Magic born out of ill­ness

Central and North Burnett Times - - LIFE­STYLE - SEANNA CRONIN

WHEN se­vere ill­ness left him bedrid­den, Dy­namo feared he would never be able to per­form magic again.

The UK ma­gi­cian, who rose to fame with his award-win­ning TV se­ries Ma­gi­cian Im­pos­si­ble, was hos­pi­talised al­most three years ago when a bout of food poi­son­ing was com­pli­cated by his ex­ist­ing Crohn’s dis­ease.

He then de­vel­oped re­ac­tive arthri­tis, and was put on high doses of steroids to treat his swollen and painful joints.

His new TV doc­u­men­tary Be­yond Belief chron­i­cles his long jour­ney from sud­den ill­ness to his re­cov­ery and tri­umphant ca­reer re­turn.

“The fact I am able to per­form magic again is a dream for me. When I was told I might not be able to do it any more my whole re­al­ity just changed,” he says.

“I’ve never been a de­featist, so af­ter wal­low­ing in the de­pres­sion of it for a lit­tle while I ended up think­ing ‘OK if I can’t phys­i­cally per­form the way I used to, what if I per­form in a new style and put the magic in the au­di­ence’s hands?’”

Dy­namo, real name Steven Frayne, cre­ated more than 200 new magic ideas sketched from his hospi­tal bed.

“Those ideas wouldn’t have come about if I wasn’t in hospi­tal,” he says. “Be­cause I had to go so long without my skill set I spent years de­vel­op­ing, it forced me to de­velop a new skill set and in some ways I am stronger than I was be­fore … I turned my dis­abil­i­ties in to su­per­pow­ers.”

But just as Be­yond Belief was about to pre­miere, the 37-yearold was dealt an­other cruel blow last month when he con­tracted coro­n­avirus.

“The med­i­ca­tions I take wipe out my im­mune sys­tem, so I’m in that high-risk cat­e­gory. There were two weeks where I was stuck in bed and my body wasn’t in a good way,” he says. “The virus ex­ac­er­bated my ex­ist­ing con­di­tions but I haven’t had it nowhere near as bad as other peo­ple. It’s a nasty dis­ease and I wouldn’t wish it on any­body.”

But the re­ac­tion to the se­ries is lift­ing his spir­its as he re­cov­ers and he hopes it in­spires oth­ers to make the best of a chal­leng­ing sit­u­a­tion.

“It’s been the boost I needed,” he says. “Ev­ery­body goes through ad­ver­sity, and right now the en­tire world is turned up­side down. If any­thing is taken away from my story it’s that you can’t take things for granted.

“Right now the world, in some ways, is more con­nected than it ever has been. It’s so un­for­tu­nate the tragedy go­ing on, but it’s also bring­ing the com­mu­nity spirit to­gether.”

The three-part se­ries cul­mi­nates in the riski­est stunt he has ever at­tempted.

“If you imag­ine some of the things I did in Ma­gi­cian Im­pos­si­ble, like walk­ing across the Thames, it’s on that scale and I think ev­ery­one’s go­ing to love it,” he says. “Hon­estly this show means more to me than any magic I’ve ever done in my en­tire life.

“Hit­ting rock bot­tom and nearly los­ing it all gave me that rein­vig­o­ra­tion I needed to fall back in love with the thing that got me through ev­ery­thing.”

Dy­namo: Be­yond Belief airs Satur­days at 7.30pm on SBS. It’s also avail­able to stream on SBS On De­mand.

Pic­ture: Sup­plied

UK ma­gi­cian Dy­namo's new TV spe­cial Be­yond Belief chron­i­cles his bat­tle with Crohn's dis­ease. He was also re­cently di­ag­nosed with Covid-19.

Pic­ture: In­sta­gram

Dy­namo went pub­lic with his bat­tle with Crohn's dis­ease two years ago when the con­di­tion flared up (left).

Pic­ture: Tim Car­rafa

Dy­namo, real name Steven Frayne, is an ex­pert in close-up magic tricks.

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