I'm the first to admit it -- magic is not really my thing. Even though I grew up in Los Angeles, I have only been to the famed Magic Castle once in my life and it wasn't until I was 23 years old. The closest I get to enjoying magic comes in the form of watching Will Arnett's character on Arrested Development perform his atrocious "illusions."
And yet, two weeks ago, I caught wind of a show that has swept across L.A. called Nothing To Hide at the Geffen Playhouse in Westwood. The New York Times has called it "Brilliant!" "Ingenious!" "A roller coaster!" and Variety has exclaimed, "Marvelous!" "Amazing!" "Gasp again and again!"
I knew nothing more about it than what our senior editor, Willow Bay, had told me one day in the office which was something along the lines of, "It's a magic show. And it's amazing." Figuring at the very least I'd get a HuffPost L.A. story out of it, I secured tickets to (skeptically) see what the buzz was all about.
The show opened in November at the intimate Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater at the Geffen. Sold out night after night, Nothing To Hide has been extended for seven extra weeks. The who's-who of magicians have been spotted in the crowds, including Penn Jillette (of Penn & Teller) and Siegfried Fischbacher (from Siegfried & Roy), but it's the ever-jaded L.A. crowd that's been left with their jaws dropping.
Walking into the theater on a rainy January night, my guard was already up. Magic schmagic. I arrogantly flipped through the playbill and read about the two men we were about to see perform. Turns out Derek DelGaudio and Helder Guimarães are two of the world's most gifted sleight-of-hand artists.
They have sold out shows at the Magic Castle consistently and have performed all over the world. Neil Patrick Harris saw them perform together at the Magic Castle and immediately jumped at the opportunity to direct them in a joint show at the Geffen. And so here we are. The lights dim, classic moody rock music plays and the two men come onto the stage. The 110-seat room patiently waits.
The show is nothing short of astonishing. In a 65-minute performance consisting of nine vignettes (and no intermission), DelGaudio and Guimarães have their way with the audience like only two masters can. My personal relationship with magic went from nonexistent to we're-in-love-his-and-her-sinks giddiness. Their confidence, their bravado, their cockiness is palpable. They are young, they are funny and they are charming. I went from whispering in my mother's ear, "I'm not even trying to figure out how they are doing that" to sitting on the front edge of my seat with both hands clasping my cheeks Home Alone-style. There is no explanation for a quarter of what they show you on stage. At one point in the show they leveled with the audience: "We know it's difficult to applaud when you're having your brain blown out of your ass."
So I'm just going to say it now: DelGaudio and Guimarães, will you marry me?
"Nothing To Hide" will play at the Geffen until February 24, 2013. Check for tickets here or call (310) 208-5454.
Follow Sasha Bronner on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@sashabronner