Imagine a kooky Vegas lounge act meets Harry Blackstone Jr. -- and you have the comic lunacy that is Elephant Room, now at St. Ann's Warehouse in Brooklyn's DUMBO neighborhood. Or as they call it: "Stan's Warehouse."
A trio of loopy, but gifted magicians -- Dennis Diamond, Daryl Hannah and Louie Magic - perform a unique blend of magic and mayhem. (In real life, the troika's co-creators are Steve Cuiffo, Trey Lyford and Geoff Sobelle.)
The operative word here is anarchic; yet their seemingly stream-of-consciousness craziness is keenly scripted. Each move, each mini-vignette, showcases sleigh-of-hand: sunglasses, eggs and beverages appear out of handkerchiefs, liquor bottles droop out of an empty cylinder with the blink of an eye. This isn't a big stage-away surprise; these are close-up illusions performed at lightning speed.
One of their most impressive tricks is making eggs, cheese and vegetables appear -- then cooking them in a skillet four feet from the audience! It's not surprising a few head for the stage, littered with the debris from endless tricks, after the show. Only to discover, to their amazement, that the cement blocks, ice cream cones and foods used in Elephant Room are real.
The title comes from an actual room the trio claims is in Paterson, New Jersey. Here they perform an array of nifty tricks -- occasionally enlisting the audience in their zany artistry.
The 75-minute show is a u-turn into wonderfully cheesy choreography and surreal comedy. The magicians are friendly, off-kilter guys, who often display their talents simultaneously. It's impossible not to be wowed.
In the case of Rachel Shukert, it's impossible not to enjoy her unique blend of Broadway meets Passover in her musical parody Everything's Coming Up Moses at 92nd St Tribeca April 4. It's a sassy retelling of the Jews exodus from Egypt, as told by Moses, posited as the original stage mother. He utilizes show biz razzle-dazzle and Gypsy spoofs to lead the Children of Israel to the Promised Land.
This one-night-only sendup is a Shukert specialty. And she's enlisted some Broadway muscle in the guise of Matt Cavenaugh, last seen as Tony in the acclaimed Broadway revival of West Side Story playing Pharaoh, and Seth Rudetsky, from "Broadway Chatterbox," as her wily Moses. Like her recent Don't Cry For Me Ahasuerus, a Purim spoof, Michael Shiralli directs and Bobby Peaco handles music direction. Together, Everything's Coming Up Moses recasts biblical history as prime-time entertainment.
Elephant Room photo by Pavel Antonov