UK-born daredevil Jonathan Goodwin was hung from a helicopter, buried alive, burned at the stake, covered in bees, and performed all sorts of other stunts and escapes on America’s Got Talent, Britain’s Got Talent, and other web and TV specials. Now he’s bringing his unique skills to the Las Vegas Strip for the first time, joining the sultry cast of the two-decade-long burlesque institution Fantasy in Luxor. As the show continues its performances in its temporary home at the Luxor Theater, Goodwin’s contributions (which you can see for yourself Monday through Wednesday) bring epic danger to the larger venue.
They performed many types of stunts on stage and for television. Which ones do you do in fantasy?
My first line on the show is that tonight I’m in charge of the whips, chains and handcuffs, those pieces of fantasy. The first thing I do is a stunt with a whip, but the main and my favorite thing that I perform on the show is a version of my crossbow act in which I shoot smaller and smaller targets from one hand of my assistants and mouth . We’re lucky enough to be in a really amazing place right now at the Luxor Theater and doing the crossbow there gives us a bit more scalability. There is something about crossbows that adds a lot of tension to the audience. Maybe it’s because you are so focused on watching what happens and you don’t want to miss it and then it triggers so quickly. Crossbows are very intense. I’m really trying to get it back to basics and the level of confidence that one needs to have to carry out this act. It’s really about me and my assistant and the precision of what we do and the trust and relationship we have with one another.
How long have you been living in Las Vegas?
I moved here in 2014 and moved to the US in 2007. Oddly enough, this appearance in Fantasy is the first time I’ve ever performed in Vegas. I made Vegas my home, but I was on tour all the time so I was never here.
Could fantasy be some kind of stepping stone for your own Las Vegas show?
I would really love that. The challenge that I have and that I am looking forward to is the idea of creating a show that is representative of what I am doing. There really is only so long before you can ask an audience to sit on the edge of their seat. The longest sentence I do in Fantasy is 15 minutes, so the challenge would be to adapt to a 90-minute format. But it would be fun. I would love to have my own show in Vegas, but right now I’m very happy and grateful to be working and I really enjoy performing in fantasy.
Do you have favorite performances and stunts in your repertoire?
I do. The things I enjoy the most are the things the audience has never seen before. One of these is a straitjacket and it’s pretty traditional because I’m hanging upside down, but in my version I’m doused in fuel and completely set on fire. It’s a very visceral thing and the audience is usually very calm when that happens. It’s real, they know it’s real, and you can feel the heat of the flames in the first ten rows of the audience. It’s a very different experience than most people are used to.
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