ROBERT Townsend is lucky to be alive today.
While growing up in Bunbury, a nine year old Townsend became so fascinated by Harry Houdini after giving a presentation about him at school, he convinced himself, and his oldest brother to push him into the deep end of the family swimming pool while tied up with rope.
“In my undeveloped brain, I simply imagined that I’d just escape, despite having done no work whatsoever in escaping from bonds,” Townsend said.
“Not surprisingly, I sank to the bottom of the pool, flailing wildly. Thankfully, my brother pulled me out and saved me.”
Since then he studied marketing, taught English in Shanghai, backpacked in South America and lived in London before returning to Perth and worked at the Department of Housing until he quit his job in 2011 to pursue magic fulltime as Robbie T.
“I had been performing magic semi-professionally throughout my three years in State Government, and had got to a point where I was performing at corporate events, birthdays, and weddings, almost every weekend,” Townsend, of Subiaco, said.
“So, with a decent amount of money saved up, I simply decided to take the plunge.
“My job can vary a lot from week to week, and depends on the time of the year. During the busy Christmas season, I might have as many as a dozen bookings in a week.
“Bookings may include performing for 200 men at a remote mine-site, to doing a show for 30 women at a Hens party. My bread and butter bookings involve performing close-up sleight of hand magic at cocktails parties or weddings, or performing on-stage at corporate events.”
Townsend decided it was time to challenge himself further by presenting magic show Weirdo at Fringe World in February which will feature tricks threaded together by a narrative..
“The tricks are interspersed with autobiographical elements of my life, though some artistic liberties have been taken,” he said.
“There are some genuine photos of me as an awkward kid growing up, along with some genuine diary entries from when I was in Grade 5, which I find rather amusing to look back on.
“Presenting a full length solo show is a daunting task. It involves creating something personal, and really putting yourself on the line, for others to judge.
“A Fringe show allows the luxury of a degree of experimentation, which for better or worse, I’m sure will ultimately be invaluable in my continued development. Following this run, I have tentative plans to present the show again later this year, in Melbourne, and possibly even in Vancouver, Canada.”
What: Robbie T – Weirdo
Where: IBIS Palace, Murray Street
When: February 3-4 and 6-11