Roto-o-Rangi School students were in for a treat last week when Elgregoe the Magician visited the school last Friday. It wasn’t just the students who were wowed and amazed by the many tricks and optical illusions – I, too, was left thinking, “how the heck did he do that!?”
Elgregoe, a.k.a. Greg Britt of Christchurch, has been delivering his message of positive behaviour to school children for over 20 years now, travelling the country from Kaitaia to Bluff with his band of exotic birds, puppets and magic props. His visit to Roto-o-Rangi was part of his final tour before he heads overseas next year to give third-world children a magical experience like never before.
I was quite tempted to examine the props he’d brought with him to the show, I just couldn’t fathom how he stuck his arm through a solid mirror which showed no signs of a hidden passage, or when he pulled a solid 8ft ladder out of a briefcase.
But that’s all part of the allure and wonder of a magician, and part of the delight of viewing it from a child’s mind: is he really magic?
One of the most mind-boggling parts was when he invited Greer Curin onto the stage and, without looking, asked her to fill in a picture with colours of her choice. He then pulled out another copy of the drawing, which had already been coloured in the exact same way Greer did. But how?!?
“He’s really funny, and really good at magic,” Greer said after the show. “My favourite part was the big parrot, I liked all the birds,” she added.
Elgregoe uses magic tricks and ventriloquism as a way to teach the children valuable life skills. “Most schools are already teaching these things, so we’re just reinforcing it in a fun way,” he said. “It’s skills they need right through life, respect, being responsible, although we call it antibullying it’s really about creating a good environment.”
Next year Elgregoe will be off to Africa and India as part of Magic Beyond Boarders. “It’s taking magic shows to children who don’t have childlike experiences, they’ve got nothing, never seen a show, never had much fun, so we’re going to go and change their world for a wee bit.
“We’ve had a wonderful run in the schools but now it’s time to look at doing some new and different things and take our magic all over the world.”