LIMERICK escape artist and magician Steve Spade is to join his heroes Penn and Teller, David Blane, and fellow Irish illusionist Keith Barry as a recipient of the prestigious Merlin Award.
Often referred to as the “Oscars of Magic”, the honour is given to magicians who have “achieved the highest level in their craft on a national and international stage”. David Copperfield and the late Paul Daniels also included on the list former winners.
Spade, who is aged in his 30s, said that news of the award “came out of the blue” and he will travel from his home in Caherdavin for the awards ceremony in Las Vegas next August.
An announcement letter from the International Magicians Society (IMS), New York, explained that he will receive the Merlin Award in the category of ‘Outstanding Magic and Escapology’.
Spade shot to fame after a number of death-defying stunts where he escaped from burning at the stake, and freed himself from chains in a locked coffin beneath the surface of the River Shannon.
Although he worked as magic and stunt consultant on recently released movies ‘Cocaine Bear’ and ‘The Wonder’, both filmed on location in Ireland, he says it has been hard for entertainers to keep going due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, he is back planning a series of live shows this year, kicking off with an 8pm show at Flanagan’s in Killaloe on April 15 when he will be joined by Canadian magician Wes Barker who features in the ‘Big Trick Energy’ television show which Spade describes as “a bit like Jackass, extreme magic and pranks”.
Spade’s live show will feature “a mix of magic, mind reading, escapology, and madness”.
Future movie consultancy work is currently in the pipeline through collaboration with the some of the special effects crews he worked with on ‘Cocaine Bear’ and ‘The Wonder’.
“Cocaine Bear is good craic, it would remind you of the 80s slasher movies, it’s a bit over the top, but it’s a great movie if you want to switch off from the world,” he said.
“The Wonder was the polar opposite because it was a period piece set in Ireland and there was a different dynamic on the set.
“It was great to get to work with Florence (Pugh) and Sebastian (Lelio) the director who won an Oscar. I never thought when I picked up a deck of cards as a kid that I’d be working with Oscar winners, it’s mad.”