’re very much looking forward to it; we’ve always played in the Killarney area and we obviously love the INEC and performing there but we realised that Killarney might in reality be too far away for some people to travel to and so we just made the decision to hit the road to places that we’ve never been before.”
“As you can guess from the title ‘HypnoMagick’, the show is going to be divided up into a mixture of hypnotism, mentalism and magic; so parts of the show will involve me manipulating peoples sense of reality and what I like about the performance is that it doesn’t matter if you’re on the stage or in the audience, everybody at some point is going to be a part of the show.”
“Now, obviously I know that some people are nervous when they come to see a show such as mine that they might be landed on the stage with me or something, so I don’t force anybody to come up at all. I just invite people who want to come up and who are willing to give things a go, but still, that being said, it is still a hugely interactive show.”
“In one portion of the show, I basically just perform this mass experiment on all the people in the audience where they will hallucinate for ten seconds into believing that two people are dematerialising right in front of their eyes and it’s a magic trick that really just takes place in the minds of the audience and we’ve been posting the reactions of the crowds from other shows up on social media and you can actually see the people going temporarily insane,” he laughs.
“They can tell that the trick is only happening in their minds but they are powerless to stop it actually happening, even if you believe yourself to a cynic or a sceptic; another thing that I like to do and what people can expect is that every night under hypnosis, I create this ‘UFC Fight Night Conference’ where I hypnotise one person into believing that they are Conor McGregor and I hypnotise the other person into believing they are this Japanese UFC fighter, who can only speak Japanese.
“There is just going to be a load of mentalism throughout the night and people are going to have the opportunity to catch me out and win some money aswell so yeah, people are going to have a really fun time,” he says.
For those of us not in the loop on Keith’s latest exploits these past few years, a litle bit of research shows that the Waterford man has not taken not been resting on his laurels too much; even taking his renowned skills to the glitz and glamour of the Hollywood Hills where he has been busy consulting on the hit ‘Now You See Me’ trilogy, films which follow a group of talented magicians who operate a number of bank robberies and heists.
“I consulted on the first ‘Now You See Me Film’ for couple of weeks a number of years ago; I just looked at the script and I was working with actors such as Woody Harrelson and a number of others aswell.”
“The second film then, ‘Now You See Me 2’, I worked as a consultancy basis for a full twelve month period from day one of production and then I worked on the set for a full three months after this; I was working with all the actors on set to help them with the tricks, we wanted to use as little CGI as possible when it came to the tricks so I had to physically teach all the actors how to do them.”
“We were working on how to produce doves out of thin air, I taught Dave Franco and the rest of the cast how to properly throw and spin cards into a hat for this one big heist sequence at the end of the film and then when it came to the script, if I came up with an idea, I could approach the director and say ‘look, I think this would be a good addition here’ and then we’d go off and look at the practicalities of getting it all done.”
“I still pinch myself everyday because I managed to turn my hobby into my profession and I’ve been loving every minute of it all since I started; I’ve been very lucky to have worked with some amazing people and gotten to do some amazing things so yeah, it’s all been fantastic so far.”
Such is the student of psychology and behaviour that Keith Barry is, I cannot let him go without asking his opinion of the newest and most divisive figure in the world at the moment, American President, Donald Trump.
“He’s got all the hallmarks of a dictator, I suppose, for want of a better word; I mean, people think that he is this lone wolf kind of character that is operating against the grain, but what you have to realise is that he has this huge team behind him who, instead of discouraging his behaviour, are actually actively encouraging him to do this.” he said.
“His advisors are telling him to continue to behaviour I’m convinced because it was this type of action that got him elected; they know exactly what they are doing, they know that people follow certain language patterns and that they can influenced in certain ways,” he finished.
Keith’s ‘HypnoMagick’ show is set to be staged in Sneem Hotel on the night of April 14 with tickets available to buy from http://www.keithbarry.com and they are being priced from €30 onwards.