I've always loved magic shows. From early Sesame Street and Playschool days, I was enthralled by sleight of hand and tricking the eye. I saw a movie when I was very young called Bogus. In it, the main character was a young boy in a magic/circus troupe, and I remember watching him do a coin trick; being amazed and excited when it disappeared. I was even more thrilled when Mum took me to the kitchen, picked up a 20c coin and showed me the trick, pulling the vanished coin from my ear. I was hooked. Though I only learnt a couple of coin tricks and card tricks over the years and it never became anything close to a passion or a career, I've always had a soft spot for good clean magic.
Jump ahead a good many years, January 2010, and you'll find me volunteering at the library on a pretty ordinary Wednesday. But lo: turns out, there's to be a magic show and balloon twisting workshop on in the afternoon for a kids school holidays activity, and could I help out?
Need you ask? I'm in.
It was the first magic show I ever saw, and I loved it. Though targeted mainly at younger children, the child still very much alive in me was over the moon. I all but sat there clapping my hands and laughing with amazement the whole way through. It was so memorable, and I honestly don't think any other magic show would have been the same. You skeptics may doubt my saying so, since it was the first magic show I ever got to see and thus I am swayed, but you would be wrong. Because any other magic show would not have starred a one Joel Howlett (yes, this is a shout-out).
|Joel Howlett |
Joel is brilliant at what he does, not just with his sleight of hand tricks, but he is an impeccable performer. He knows how to play a crowd of kids so well; getting the desired result almost every time and if not, can add lib at an incredibly witty rate. Anyone who thinks magic shows are only for little ones better rethink their opinion, because Joel always has the adults laughing with his funny quips and one-liners. His shows are so family-orientated and full of clean humour that everyone gets a kick out of it and comes away cheered, albeit often stumped as to how he pulled off some of his tricks.
During the workshop, I got to sit down and have a chat with him over the balloon twisting, and found that not only was he good at what he does on stage, but he is also a very friendly, down-to-earth person. I am always touched when a stranger takes the time to stop and talk with me, and I particularly appreciate it from someone with a very busy life. Time is a rare commodity these days, so when people share it, I genuinely value it for the gift it is. As it was with Joel. It was great getting to swap a conversation with him before helping to pack everything up to hit the road again. (As he was walking out the door, he whipped up this tiny purple-bead dog, made it vanish, and reappear before handing it to me. It now lives on my dresser) I was thrilled over the fact one of my childhood fantasies of attending a magic show had come true, and I think my family had to listen to my excited ravings for the next few days.
Cue some time later, I'm working at the library again, and I overhear a conversation about the reading competition prize draw. Joel was to do another show for the finale of the draw! I was so in, and this time, my family was not missing out. Probably due to the fact my amazing family has been roped into my schemes before, the day of the competition draw, everyone somewhat reluctantly came (obviously my ravings had not completely sold them on the idea of going all the way to town for a magic show on our traditional "Friday night at home"). I was not to be swayed in my belief they would all love it. It took a while to wait around, since the draw was still in session, and I could see some family members beginning to get itchy feet, but once the show started, I knew it'd been worth it. During the height of the performance, I turned around in my chair to see Dad laughing wholeheartedly, the rest of my siblings cackling without restraint, and my Mum gave me two thumbs up through an enormous grin. I exulted inwardly. They were as hooked as I was.
We all got to meet and talk to Joel afterwards, and I was pleased he remembered me. I was able to introduce all my family, and what with so many of us, we helped carry his packed gear back out to his car before he left. It was the first of a few times getting to see him on a fair few of his visits to the library, during one time I inquired as to whether he would be willing to do a show for a party I was having the next year (2013). He was most gracious to agree to come do a show for me, even though it wasn't generally the kind of thing he would perform at. I couldn't wait, but at the same time, wondered what everyone at the party would think.
It was such a hit, and the perfect way to break the ice for so many people (about 100 of them). It was such a joy to be a part of a show that celebrated humour so well, as well as being amused by the baffling magic tricks. Everyone had a marvellous time, and I loved hearing their laughter ring throughout the house. Joel was simply stellar, and it made my day that he could be there (that rope trip was seriously uncanny. I'm still clueless).
The library draw came up again just last Friday, and thanks to a friend in the competition posting about it on Google+, I heard that once again, Joel was performing there. This time there were no complaints whatsoever as we piled into the car and drove into town for the draw. Joel's was one of the first faces we saw as we walked in the doors, and it was great to see him and catch up with him once again. His show, though mainly for the younger children, was just as funny, just as delightful to watch, and I laughed through most of it. It honestly doesn't get old for me.
We all stood around with the lovely library staff and other friends who were there eating sausage sandwiches together later, and talked about the show, the draw, and what was on for the week. It was a wonderful time, and I will be forever indebted to my awesome library for giving me the opportunity to meet and see Joel perform.
So! If you are wanting something new and interesting for a kid's party, a function, or some other such thing, ask Joel Howlett to do a magic show for you. His is a kind of show that never gets old, the jokes never wear out, the humour is just as fresh as it was the first time, and you will be delighted over and over again. Plus he's an all round awesomely nice guy, and you'll enjoy talking to him! Please go and check out his website, and/or like his Facebook page here. You can also see some of his work in this video. If you ever get the chance to go see one of his shows, do so! You'll have a blast, I guarantee you.