The first big name confirmed to play this year’s Funny in Falkirk has more than a few tricks up his sleeve when it comes to making people laugh.
Pete Firman has been wowing audiences for almost a decade with his modern take on the classic magic show.
The sharp-suited illusionist has become a familiar face to millions as one of the stars of the BBC1 Saturday night programme ‘The Magicians’.
And he’ll be bringing his unique show to Falkirk Town Hall on July 21 as part of the third Funny in Falkirk.
The Falkirk Herald is the official media partner of the festival and caught up with the 32-year-old as he took a break from writing material for his three week residency at the Edinburgh Fringe in August - the sixth year in a row he will have performed at the global showcase.
“A year is not a long time to write an entirely new show when you’ve got a tour to complete and a TV programme to make,” he said.
“I’ve not got the fear yet but I enjoy working under pressure.”
Pete performed his first trick aged eight but never intended to make a full-time career from magic.
“I hate to use that word, but it happened organically. I did shows when I was at university to make some beer money and it took off from there. I think if I had told the careers advisor at school that I wanted to be a magician I would have been laughed out of the room.”
The Middlesborough-born illusionist enjoys making his audience laugh as much as he does making them gasp with a well-constructed trick.
“Watching people like Penn and Teller when I was 17 made me realise that magic could be cool and have an edge,” he added.
“I used to love watching repeats of Tommy Cooper shows with my parents. Magic and comedy together was always a favourite.”
But he has little time for the kind of giant illusions created by the likes of David Copperfield.
“Magic has a different meaning to people now than it did a century ago. People that come along to my shows want to have fun and are prepared to suspend their belief.
“I think there’s a line - I don’t think in this day and age you can really expect people to believe that you are capable of making the Statue of Liberty disappear. I won’t be trying to make Edinburgh Castle vanish.”
Pete’s shows involve regular audience participation which can often lead to unexpected results.
“I think I’m a good judge of character - but you never know how someone will react on stage. But it’s all good fun.”
To buy tickets for Pete’s show on July 21 visit www.funnyinfalkirk.com.