Brian Richards, a New Jersey performer bragging 24 years in the business, entertained his young crowd with his “Build a Better World” performance on July 12 at the Hamburg Public Library.
His show fuses magic, comedy and a message encouraging young children to participate in summer reading.
“Build a Better World” is in conjunction with a national summer reading program for children, whose theme bears the same name. The Hamburg Public Library, which sponsored and hosted the magical show, is incorporating this theme in its summer reading program as well.
Donna Sweigert, a librarian at the Hamburg Public Library, stated that every week there is a new program, whether it be a storytime or a show such as this that excites children about summer reading.
And excited they were, as the children’s room was bursting at the seams with smiling children.
The show itself was a children’s magic show, complete with audience participation, juggling, laughs and, of course, the clear positive message toward reading. Richards opened the show with a trick involving two excited young volunteers, a tube, a box and some string with knots throughout it.
Next, he moved to a skit with four pom-poms that appeared to be connected by a rope, only to have the center of the tube be completely empty.
The next trick again involved a child volunteer and contained a classic hat trick. The child put in a black and white handkerchief. only to be surprised by pulling out two polka-dot handkerchiefs. This one also involved a series of tools to further the “Build a Better World” theme, topped off with the magic words being the theme itself. He also included another classic in this skit: a wand trick.
The next skit seemed to be a fan favorite, as it involved not only “how did he do that?” tricks but included some impressive juggling as well. After asking the children the order of a stoplight, he had three balls with the appropriate colors — red, yellow and green. He then put them in a tube, in order, only to reveal that the order has somehow been magically switched. After a loud demand by the audience, Richards began to juggle the three balls, causing an uproar in laughter.
Tying into the “Build a Better World” theme, Richards showed his favorite children’s book, which involved bugs and building a house. After explaining the meaning of the book and its correlation with the theme, he proceeded to yet another classic card trick.
And then there were the puppets. The puppets were definitely a favorite in this library, as each one furthered not only the already bubbling laughter but furthered the theme of reading even more.
He ended the show with another card trick, this time with a twist. After asking the audience which card is the most important, everyone cheered, “The ace!” However, when he turned the oversized card over, it was a library card.
Richards does more than library shows and summer reading programs. Doing 10 to 12 shows a week, often in different states, Richards has various programs corresponding with a wide range of topics. While the library enjoyed his reading presentation, he also does a math, fitness and nutrition show. Though his summers are booked with similar library shows, he also performs at elementary schools all across the country.
For more information on Richards, visit BrianRichardsMagic.com.