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Inner circle
West Coast
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Profile of SpellbinderEntertainment
There’s an embarrassment of magical riches in Chicago again. Maybe the “Golden Age of Magic” is coming full circle. David Parr (author of one of my fav books “Brain Food”) and his partner P. T. Murphy are creating both mystery and mayhem, all with a nod to Chicago’s enchanted past. It’s been a while since I’ve has such a fulfilling magical experience.

“The Magic Cabaret” is a perfect evening right on hip and bustling Lincoln Avenue, with great pubs and food, and wonderful theatres all a stone’s throw from their show. Their theatre is intimate, attractive, and perfect for what they offer, and hopefully will continue to offer for a long while (but only if you guys attend and send even more people to enjoy their marvels!)

The two magicians are perfect foils for one another, P. T. is bold and brassy, David has a gentleman’s reserve, they banter, they one-up, and the finally collaborate performing thoughtful and exciting magic individually and in tandem. The opener sets the tone exhibiting their personalities and hinting at the fun to come. The closer, where the audience is transported back in time to the local World’s Fair (where the Ferris wheel was invented) is their closer because nothing could logically follow it for theatricality and thrills.

I’ve always admired David’s writing and work, but meeting and seeing P. T. was like a breath of fresh magical air (cold breath being that Chicago was freezing that week.) The show is well plotted, is strengthened by each magician knowing who he is on stage and as a professional entertainer, and there are plenty of emotional hills and valleys to ride up an down. The Zombie piece is a little chunk of pure gold, so if you see the show resist the temptation to steal it, I’ll come after you if you even think about it!

It is such a pleasure (not to say relief) to sit back and let truly entertaining and well done magic wash over you –and to have those sensations of enchantment twice in one week was sheer heaven.

Stop number two was my second helping of Neil Tobin’s Supernatural Chicago. As with Magic Cabaret the theme of the evening exploits the treasure trove of Chicago’s unique and odd history.

This time the evening is filled with very smooth and entertaining ghost stories, haunted phenomena, and persuasive mentalism. Neil’s just celebrated his seventh (yes, seven years) anniversary performing Supernatural Chicago, I wish him at least thirteen more years as a good omen. Locals bring their tourist friends back to share the lore and re-experience the jovial mood and considerable chills.

Some of the supernatural stories are familiar to the locals, some more obscure, they all leave the audience with equal parts of smiles and tingles. Neil does the very best performance I’ve seen of a chilly psychic touch, as well as creatively blending this highly theatrical moment with a startling prediction. His work is well planned, smoothly executed, and his suave and wry demeanor fits his material perfectly.

Supernatural is a bargain as well, hosted in a huge historic brownstone mansion, now a hotspot called Excalibur, the show comes with two complimentary drinks at the bar before curtain, and a pass to party all night in the club after the spooks have departed for the evening.

There is something that feels very right, as Neil balances the craft of magic with both psychic and ghostly phenomenon. It’s hard to reach that balance in magic, and he’s become a master at walking that tightrope while entertaining the heck out of his patrons.

If you’re in Chicago, or if you’re lucky enough to live in the area, see both shows. The contrast in styles and the commonality in quality set these apart from the pack, and the two evenings juxtapose in a fascinating way. It’s good to see my home town, always a theatre town, can boast twin bookends of wonderful and very magical Magic.

My last day I was privileged to give a Workshop/Lecture at the also legendary Magic, Inc. and was thrilled to meet a wonderful gang of talented young magicians, the new generation who’ll hopefully have their own shows going in a few years time when my old pals retire. Magic, Inc. has the same welcoming ambiance and holds the same magical thrill as it did for me when I was twelve years old. The Magic Cabaret, Supernatural Chicago, and Magic, Inc. –sometimes you can go home again!

Walt Anthony
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Profile of msmaster
Wow, sounds like a lot is happening is Chicago. Wish I could make it there sooner rather than later.
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Inner circle
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Profile of Necromancer
Thanks again for the kind words!

Creator of The Xpert (20 PAGES of reviews!) and the Hands-Off Multiple ESP System ("Quality and design far exceed any ESP cards on the market"-Genii), and contributor to the ebook GOLD: When It HAS To Be Performance GOLD -- all at Penguin.
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Profile of cairo
My deepest respect goes to that small handful of long running shows throughout the world. It is an elite club of magicians and a tribute to the skill and experience of those performers who can make it happen.
Joshua Lozoff
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Inner circle
Chapel Hill, NC
1332 Posts

Profile of Joshua Lozoff
I'll be in Chicago this month on the 20th and 21st. Anything happening either of those days/nights?

Joshua Lozoff
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