Photo by Scott Suchman
This past weekend I saw magic. No I’m not talking about a win from the hapless Wizards or miracles of that sort- I’m talking about a real magic show with magicians, tricks, and illusions. However this show did not have the showmanship of Houdini, the polish of Copperfield, or the rock and roll of Criss Angel. No the trio of Dennis Diamond, Daryl Hannah, and Louis Magic that star in Arena Stage’s Elephant Room look like a cheesy act that’s more Reno than Vegas.
Not only is there magic, but mustaches and mullets as well.
The look and feel of Elephant Room ties into a line said during the show: “We have nothing new to show you.”
With magic’s biggest secrets since revealed, showmanship is now as important as the illusions themselves. The Diamond/Hannah/Magic wolfpack provides a refreshing new take on the magic show. It is essentially the anti-David Blaine. These men aren’t sporting hard bodies or designer jeans, they look more like extras off the set of Napoleon Dynamite than someone that would lock himself in a ball full of water.
And that’s what makes the show so much fun to watch.
The banter is campy, the slapstick is goofy (think The Lonely Island doing The Creep), the tone is almost satiric. It all comes together to create a highly entertaining performance.
As for the illusions, they are of the small slight of hand variety. Some moments are truly impressive, like the good ol’ sawing a women in half trick or reading the minds of audience members, and some need further refinement. I spotted a metal rod in a levitation bit early in the show. The magicians admitted after the press performance that some of the tricks still need some polishing.
Regardless Elephant Room is a good bet for a fun night out. At an hour and 15 minutes it’s shorter than watching Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and is the perfect start to any night out on the town.
This merry band of magicians have come a long way since first meeting at a magic conference in Buffalo. With an act like theirs, it looks as if they should have plenty of travels ahead.
Elephant Room performs at Arena Stage’s Kogod Cradle through February 26th. Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater is located at 1101 6th Street SW, Washington, DC 20024. Closest Metro stop: Waterfront (Green line). For more information call 202-488-3300.