After life in SAS and as 007 stuntman, Steve Truglia exposes card sharks in new magic show

 

A former member of the Special Forces, turned stunt man has now forged a career in magic, and his new show has just seen him promoted to the highest level of the Magic Circle achieved by examination.

Steve Truglia is set to take The Card Shark Show, in which he exposes the sleight of hands used by gambling cheats – tricks very similar to magic – to the Royal Institution in London, next month.

The show follows gamblers and card cheats through the ages, with Truglia recreating many of the cons used throughout history. These run from the 16th century tricksters, to the Wild West and the fate of Wild Bill Hickock, to East End cheekie chappies.

During the initial run, at a venue which held about 200, the Magic Circle’s elite team of judges awarded him the Associate of the Inner Magic Circle with Silver Star. Truglia said: “It’s a really small club so it’s really quite an honour.”

The show has run for 18 performances and will now move to the venue that has 430 seats. He hopes it will run and run, touring the regions and maybe even becoming the basis for a West End show. He traces its evolution from throughout an eclectic career.

Truglia spent six years in the 21 SAS regiment in the Territorial Army, was then attached to 289 Commando and then the SBS Reserves.

The initial period was during the Cold War years. “We had a specific job, which is still subject to the Official Secrets Acts,” he said.

“I was in a peacetime army. It was like something out of a Le Carre novel; studying the habits of your enemy. It was very exciting. It’s interesting living life as a civilian then on Friday night you’re parachuting into a foreign country.”

At the same time, Truglia worked for a bank – “it was the only proper job I’ve had” – and it was during his time in the TA that he started building an interest in magic.

One of his instructors had been on the balcony during the Iranian Embassy siege. “He was a phenomenal guy. He showed us how to get out of plasticuffs, and also the use of psychological tricks. I got into magic after that.”

The team studied psychological operations: “There was a lot about misdirection, making people believe something that wasn’t true. I realised there were a lot of similarities between this and con men. How you manipulate an adversary in a military scenario and a conman tricking his mark.”

After a bit of television work, Truglia moved into working as a stunt co-ordinator in 1994, going on to work on films including Tomorrow Never Dies, Saving Private Ryan and Prince of Persia.

“A James Bond movie is a stuntman’s dream. I was in a helicopter firing a machine gun at Piers Brosnan escaping on a motorbike,” he said.

“I realised how much misdirection is in stunt co-ordinating. It’s similar to magic, the tricks we use to make people think the stunt is real. I also have a lifelong fascination with gambling cheats. I’m not one, but I do have a fascination with it.”

It was out of this fascination, and his own work on the side as a magician, that the show evolved. “As a close up magician I was using gambling cheating techniques. I was doing a party. I thought: ‘If only they knew where the tricks came from. How many people were killed over that’,” he said.

“Everything I’ve done has led me to this. The stories are great, the magic is great. I’m not revealing what magicians do, I’m revealing gambling tricks. It’s not an expose but an insight into how the gambling cheats do what they do.”

He is now limiting his stunt work and said his “main focus” is to continue running the show.

Arts and Entertainment
Wonder.land Musical by Damon Albarn

Theatre

Arts and Entertainment

Film review

Arts and Entertainment
Innocent victim: Oli, a 13-year-old from Cornwall, featured in ‘Kids in Crisis?’
TV review
News
Northern exposure: social housing in Edinburgh, where Hassiba now works in a takeaway
books An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop
Arts and Entertainment
Terminator Genisys: Arnie remains doggedly true to his word as the man who said 'I'll be back', returning once more to protect Sarah Connor in a new instalment

 

film review
Arts and Entertainment

festivals
Arts and Entertainment

Final Top Gear review

TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty and Carl Barat perform at Glastonbury 2015

music
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Richie performs live on the Pyramid stage during the third day of Glastonbury Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
Buying a stairway to Hubbard: the Scientology centre in Los Angeles
film review Chilling inside views on a secretive church
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Williamson, left, and Andrew Fearn of Sleaford Mods
musicYou are nobody in public life until you have been soundly insulted by Sleaford Mods
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dew (Jess) in Bend It Like Beckham The Musical
theatreReview: Bend It Like Beckham hits back of the net on opening night
Arts and Entertainment
The young sea-faring Charles Darwin – seen here in an 1809 portrait – is to be portrayed as an Indiana Jones-style adventurer
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

    Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

    Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
    Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

    'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

    Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
    Compton Cricket Club

    Compton Cricket Club

    Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
    London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

    Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

    'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

    It helps a winner keep on winning
    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'