Harry Potter star Evanna Lynch talks Houdini at Swansea Grand Theatre
From magic in the movies to magic on-stage, Evanna Lynch speaks to MARK REES ahead of her visit to the city.
T'S such a coincidence," says Evanna Lynch of the fact that, having originally made her name starring as loveable witch Luna Lovegood in the mind-blowingly successful Harry Potter series of films, she now returns in another magical show.
"I'm just drawn to things that are a bit different," she says of her decision to appear as Bess in Houdini, the new play which combines illusion and drama into a unique theatre-going experience.
Not that the supernatural magic of Hogwarts is comparable with the sleight of hand illusions performed by the true masters of their trade - such as the great Harry Houdini.
"It's traditional magic this time. It's old school," says Evanna, who is currently enjoying her first taste of performing in a touring play.
"It's going great. It's a new experience, and I'm seeing things in a different light."
"People assume that because I did Harry Potter I'm experienced, but I'm not. I'm learning new things all the time. Even things like a stage call are new to me as I've been away from it all."
But it's not just the basics of stage craft that Evanna has been learning – she's even had to try her hand at a spot of health and safety.
"Anyone who's not involved in the tricks needs to know how to help out in case something goes wrong," she explains.
"There's one trick where Houdini gets submerged in water and he has to hold his breath, and the assistant needs to know how to smash the tank if it goes wrong. So no pressure!" she laughs.
But it's not all watching from the side-lines for Evanna. She even gets a chance to join in herself.
"I do one trick in it," she says. "But it's a secret!"
But as Evanna points out, the tricks are only one part of the show, which delves into the lives, dreams and obsessions of the two Houdini brothers.
"It's not just a magic show," says Evanna.
"Most of it is the acting, exploring the cost of being such an icon. The two brothers encompass the lengths people will and won't go to; it's a show within a show.
"Every icon that we grew up with fades away. But these people were amazing. I just love to explore the backstory, and it inspires me to do the same."
Of the two brothers, Evanna likens herself more to the single-mindedness of Harry, as portrayed by Jamie Nichols, rather than his more reserved brother, brought to life by BAFTA winner and Houdini playwright Stuart Brennan.
"I'm an all or nothing person," she says.
"I just admire people who can find what they love to do and let it kill them if it comes to it.
"The Harry Houdini story doesn't need to be embellished. It's a special kind of story, and it's historically accurate."
Acting aside, Evanna is also looking forward to arriving in Swansea, having had some memorable visits to Wales before.
"I remember going with my family on a holiday to the place with the longest name – which no, I can't say!" she laughs, with reference to Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyll- llantysiliogogogoch.
And more recently, she was here filming one of the more poignant moments in the Harry Potter films.
"I was there for Dobie's funeral," she says of the memorable scene filmed at Freshwater West beach in Pembrokeshire.
"That was a beautiful place. We were there for three weeks, and they built this lovely shell cottage."
And it is to the Harry Potter series that Evanna will be eternally grateful for her current level of fame.
"Harry Potter has done nothing but open doors for me" she says of her unique place in cinema history.
And while their time on the screen might be over, Evanna is still in contact with her magical co-stars.
"We're always keeping in touch, following each other on Twitter and Facebook," she says.
"The whole experience has been very humbling. I love meeting the fans, it's a lovely feeling just to be yourself and have fun with it. I keep expecting it to go away."