FREEDOM, celebration and fun in all forms of sexuality are at the core of every performance by Australia’s first naked magic comedy show, aptly named the Naked Magicians.
Christopher Wayne and Mike Tyler, the two men revealing everything up their non-existent sleeves are two long-performing magicians who only started their somewhat liberating routine earlier this year, premiering it during the Brisbane Comedy Festival.
So much so, the duo is set to perform at this year’s Queen’s Birthday Ball, which is dubbed the world’s longest-running LGBTI cultural event and a major fundraiser for Brisbane Pride.
The freedom to be able to perform naked on stage is something that has only recently come to Wayne. He converted to Christianity at the age of 14 and at one stage became a pastor, but he only just recently walked away from it all.
“One of the things I struggled with the religion that I took on was that my mother had raised me to accept that anyone could love anyone else regardless of gender,” he said.
“After I went into the church I felt this major conflict because of what I was expected to now believe and preach.”
After starting a career in magic while still being an active member of his church, Wayne often found himself in contact with younger fans that would write to him about issues they were tackling.
“I’d hear a lot from kids saying that they were struggling with things in life like bullying,” he said.
“One thing I heard a lot about, though, were kids struggling with their sexuality because of the religious voices they were hearing from their youth group leaders and peers at school. And that really broke my heart.”
After not being able to reconcile religious differences between him and the religion, Wayne “officially” left his church last year.
“I realised I had a voice to speak to thousands of young fans I had and I got to a point were I couldn’t not stand up for what I believed in anymore,” he said.
“I decided I would become actively outspoken on where I stood in my beliefs regarding religion and sexuality.
“My faith sort of turned itself off. Now I get naked on stage. So you can probably guess where my beliefs are at now,” Wayne joked.
Talking about his time performing “gospel magic”, Wayne laughed when he remembered the occasional hate mail he would receive.
“One of out every 100 letters I received while doing my ‘gospel magic’ would be someone accusing me of witchcraft,” he recalled.
“One favourite I received from England started with the headline ‘Playing Cards: The Devil’s Bible’.”
Tyler spoke of his long-held belief in rights being extended to everyone regardless of sexuality, race or gender.
“I was a private Catholic school boy and my father was — and still is — a teacher but my parents always raised me on acceptance and tolerance of others,” he said.
“We both share the belief that equality in all its forms should be extended to everyone.“
Speaking on the current state of LGBTI rights in Australia, the duo were both happy to adopt a “straight ally” role.
“We’re in a really weird place with rights and visibility in that society as a whole seems to be much more accepting but at the same time, there’s more prejudice out there than what’s been seen for a very long time,” Wayne said.
Tyler added: “Extremely anti-gay voices appear to be getting more extreme and desperate, perhaps due to the fact they know that their numbers are dwindling and will soon fade away.”
Wayne said that the pair have designed their show to be a “celebration” of sexuality and is open to anyone to come along and enjoy.
“Our show now is primarily a funny, strong magic show but it’s also sexy and we would like it to be a celebration of sex and sexuality, no matter who you’re attracted to,” he said.
Tyler echoed the sentiments: “We base the show around the fact that we know most of the audience has a dirty, sexy side to them and we want to celebrate that.”
With a routine like that, and the fact they performed naked, it did not take long for the duo to develop a growing fan base, with gay men now making up a sizeable portion of it.
“When we created the show, we thought it would just be single women or girls on hen’s nights coming along to see our magic wands,” Tyler said.
“The majority of the audience is still women but more and more we’ve noticed many more men attending our show, which is fantastic.”
The upcoming Queen’s Birthday Ball will be the first official LGBTI event at which the magicians will perform, although due to scheduling difficulties, only Wayne will be performing on the night. Nonetheless, he was looking forward to it.
“It will be like Siegfried without Roy but it’ll be nice to be the one with the bigger dick on stage for once,” he joked.
“The audience will step in and help out in Mike’s place in an incredibly interactive performance.
“I’m very excited to bring a magic show to Queen’s Ball and hopefully shatter everyone’s preconceived beliefs on what they think magic is. It’s an honour to be invited to perform and I hope everyone leaves with a smile on their face.”
The pair is also returning to the Brisbane Powerhouse with their second series of shows.
“We’ve dared to push the line a little bit further for this new run,” Wayne said.
Tyler added: “We thought about what the show was missing from our other ‘typical’ magic acts like ‘the escape’ and mind reading. What we realised that we didn’t have was a levitation act.
“With a naked magic show, we’ll just let your imaginations do the work there.”
The pair has planned a “bigger, bolder along with dirtier and funnier” final act that they guaranteed would leave an impression on the audience.
“We also have one hell of a ‘new ending’,” Wayne said, before the duo broke into laughter.
Queen’s Birthday Ball
Touted as one of the world’s longest running LGBTI events, the annual Queen’s Birthday Ball presented by the Brisbane Pride Festival is returning on June 8 and tickets have just been released.
With a theme of The Great Gatsby, get those garters, flapper dresses and double-breasted suit jackets ready for a night of doing the Charleston until the wee hours.
The majestic main auditorium of the Brisbane City Hall will be home to the 53rd Queen’s Ball and with an entertainment line up featuring the city’s best drag queens, live acts and one-half of the Naked Magician duo — this is an event on the city’s LGBTI social calendar that cannot be missed.
All tickets include a two-course meal, four-hour beverage package and the presentation of awards for outstanding achievements in the LGBTI community.
Along with premier seating, VIP ticket holders are invited to an exclusive function from 6pm. featuring a Welcome Queen’s Cocktail, complimentary pre-dinner drinks, canapés and entertainment.
Tickets start from $75 for Brisbane Pride members.
For details and to book, visit from http://brisbanepridefestival.com.au