The Harry Potter novels epitomised the Englishman’s love of and fascination with magic. The appeal starts young, parents who wish to give their children something to occupy them often choose a magic set and so it happened to Maximillian Somerset, aged five. Young Max failed to push four coins through a table but he had the desire to succeed, he read the instructions more assiduously and gleefully he mastered the vase and ball trick. After Max had perfected many tricks his adopted mother did not regard being a magician as a proper career and he was presented with an organ; Max relates that he only got his scholarship to Trinity College of Music in London because he did a magic trick during the audition. Following his Batchelor and Masters’ degree he set up a small keyboard teaching practise and hung out in casinos in the evenings to enjoy the free sandwiches; he became aware of an alternative world of events that he could “crash” and where he could perform magic. After successfully blagging his way into the Baftas, the Brits and even into a garden party at Buckingham Palace to perform magic, Max became relatively well connected. But following the death of his adopted family Max suffered terrible feelings of “alonement” and so began the search for his biological family; aided by his trusty magic researcher and genealogist friend, Max found threads that led him to discover 36 members of an aristocratic family spread from Hawaii to Italy, Switzerland and UK. The confidence these new family connections gave him encouraged Max to reignite his career as a magician.
For his performances at the exclusive private members club Home House, Max tracked some of the guests to gain the insightful personal knowledge useful in his magic demonstrations. His insights were admired by Carlton TV who he then advised about making a show called “Magician Impossible”, disappointingly he was not selected to be the presenter. Carlton apologetically redirected him to Sky which resulted in six episodes of “Max Magic” which he presented in his signature top hat; Game In TV followed up with a “Max Somerset” series which was the most broadcast TV magic show between 2002 and 2010. Then he turned his sleight of hand to acting in the leading role of “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” for the BBC. Today Max is in love with magic as ever preferring to be known as an “unusualist”, he gains his inspiration from different threads in the arts, philosophy and theology then draws the ideas together to create magic. His eccentric style of magic has gained him invitations to perform at celebrity households, corporate events, weddings and even funerals.
Max has mentored Nigel Mansell, the former Formula 1 race driver, after the horrendous crash that left Mansell badly concussed. Mansell credited the hand eye coordination necessary in magic with his recovery and found the adrenalin magic provides a satisfying replacement for motor racing.
Max was awarded inner membership of the prestigious Magic Circle and the Carlton Comedy Award for his sell out one-man theatre show “Signature Tricks”, always keeping his act fresh by introducing new material; when we finished our chat he practised a new card trick for the digital age. This reporter picked a card from his hand which by magic ended up in her iPhone photo library.
Max says “Magic has taken me all around the world, I could never have imagined the healing entertainment it would bring into peoples lives”.