A kind of magic

Award-winning comedian magician Jarred Fell is a regular performer in Christchurch, including at the upcoming Bread & Circus – World Buskers Festival 2022. He talks to Metropol editor Lynda Papesch about shocking and delighting audiences in equal measure.

Life – indeed the whole world – is definitely a stage for Jarred Fell.

Deemed New Zealand’s best comedy magician for more than a decade, he’s just at home here and abroad, entertaining on stage, busking in the street and wowing audiences on the hit NBC American TV series Bring the Funny. Convention centres, cruise ships, casinos, comedy clubs and cosmopolitan kerbs all offer a backdrop for his unique sense of humour and showmanship.

He’s danced across stages, fixed and impromptu, in Christchurch many times and now, home in New Zealand thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, Jarred’s headed this way again.

He’s always loved Christchurch as a city. “It truly is beautiful. Ever since the first Buskers Festival, it became one of my favourite festivals to perform at. Us entertainers LOVE performing gig after gig and I have been so lucky to have amazing audience members and audiences each year! Bloody love it!” he enthuses.
Performing magic for 20 years now, he started blending it with comedy thanks to a colleague.

“When I was 17, I was introduced to a comedy club by a fellow comedian magician Nick Nicholas in Auckland. He told me to get up on stage and make fun of magic. Once I tried that I never looked back. I love having that slight element of taking the piss, but still trying to wow the crowd. Sometimes things just go wrong and it’s funny so win win haha!”

For the first 11 years of his career, shows were more about what he thought was funny, but more recently – in the last two years – inspiration has also come from what’s been happening in the world. “I have started adding real life topics into my writing to try add emotion and connect more with my audience. So currently my life is my inspiration, ha!”

Favourite topics? Well obviously MAGIC and COMEDY!

Turning magic and comedy into entertainment doesn’t just happen. About half of Jarred’s shows are written and half improvised. “The audience definitely is a huge part of any show, so no pressure if ya coming along for the ride ha!”

And a word of advice for those looking to follow in his footsteps: “Don’t! Get a qualification and stay in school. But, if you really want to get into the arts then join your local theatre company and get as much stage time as possible.

“With magic, just pick up a normal deck of cards and start reading those magic books. Or for all you hipsters … watch YouTube.”

Bread & Circus – World Buskers Festival

Taking place in Christchurch during the Easter school holidays, from 22 April to 1 May. The 2022 event will take place at Victoria Square and The Commons. Free to enter, with My Vaccine Passes required at entry, the Bread & Circus site will comprise two big stages with busking and free entertainment, roving performers, food stalls, bars, and activities for all the whānau. The evenings of both Fridays (22 and 29 April) and Saturdays (23 and 30 April) will offer a late programme, for a more adult audience.

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