FOR local lad Alex Lodge, having his own show at the Haymarket Theatre will be pure magic.

The 24-year-old, from Canadian Way, Limes Park, Basingstoke, has overcome dyslexia to make hocus pocus his living, travelling across the world to conjure in front of hundreds of people.

But all the while, he has wanted nothing more than to perform illusions and tricks in his home town.

And next March, Alex will fulfil his dream and set foot on the stage at the Haymarket Theatre.

He said: “When I was a boy, I was taken to see a magic show at the Haymarket.

“I have a very vivid memory of being called up on stage to help with a trick and thinking, ‘one day, I will be back here performing magic’.

“Now I’ve got my own show here and it’s fantastic. The feeling is hard to describe.”

It was after that show almost 20 years ago, that Alex was struck by the spell of professional magic.

His late grandfather, amateur conjurer and former Mayor of Basingstoke and Deane Geoffrey Rodges, sparked his interest by showing him tricks.

Alex said: “My grandfather would keep me entertained for hours with illusions, and then he’d show me how they worked afterwards.

“Although that’s against the magicians code, he would make me promise not to tell anyone and it felt like we had our own special secret between us.”

A former Testbourne Community School pupil, Alex suffered with dyslexia and struggled with academic subjects. He was encouraged by teachers to take roles in school productions and won a school talent show with his illusions.

After finishing school, Alex became the resident illusionist at a magic bar in Spain, before taking a job as a magician on a cruise ship to Miami.

He then became a member of the Magic Circle and decided to put together his own stage show to take across holiday centres in England.

Now he is putting the final touches on his show, Vision, for his Haymarket performance. When The Gazette caught up with him he went out on the streets at the Top of the Town, bamboozling passers-by with his card tricks and illusions.

He said: “Coming back home and performing is something that has always stuck with me, and perhaps I could inspire some other child in the audience to take up magic.

“Now that I’m about to fulfil my ambition, I’d love to get magic on the television with my own show.”

Alex’s stage show will be at the Haymarket Theatre on March 5 next year.

It will also feature dancers from the Basingstoke Academy of Dancing as well as a special guest from the CBBC show The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. For tickets, contact the box office on 01256 844244.