I got to see Helder Guimaraes perform a few years ago when he was a part of a two-man show, Nothing to Hide. Guimaraes is back in the Big Apple for a run of Verso through January at New World Stages where this time he's on the stage by himself for two hours. With a bigger audience to entertain and more attention on himself alone, Guimaraes rises to the occasion and shows us something new in his repertoire.
At the same time, if some of the tricks weren't duplicated from that early 2014 show, some of them did feel familiar. I couldn't tell if that was by virtue of the fact that magicians tend to rely on standards they're comfortable with and can do actually blindfolded, or whether magical creativity comes from the smaller details and the patter they bring, less so in the originality of the tricks.
One sight that was well worth seeing again though was how Guimaraes performs masterful sleight-of-hand after memorizing a deck, a version of which you can find in a trailer for the show. It's difficult to write about a magic show without giving too much away, however the pure physical achievement involved with re-organizing a deck is something everyone can marvel at, whether magic lovers or curious onlookers.
Verso is at its best when it's all fun and games. Guimaraes waxes philosophically at times about biases and alternative realities we buy into at times, albeit subconsciously. But the spoken word in this show is at its best when Guimaraes is instead interacting with the audience. He seems most comfortable in that setting, too, where he can do more than manipulate people based on their biases and beliefs. His moves don't end with his clever hand tricks. For every innocent comment, he comes prepared with a witty retort. This commitment to showmanship doesn't only add to the drama, it takes it to the next level.