Magician John Danbury has performed for royalty and now he’s got a trick or two up his sleeves for the audience at the Lawrence Batley Theatre.
The Huddersfield-based entertainer, who has charmed Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall at their Highgrove home, is just one of the acts in a variety show on Friday, May 29, to be compered by comedian and ‘grumpy old man’ Arthur Smith.
John, who lives in Clayton West and is married to actress Ann Micklethwaite, has built an international career with his magical skills, travelling the world and entertaining everyone from Princes William and Harry to stars of stage and screen.
He performed close-up magic for the princes at a Princess Diana memorial event at Wembley Stadium back in 2010 and has been a regular visitor to Highgrove to entertain at Royal parties. He also works with businesses, teaching what he calls ‘magical linguistics’ to help them market their products and services.
A few months ago he launched a series of cabaret events at the Victoria Theatre in Halifax that have attracted West End singers and other performers to appear in Yorkshire.
And now, John himself is to appear at the LBT in The House of Fun, a touring show hosted by Arthur Smith that features an ever-changing line-up.
As John says: “He is drawing upon all sorts of people from all over the country and every performance will be different. I have been in the show in Durham and this will be my second performance. I won’t know until I arrive on the night exactly who the other performers will be.”
However, the promised line-up so far includes 2014 Musical Comedy Awards finalist Laurence Owen, Glastonbury old hands Buffo’s Wake, and fellow magician Pete Heat.
John, who has a coveted membership of The Inner Magic Circle and also belongs to Huddersfield Circle of Magicians, was eager to get on board The House of Fun. He explained: “It is produced by Ben West, who produced the theatre piece Gertrude’s Secret with Prunella Scales, which my wife Ann was in. So I know Ben, and when he asked if I could do a spot in the northern shows I was happy to do it.”
Variety shows, once the mainstay of many theatres, are making a comeback. John believes this has a lot to do with the influence of television shows such as Britain’s Got Talent.
He said: “There are two different variety audiences - people who go to watch alternative comedy and those who want to see a comedian, magician, a juggler, a singer and ventriloquist. There has to be a happy medium between the two. This show at the LBT is aimed more at those who enjoy the alternative comedy scene, perhaps a younger audience.
“Variety is great because it introduces audiences to things that they might not necessarily know they are going to like. In my cabaret evenings we have had diverse acts and people have said they hadn’t thought about going to see a barber shop group or a ukulele band but now that they have seen them they think it is brilliant.”
Tickets for the House of Fun, which starts at 8pm, are £14 to £16 from 01484 430528 or www.thelbt.org .