It seems difficult to get adults interested in magic. After all, magic's something that intrigues, amazes and even challenges kids to reconsider what they deem possible. Once they grow up to discover that there are methods behind the mesmerizing, however, their fascination should seemingly dissipate to the point of disinterest. Which is why a weekly magic and entertainment show in SoHo that appeals to adults sounds like nothing more than a chance for people to re-experience the innocence, naïveté and sense of wonder of their younger years. Yet, as it turns out, it's more an opportunity to see how great performers can have you believing in magic again.
Monday Night Magic at The Bleecker Street Theatre brings together magicians of different pursuits and persuasions to show off their own brands of entertainment. While performers relied heavily on sleight of hand and props to do their tricks, it was their abilities to grab and hang onto the audience between tricks and skits that really resonated with me. Moreover, on the night I attended the show, three different performers and the host each demonstrated his own flair for theatrics, rife with comedy and surprise.
Whether their segments appealed to kids (R.J. Lewis), college-aged and young professionals (Michael DuBois), or cruise ship enthusiasts (Devlin), each performer appealed directly to his audience. That's what's so remarkable about this regular show -- people of all ages and interests sat alongside each other for over two hours enjoying a variety of different tricks. It was DuBois' performance that really hammered this point home as he showed off his unicycling and juggling skills while making some crude jokes to the delight of the audience. DuBois' act perfectly combines fun elements designed for all ages. The rest of the cast of occasional performers surely match the same intensity and mission that this group embodied for their performances.
Magic comes alive again every week. Even if you don't find yourself obsessed with figuring out how certain tricks were done -- Note: The illusions are always more original than the explanations -- you will find yourself amazed by how fast the performers work and the amount of time that must have gone into perfecting their acts. When it comes down to it, after all the theatrics and misdirection, Devlin doesn't do much magic at all. But thanks to his theatrical prowess you barely even notice.
Returning to magic after childhood may sound juvenile to some, but it's a different experience entirely once you stop trying to understand and solve the trick and instead turn your attention to the craft of magic. Lewis, for instance, can keep a young volunteer engaged and focused on his instructions in a way that every parent would be envious. Onlookers like me found themselves marveling at how well the performers work with the crowd to keep them entertained. At Monday Night Magic, you'll find yourself less intrigued by the tricks and deception and more drawn to the methods and strategies employed by the performers themselves. That's where the real magic resides -- in their personalities, enthusiasm,\ and commitment to helping everyone recapture some sense of wonder.