Barnaby: who makes it look like magic.

I was deeply saddened by the recent untimely death of my friend Barnaby the Juggler. This is a brief article that I wrote about him in approximately 2009 for Magic New Zealand. I thought it was worth featuring here on my blog as it still seems to very accurately say what I felt about Barnaby as a performer. 

Barnaby-8X10-promo(1)This week I want to introduce you to a performer who takes the art of juggling and manages to make it look like magic. Originally an English professor, Barnaby began his practice of juggling when he discovered how much money one of his students was making as a juggler! Shortly thereafter he ‘gave up his day job’ and became one of the two finest jugglers It has been my pleasure to witness. If you feel that he doesn’t belong in a series entitled ‘Meeting With Remarkable Magicians’ then you’ve never seen his trick of lighting a cigarette in his mouth with a match thrown from behind his back.

I have one or two firm rules that I cling to in the variety world and one of them is that no juggler should be allowed to perform on a stage until he has watched Barnaby perform. Why? The answer is simple because he has created a persona that elevates his performance to a level of artistry that is seldom seen in a juggler. His stand up comedy and feats of juggling are unique and display a dedication to character that is rare indeed in the juggling world: or the magic world either.

The moment he walks onstage you know Barnaby is a one of a kind. He has long (very long) white hair that makes him look like a cross between Buffalo Bill and a hippie who has been stranded for too long in the traffic en route back from Woodstock. In his immaculate tuxedo he looks somewhere between dilapidated and distinguished! When Barnaby opens his act he quietly stands center stage for a moment or two before 2006 block partyremarking, “I just wanted to give you a chance to absorb me.” Then the act proceeds at a leisurely and controlled pace that is far different from the breakneck pacing of the average juggler. He eschews the wiseacre remarks that are as interchangeable as the tricks of other jugglers. He understands something that every performer needs to learn: people are watching him and not just the things he is doing.

This is something we all need to absorb in the entertainment industry.

If you have never seen Barnaby perform I heartily recommend that you do, or at the very least try and pick up his DVD. If you have a love of the performing arts you will not be disappointed and you may learn a lot!

As for Barnaby’s name it harkens back to his professorial roots. The first person that can tell me its origin gets a signed copy of my new comedy magic CD. ‘The Magic of Laughter.’ Good luck!

Farewell my friend. It was an honor and a pleasure knowing you. You can check out one of Barnaby’s coolest tricks (as described above) at 



~ by Nick Lewin on July 25, 2014.

One Response to “Barnaby: who makes it look like magic.”

  1. Nick, Wonderful article about a wonderful man and an amazing talent. Had the pleasure of working with Dan many times and was honored to call him a friend since 1992. Aloha Barnaby.

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