WATCH: Renowned SA magician and illusionist Brendon Peel determined to make the impossible, possible

Renowned SA magician and illusionist Brendon Peel. Supplied image.

Renowned SA magician and illusionist Brendon Peel. Supplied image.

Published Mar 5, 2022


Johannesburg - I’m still baffled at how a person who I’ve met only a few minutes ago knows so much about me. Not many people have guessed my age correctly. I look far younger than I actually am. But Brendon Peel is spot on.

That could have been a lucky guess, but then he goes on to tell me about what I am most passionate about.

I love Liverpool FC and Peel knew it.

He says I am a passionate supporter of English Premier League team Liverpool Football Club, and that my life pretty much revolves around it. He is right.

He could have just searched me on Google, so I am not buying the fact that he is able to read minds. Yet.

But Peel, a renowned mind-reader, magician and hypnotist, insists he is able to read my mind.

He tells me to think of any celebrity in the world, keep it to myself, and not say a thing or give him any hints.

There are millions of celebrities in the world. There is no way he gets this right.

After picking out a celebrity, Peel asks me to hand him my phone and open Google. He types something out on Google, and turns my phone over and hands it to me. He tells me to reveal the celebrity I’ve chosen. I chose Tom Hanks, hoping to stump the entertainer.

He then tells me to turn over my phone and check out Google.

To my surprise, I see a picture of Tom Hanks in all his glory in my Google search engine.

I am shocked. How did he do that?

Renowned SA magician and illusionist Brendon Peel. Supplied image.

The 29-year-old entertainer giggles. He says that specific trick has proved to be a fan favourite in his shows for years.

I’m stumped, but there is no way he is telling me how he managed to guess the right celebrity.

“A good magician never reveals his secrets, right? “ Peel says as he giggles away.

After witnessing what I just have, I am not surprised by the buzz around the Gqerberha-born talent, who now lives in Johannesburg.

Most recently, the multi-award-winning magician and illusionist wowed international audiences in Europe, where he received a standing ovation on the set of Romania’s Got Talent.

He amazed judges and the audiences alike when he appeared on the show alongside his escape artist stage partner, Li Lau.

Prior to that, Peel blew away judges and the audience on Britain’s Got Talent (BGT).

His audition at BGT consisted of a combination of escapology and mentalism.

While Li sat cuffed to a chair, trying to pick locks that would set him free, Peel had to solve a bunch of Rubik's Cubes and then use them to add weight to a scale which, if tipped in the wrong direction, would set off the crossbow and send it flying directly at Li's head.

This amazing feat saw BGT judges Simon Cowell and David Walliams visibly wowed, rising from their seats to applaud the SA duo.

Renowned SA magician and illusionist Brendon Peel. Supplied image.

Now Peel is intent on doing the same in South Africa.

He most recently kicked off his “Impossible” tour in Pretoria and will travel throughout the country. He is set to visit Durban and his home town of Gqeberha in March as well as other cities.

While he loves keeping his shows a mystery, he does offer a little insight into what people can expect.

“The show is filled with psychological illusions, trickery and mentalism,” says Peel.

“Mentalism is magic of the mind, creating the illusion of getting inside of the audience’s heads a little. I also do some traditional illusion and magic tricks in my show. I use a blend of suggestion psychology, misdirection and showmanship. All of that combined creates the ’Impossible’ show.

“The audience can expect to see some things that seem like mind-reading. They can expect to see predictions of the future happening within the show, and they can also expect to see some classic magic, ie: card tricks and things like that without giving too much away. The whole concept of ’Impossible’ is to allow people to watch it and have their minds blown in different ways.”

He plans to get into the minds of his audience, just like he did with me a few minutes ago, he says.

“When people think of a word, I may predict or think of the word they were actually thinking of. I want people to walk away from the show thinking, Wow, how is it possible that the impossible is made possible?”

Brendon Peel most recently kicked off his “Impossible” tour in Pretoria and will travel throughout the country. He is set to visit Durban and his home town of Gqeberha in March as well as other cities.

While Peel has enjoyed thrilling audiences overseas, he says he is particularly looking forward to entertaining South African crowds.

“I absolutely love performing for people in SA, this is my home, where I’m from. People of SA are so diverse, so beautiful and also have amazing reactions, and they love to have fun, so I’m excited. If the audience is having fun then I have even more fun performing for them.”

Aside from performing his “Impossible” tour around SA, he has also been invited to perform at the National Arts Festival in Makhanda (Grahamstown), The Hilton Arts Festival, as well as the renowned Edinburgh Festival.

On the back of successful performances at Britain’s Got Talent and Romania’s Got Talent, Peel’s diary seems to be filling up fast this year.

Peel is overjoyed though, having been unable to perform for a while during the lockdown.

“Lockdown was tough for every single entertainer. Even the super well-known mainstream people struggled. I am a live performer and not being able to do shows was a huge strain on me, because that was when Britain’s Got Talent came around and my name and career started getting bigger, but it was hard to grow it because there were no live shows.”

Brendon Peel most recently kicked off his “Impossible” tour in Pretoria and will travel throughout the country. Supplied image.

Now Peel plans to make the most of it by travelling across his home country and around the globe, showing off his talent.

Speaking about his foray into magic, Peel says his love for magic and illusion started at an early age.

“The curiosity of magic was there when I was 8 or 9 years old, watching David Blaine on TV on SABC back in the day. He really sparked my curiosity.”

He landed his first gig as young boy at a local Spur in Gqeberha, and hasn’t looked back since.

“I am self-taught. As a young kid I spent all my time at a library in Gqeberha. If it wasn’t for those books I wouldn’t be a magician today. I taught myself from books in the library and that’s where it all started. After learning a few tricks of the trade, I managed to land a part-time job at a Spur that was owned by a family friend of ours. The owner agreed for me to come in and do a little audition for the manager as well as some of the staff, and they were blown away.

“They agreed that I could perform for restaurant guests and was allowed to collect tips from all the guests. They also fed me with a burger and chips every time I performed. I think for a young man that was a pretty sweet deal.

“The first time I performed, I earned around R75 for a two-hour performance. For me that was very decent and I was thrilled. I couldn’t believe I made that amount for just having fun.

“Later, I started making substantially more, earning about R400 for each performance. It was at that moment, where I thought that a career in magic wouldn’t be a bad decision for me.

“While at Spur, many people also asked for my business card and if I could perform at birthday parties and other events… I just kept investing in myself, and I have never looked back.”

Tickets for Peel’s shows are available through Quicket at R150 each.

For further info you can visit his official website.

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