Bad boy magician
One of the world's most critically acclaimed magicians, the
award-winning American Paul Nathan, is here for the World Buskers
Festival to perform his I Hate Children Children's Show and his An
Hour of Magic show at the Casino's Mashina Lounge.
Nathan is in demand all over the world, with performances each
year in Las Vegas, London, Edinburgh, Berlin, Paris, Los Angeles
and New York City. Eddie Murphy himself says: "You gotta see this
guy." He's performed for royalty, heads of state and appeared in
various TV shows and films.
Do you really hate children?
"What sort of asshole do you think I am? I don't hate children,
I hate children's shows and children's performers that don't
respect the kids. Five years ago I lost a bet with a friend of mine
who was trying to produce a show for Edinburgh, the payoff of the
bet was I would go there and do a children's show for him. If
you've seen children's shows, they're mind numbing and, a lot of
them, they're insulting to the children and really pandering.
Children are smart. Kids are way smarter than that. I found it
offensive and that turned into the title."
How does the show work?
"For this festival I'm joined by Christchurch guitarist Tyson
Smith, he's excellent. It's a fun show with lots of magic. I've
created a show that I wanted to see when I was 10 years old. That's
part of the problem with typical children's shows, they are boring
and mind-numbing . . . they're pablum, there's nothing there, you
don't walk away with anything. With this show each child, if they
want to, comes on stage with me and does magic and we respect the
children. They will remember it. I insult every single child but
it's a personal insult about them."
A personal insult? Er, that doesn't sound like much
"Bring your children. I'll insult them and then you'll
understand. Children understand and enjoy sarcasm. We don't give
them enough credit."
How did you meet Eddie Murphy?
"He used to come into a nightclub I performed in, there were
lots of celebrities from Prince - he's shorter than you imagine -
to Boy George - he's taller than you imagine and has the thickest
wrists of anyone I've ever seen. That nightclub gig got me lots of
extra roles on shows. On Star Trek Voyager I was an evil clown.
Unlike most of the extras . . . I made it to the end of the show
without being killed off. I've been in music videos, lots of Primus
videos. Last year I was in a music video for MTV that had over 60
Tell me about your An Hour of Magic show. Is it
different from your Devil in the Deck show?
"The festival wanted the Devil in the Deck show but I couldn't
bring it here, it wouldn't have worked. I'm really looking forward
to the Hour of Magic, it really is an hour of magic. As the casino
has those screens all the way around it will allow me to do a lot
of close-up tricks. "I'll show you how much chance you have of
winning that by the end of the show you'll never want to gamble
At the end of the interview Nathan handed me a piece of paper,
scrunched it up and flattened it so I could see it was dead flat
and set it on fire in a move he called "pyrogami".
Out of the puff of smoke a small chocolate dropped onto the
I Hate Children Children's Show is on at 3pm
daily in the Tea Cup Tent, Busker Park, North Hagley Park, until
Best suited to children 8 years and above.
$5/$10 donation (recommended) per seat. Seats also
available from 11am on the day from the Buskers Booking Booth in
Busker Park, North Hagley Park.
An Hour of Magic is on at 7.30pm nightly at the Mashina
Lounge, Christchurch Casino, until January 25.
Bad boy magician
- © Fairfax NZ News