Review Monday Night Magic 7/1/02
It doesnt seem possible, but its been five years since Monday Night Magic begin weekly performances featuring different magicians every week. Now housed in the handsome McGinn-Cazale Theater at 76th Street and Broadway in New York City, last evenings show featured Simon Lovell, John Carney, David Oliver and host Jamy Ian Swiss, with intermission close-up by Jamy, Per Eklund and Dennis Kyriakos.
Jamy started things off with his production of any card called for, which begins seeming like it will be a gag, then turns into a mind-boggler. MNM regular David Oliver was first up. Ive reviewed Davids great act many times in the past, but his renditions of classic magic are faultless, including silk and dove productions, a vanishing dove cage, the Linking Rings and perhaps the finest Zombie floating ball I ever seen. He was able to elicit gasps and much applause from the packed house.
John Carney has won just about every prize in magic for his extraordinary sleight of hand. He was making a rare New York appearance and it was a real pleasure to see him in action. He is able to take classic tricks and perform them flawlessly and he began with his marvelous rendition of Jerry Andruss Zone Zero, in which a simple board with a hole in it becomes capable of making a lemon appear or disappear as it is placed through the hole. As a climax, John produced a glass of lemonade. John began some lovely Disappearing Knot tricks with a white silk, then the silk itself disappeared and appeared with no sight of any apparatus to help it on its way. Five half dollars began to appear from the air, and John passed them invisibly one at a time into a glass he held. They vanished individually and then, with a spectator holding a silk, they appeared as a Coin Star in Johns outstretched fingers.
As a special treat, John Carney introduced one of his alter egos, Dr. X, the noted mind reader, hypnotist and balloon animal twister. With his dark glasses and fez, Dr. X warned, in a German accent, that we must not look directly in his eyes or we would become Zombies and dance around like chickens. Dr. X demonstrated his skill by hypnotizing a stool into believing it was a table. After lulling the audience into a state of complacency, Dr. X did a wonderful job hypnotizing a glass of water. Covering a half-full (Im an optimist) glass of water with a sheet of dampened paper, the water staid suspended, a la the Hydrostatic Glass, even when inverted, and even when the paper was removed. On an audience members command, the water instantly poured from the glass. I loved this character, and was only sorry Mr. Mysto, my hero, was on vacation.
Thanking the Doctor for his special appearance, John Carney returned to perform Cards to Pocket with ten cards, and then an amazing Diminishing Fan of Cards in which the fan is maintained in a spread condition and the cards visibly shrink. He concluded by plucking a petal from a white rose, swirling it in a brandy glass and the petal expanded into an egg. Amazingly, he immediately tapped this egg on the side of the glass to show its solidity, then broke it into the glass to prove it was, indeed, a real egg. Johns touches added to this classic trick were outstanding. What a delight to get to see his performance in my home town.
Jamy Ian Swiss took the stage, and he named a card a spectator had just glanced from a fan spread before her eyes. He was able to determine the number of cards in a cut-off packet by weighing them in his hands, and a freely named card was spelled to, one card at a time. A spectator cut the deck behind his back and placed two cards, unseen, into his pockets. Jamy named the cards, but the spectator was unable to guess which card was in which pocket. The spectator cut off a small packet and, apparently using tells, Jamy was able to name each card in the spectators hand, including the one he had originally cut to. Jamy concluded by plucking a signed card, lost in the deck, from the shower of cards when the deck was sprung into the air.
At intermission, Monday Night Magic continues with close up. Jamy Swiss entertained in the featured Close-Up Gallery, and I stayed in the theater to watch two young magicians, Dennis Kyriakos and Per Eklund. Dennis performed a bill switch and several effects with cards, Swedens Per Eklund featured Vernons Do As I Do in which the spectators are given four cards and, although they follow the magicians instructions, somehow their packets refuse to behave in the same way as the magicians. Per had an interesting climax to the trick, in which a chosen spectator becomes the only person whose cards will behave.
Englands gift to the U.S. in return for Mad Cow Disease, the extraordinary Simon Lovell, closed the show. Simon was absolutely hot, ad libbing up a storm and he killed the audience. He began with his version of Cards Across in which three cards pass invisibly from one spectator (a female, playing a macho guy) to another ( a male, playing a ballerina). He followed with Pen Through Tongue which led to his trademark Sleight of Tongue, in which a selection is found while the deck is in Simons mouth. Then he performed two gags, his Torn and Unrestored Divorce Decree and The Floating Orb of Zanzibar. Simons closer is his incredible and hilarious Strait Jacket Escape with Humor and Pathos which brought down the house. This was the best Ive ever seen Simon, and that is very good indeed.
Five years of Monday Night Magic! What a gift to the magic community and New York City this enterprise has been. In coming weeks the show will feature such talent as Rocco, Dick Newton portraying Charles Dickens, the bent Mike Bent and a rare appearance by the great Bob Sheets. The McGinn/Cazale Theatre is located at 2162 Broadway (at W. 76th Street), above the Promenade Theatre. You can get more information at www.MondayNightMagic.com or by calling the 24 Hour Hotline, (212) 615-6432.