In 2004 Richard opened a magic and illusion show at The Jermyn Street Theatre in the West End which ran after the main show on Fridays under the title of ‘Late Night Magic’
An opportunity to present a deeper thinking magic show aimed at the family audience still, but presented at a time which naturally the young members of the family were sleeping. The show sat on top of the main play at the Jermyn Street Theatre, and guest magicians alongside Richard Leigh, host and compère, came together after their own evening shows in the London and each had the opportunity to present the style of magic which was not their standard act as known, but compiled and presented in the relaxed late night style that this project was created for and in the most wonderful intimate 70 seater theatre in the West End.
Time and time again, more magicians joined the family and the project often went off in tangents, it was a free spirit, and thus the audiences came back week after week, as each show was kept different.
Many new magicians were found through this project, all super stars now. But with fond memories of our Friday nights, taking over the theatre at 10.00pm, with the show at 10.45pm through to the witching hour of midnight. Everyone then ran for their last tubes home, leaving me (Richard) to pack away, clean the theatre as I found it, and talked to the two ghosts who were very active at certain points of each year. Or was I just over tired. I’ll have that conversation with you another time. But some strange things were afoot at that time of night after the quiet settled in. I took the night bus back home each Friday night. Often, back in the same theatre for an 11am family (back to the full family of all ages) show, on the Saturday morning. I would never have slept in that theatre, that’s for sure.
Wonderful memories and great friendships made from all that passed through the theatre doors and spend an hour presenting some wonderful magic.
Many of my shows which evolved into full shows of 75 minute, started their life as 12 minute pieces created to test the water with a new audience for the ‘Late Night Magic’ project. These years were very creative indeed. One of the strangest shows I ever produced, written by the incredibly talented Anthony Pearson was a comedy play with magic with characters and the title of the piece ‘Malcolm Marvelle – Master of Mystery and the Lovely Rita’ which was presented as the middle act, which soon became a full show which was then taken up to be part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. As this show was presented on Fridays, I could not resist creating something special for the dates that were Friday 13th each year, of which normally there were two opportunities per year. Again these were so popular that they evolved into another of my full shows which became ‘The Superstitious Magic Show’
As the years went on, I was really passionate about giving fellow magicians the opportunities to try out different and new pieces of magical writing that they were working on, exactly how I created more and more pieces to keep this Friday night show constantly evolving with never the same show presented each time.
Looking back, I feel the evening was a very important part in the creating process for me and many of the wonderful people that became friends and enjoyed the same experience.
Late Night Magic ran for 12 years, with the final performance on the 15th July 2016.
I often think about returning this show to a small theatre.
Reviews from guest Magicians
I, like so many of us, owe you so much, you introduced, encouraged, advised and gave a helpful step in the right direction.The inspiration for the London show West End Magic was sparked entirely from the time I performed with, and for you on ‘Late Night Magic’, the Magic Cavern, Card Symphony, Halloween shows at the barn. Such happy and great memories, thank you.
Oliver Tabor, and past president of the I.B.M. British Ring. _________________________
We went to Richard Leigh’s magic show and were blown away. It’s not your typical trick-trick-trick show. Richard is a theatrical storyteller who uses magic to bring his engaging stories to life in a show that feels like a great movie. Add audience interaction, a wide variety of illusions and mentalism and elegant audience interaction to it and you’ll end up with an immersive experience that will linger on for a long time in a very positive way.
George Parker. International Speaker.
Richard Leigh is a kind soul I have known for many years. He is both a colleague and a personal friend. The more I have gotten to know Richard, the deeper I have been able to appreciate his incredible mind. He’s a dedicated innovator in the world of magic, and his performances are always fresh, motivating and deliciously artistic. What I admire so much is how Richard’s creativity extends beyond just his magical performances. He’s also an incredibly talented impresario, writer, prop-builder, visual artist and lighting expert. His rich experience in theatre affords him an uncanny ability to create experiences that audiences actually care about. And he does all of these wonderful things with love, passion and kindness.
Julian James. Magician, Author and Speaker.