The man making every day magical in Stokey
The world’s first magic and illusion-themed café, The Twisted Fork, has opened in Stoke Newington and will awaken even the most jaded imaginations.
10 minutes in this quirky café is enough to lift the spirits as in-house and visiting magicians perform up-close street-style magic to customers for free.
Jenna Fansa, of the Local Buyers Club, said: “We visited The Twisted Fork with our two children and were as enthralled as they were. Where else can you enjoy really good coffee while a magician plucks a fairy light from the wall and, in a burst of flames, conjures a key to a magical fairy door?”
The food is wonderful and eye-catching– rainbow bagels, levitating avocados and delicious toasties and the coffee is ethical, aromatic and served by experienced baristas. Local Buyers Club members save 10% (find out more or join here)
The café is run by 34-year-old magician Richard Clark, who has performed since the age of 17. While his four siblings followed professions like nursing and teaching, despite gaining a degree in film editing, Richard, who grew up in Chingford and Walthamstow, followed his passion for magic.
He said: “When I was 16 I saw a magic show in my local pub and was fascinated – if I see something I like I want to learn how to do it. I went to my local bookshop, bought every book they had about magic, read them cover to cover and learnt how to do magic. From there came a long slog performing in pubs and clubs.”
Richard went on to perform hundreds of gigs, from weddings and corporate events for the likes of Warner Brothers and the Natural History Museum. He loves anything “flashy and visual” and has a passion for bending cutlery and levitating objects.
He added: “I want to do magic that makes your face light up – I want people to come away feeling they’ve witnessed a miracle. My whole philosophy behind this business is to promote and inspire imagination in all people – because anything is possible if you put your mind to it.”
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A member of the Magic Circle, Richard came up with the idea of a magic-themed café while travelling around South East Asia. He visited the themed cafes of Bangkok, took in the illusions and museums of Bali and visited coffee plantations in Malaysia and Vietnam.
He said: “I’ve spent so many years doing magic and the one thing I always notice is that it doesn’t matter who you perform to, whether it’s adults or children, people of all races and religions – they all come away feeling a little bit happier.
“I want the Twisted Fork to be a central hub for people to come together for all kinds of creative things – magic, music and poetry.”
Asked why he decided to open in Stokey, he explained: “It’s a really cool area – I’ve spent a bit of time here and it seems like somewhere people are a bit curious and quirky. There are a lot of cafes around here but with a strong USP as well as good food and drink, I hope we’ll stand out.”
Richard has invested everything he has into the business and worked late every evening renovating the café. The Twisted Fork is also a curiosity shop – selling twisted fork chandeliers and moving portraits (made by Richard), fairy doors and holographic illusions (hollow-faced sculptures that seem to follow you around the room).
The café has a downstairs area, which Richard is converting into a stage for magic and comedy performances – check out the Twisted Fork website for more details on a series of magical evenings.
And there’s a little courtyard out back, which is being kitted out with heaters, fairy lights and flowers.
Richard is brimming with ideas – he’s already running magical workshops for children and has big plans to add a touch of magic to events like Halloween and Christmas in Stokey.
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