Raymond Crowe swoops into Lismore

RAISE your hands at Raymond Crowe's 'Unusualist' performance in Lismore. JOE LEWIS catches up with the master of hand shadows before his show.

With millions of hits on YouTube, what's it like being an online phenomenon?

I was unaware at first that the clip had been circulated and it was a big surprise to find my email suddenly filling up with messages from all over. Within five days of it being posted online, I was booked to appear on the David Letterman Late Show. Soon after, I was invited to perform for the Queen on the Royal Variety Performance in the UK. So it has all been positive.

An 'Unusualist' is a funny title for someone who makes cute little characters with a spotlight. How does it capture what you do?

My skills are varied; from illusion, ventriloquism, mime, comedy and, of course, little shapes in a spotlight. I asked people how would they describe my show and they said 'unusual', so I coined the term 'Unusualist'. It seemed to stick and separate me from other performers.

Where do you get ideas for your hand shadows?

The song 'What a Wonderful World' was the inspiration for some shadows. One of the co-writers of the song, Mr Wiess, was shown the routine in New York and sent me a copy of the sheet music personally signed. A great moment. The other routines in the show come from experimenting (seeing if I can do them), playing with ideas and hoping others like them as well.

What other things make up your show apart from the puppets?

Visual comedy, audience participation, illusions, a dozen gold fish and a small three-month-old Ukulele-playing baby ... just the usual; unusual stuff.

What got you interested in these old-fashioned sorts of entertainment?

Ventriloquism and magic were hobbies as a kid, and at about 18, I studied mime and developed theatre skills.

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