SHOULD you see the newly opened movie Now You See Me 2, the doves belong to magician Oliver Tabor, one of the West End Magic stars heading from London to York for four family-friendly performances at the Great Yorkshire Fringe.

"There are only three magicians in the country doing dove magic and that opens up opportunities for me, like teaching Lizzy Caplan, the lead actress in the film. I was one of the magic consultants and taught her how to do magic tricks, so everything you see on screen is real," says Oliver. "We spent four days working with Lizzy and all the doves you see are my doves!"

Oliver's doves will be making their appearance in York too. "I've got seven doves and use four or five of them in my shows with two understudies," he says. "I also have a new little fluffy dove who's just been born and I'll start working with her in about two months' time to get her ready to be on stage, as it takes six months to train a dove fully.

York Press:

Lizzy Caplan: trained in dove magic by Oliver Tabor for Now You See Me 2

"I have a big aviary for them, and I don't clip their wings because I want to give them as happy a life as possible. I've begun handling the new dove already so she gets used to the touch of my hands and smell. After three months I have a dove pretty well trained and then give it an audition process, so you have to choose them carefully as you don't want them to be stressed."

Not every dove is suited to magic moments. "There are some who just don't have the X factor; some are just too aggressive to do it as they get a bit shirty," says Oliver. "Females are best, like my top performer called Greedy, who's been working with me for six years now, and she was the main one in the film too. She gets the most screen time; she certainly knows how to work the camera. She loves meeting people too, turning her head at just right time for a picture."

Has Greedy watched the film? "Not yet. She might see it and think 'that's it, I'm off to Hollywood," says Oliver. Instead, York awaits, as West End Magic returns to the Great Yorkshire Fringe after last summer's debut.

"We did two shows; we were the only show offering magic last year, so we sold out, and they said, 'let's have you back for four shows this time'; same place; same beautiful spiegeltent."

York Press:

The power of dove: magician Oliver Tabor

Oliver will be sharing the West End Magic bill with Neil Henry and Oliver Meech, as he did last year. "Magic has a broad range of audiences; you can play shows to anyone from five to 95 and you can take someone back to being a kid, which is the wide appeal of it," he says.

"We now perform four shows a year at the Leicester Square Theatre [the theatre run by Great Yorkshire Fringe director Martin Witts], playing the main room, the 400-seater, and we may go monthly next year as it's going so well."

Oliver grew up in "the traditional variety era with a love of a bit of comedy, a juggler, a show anyone can enjoy" and his acts reflects that grounding in its combination of dove magic and music, performed on a violin.

"They say never work with children or animals but I do. There's one act in the show where I bring a child up on stage from the audience to work with me, as well as the doves," he says.

And it just had to be doves. "I remember seeing a man performing with doves when I was 14 and I thought it was amazing, so I wanted to do it," Oliver says. "It took a lot of time to master the art, but it's brought good things to me."

West End Magic, Great Yorkshire Fringe, The Turn Pot, Parliament Street, York, July 21, 6pm; July 22, 4pm; July 23 and 24, 2.30pm.