I REMEMBER the first time I saw Durban’s Mo Magic (Mahommed Moorad) on stage – he was a guest on a comedy show line-up and had just burned a R100 note that belonged to a man in the audience.
As I looked at the man’s now not-so-smiley face, I sat there thinking, “Oooo… it’s gonna get all Jerry Springer up in here”, when suddenly Mo asked another audience member to cut open an orange that he’d handed them at the beginning of the show.
And, as the juice of that orange dripped to the floor, the audience member tore open the skin and out peeked a rolled-up R100 note. But not just any blue boy – the one the man had signed his name on!
Suffice to say my jaw, along with the other 399 or so at the Bat Centre that night, dropped.
Durban has long enjoyed Mo’s mystical antics. Some of his most recent stints have included performing for the England cricket team and their families, for the hit music group Kool and The Gang, and Mo’s 2011 Cricket World Cup Experiment on East Coast Radio’s The Workzone with Neville Pillay. On March 22 on Pillay’s show – under the watchful eye of auditor Norman Moodley from CPG Chartered Accountants – Mo put himself on the line and wrote down the two finalists, the winning team and how much that team would win by. To add to the intrigue, he wrote down something else. His predictions were placed in a sealed envelope and locked away until yesterday morning, when it was revealed that Mo was spot on with all all three. And the name he wrote down was the Man of the Tournament, Yuvraj Singh.
Last Thursday, Mo was a guest on SABC3’s Top Billing, where he left presenter Lorna Maseko dumbfounded by some the illusions she witnessed first-hand.
But on stage Mo has entertained as a guest on an array of shows, leaving audiences talking about it for most of the night. And, as you hear the mutterings along the lines of, “But how did he do that?” and “Is it really magic?” one question remains constant – “When is his next show?”
Durban will be happy to learn Mo has decided to do his first one-man show.
“I am considering a two-week run, possibly in late April/May.” Mo was first attracted to magic when he saw his brother perform it. By the time he reached high school, he had learned and performed a few effects, but it was only years later, while at university, that he was blown away when he saw David Blaine on TV.
What started a hobby evolved into a passion that quickly snowballed into a highly respected career that led Mo to turn his back on engineering and become a full-time illusionist.
“In fact, Thursday (when the Top Billing insert aired) marked a year exactly to the day that I resigned after six years as an electronic engineer. People think ‘magic’ and they think performances at kids’ birthday parties – but it’s not at all and neither is it for people to say: ‘Oh wow! Mo, you’re the man.’
“It is actually a personal achievement,” he said, reflecting on a career that has included a tour of the UK, lecturing to magicians and a visit to Sweden for the World Championships of Magic.
From the Midlands in KwaZulu-Natal, today Mo finds himself globe-trotting with his brand of magic. Some of his stops so far include Angola, Belgium, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.
But lavish him with compliments on his technique and he humbly replies: “I have had the privilege of studying with and meeting some of the greatest magicians of our time. I am merely standing on the shoulders of giants.”
Mo’s peers have given him the nickname of “The James Bond of Magic”, because of his personality, charm and style of magic. And living up to that name, his performances can leave you sometimes shaken, always stirred.
l Keep your eye on the press for more details of Mo’s one-man show.