A NORTH-EAST magician went to watch one of his illusionist heroes perform on stage – and ended up performing a card trick for him in front of an audience of thousands.

Superstar US magician and stuntman David Blaine kicked off his first ever UK and European Tour in Edinburgh last week.

Included in the 3,000 strong audience was Newcastle-based magician Chris Cross, who has been a fan of Blaine since he was a child and credits him with inspiring his own career.

As part of the closing sequence of his show at the Edinburgh Playhouse, Blaine needed a member of the audience to help him with a trick – and invited Chris to join him onstage.

When he realised his guest was himself a magician, Blaine asked him to perform a trick and – always prepared – Chris produced a pack of cards and proceeded to baffle the audience.

Chris is no stranger to big stages – he has performed numerous times for the British monarchy, celebrities and has appeared on TV – but his performance for Blaine left him overwhelmed.

He said: ‘‘My guest performance was completely impromptu, unplanned, off the cuff – and completely awesome.

"It really was absolutely epic to be standing next to one of my idols and performing in one of the most beautiful theatres in Scotland to a packed out audience.

"After the show David invited my girlfriend, Claire, and I backstage to his dressing room, where he signed posters for us and gave us a few props he used in his show, which included a signed water bottle and a pack of cards he tore in half with his bare hands.

"It’s a night I won’t forget for the rest of my life – truly magical."

During the two hour show, Blaine performed several dangerous stunts. One of them involved a giant see through tank of water, which he climbed into and demonstrated how he could hold his breath for more than 10 minutes.

The Geordie magician incorporated this into his trick when he turned his pack of cards into a glass block, which Blaine described as "amazing".

Chris added: ‘‘Other than my hero, Paul Daniels, it was David Blaine was who inspired me to do magic in the first place.

"I was 10-years-old when I first started performing magic and that was around the time that Blaine was on TV with his early magic show specials.

"I got his VHS videos for Christmas and watched them almost religiously.

" It was David Blaine that picked magic back up, breathed some air into it, revived it and made it cool again, with his unique brand of street magic.

" I copied loads of his tricks when I first started out, as did every other magician in the world and a couple of those tricks remain in my regular repertoire today."

Chris is to embark on a North-East autumn tour later this year, starting at Newcastle's Theatre Royal on October 19.

Other venues in the tour include the Georgian Theatre Royal, Richmond (October 25), The Majestic Theatre, Darlington (November 1), the Alun Armstrong Theatre, Stanley (November 9) and the Arts Centre, Washington (November 15).

For tickets, contact the venues. For more information about Chris Cross visit his website at www.chris-cross.co.uk