So "Masters of Illusion" finally returns with new episodes. However, the big news is that after rescheduling, it's the lead into an hour of "The Masked Magician."
Until now, I haven't commented on the latest masked magician because I haven't watched it. And in all of my shows and strolling gigs over the past few months, only a handful of spectators mentioned it. After a brief look, it appears that the show is similar to the prior version in format and spirit.
The masked magician will do as he pleases. But from what I'm seeing, there is a big magic secret that he'll never be able to "expose." For the true secret of magic is making it entertaining and fun, elements that the show seriously lacks.
So if you're worried about secrets, don't be. These contrived "exposures" won't replace or detract from skillful and entertaining magic performances.
Masters of Illusion
"Masters of Illusion" featured a good mix of acts that combined illusions, stand-up and close-up. It was a pleasant surprise to see Johnny Ace Palmer performing his signature cups and balls. Palmer is always fun to watch, but I think his act plays stronger in a more intimate setting. I missed Palmer's witty byplay with nearby spectators.
David Williamson swallowed needles, a routine that he performed back in the nineties on television. However, this performance wasn't as entertaining. The routine has changed and I miss that hysterical line about the wine. Also, the banal Carmina Burana-esque rip-off music in the background was purely annoying. The show's music usually doesnít bother me much, but this time it did.
Jeff McBride performed his fantastic water bowl effect, another highlight from his outstanding stage show and one of my favorite routines to watch. Farrell Dillon performed his excellent ball manipulation. Street segments with Krystyn Lambert and Nathan Gibson were good, as was Tony Clark and his bottle penetration effect, Joel Ward with a shadow production and Kyle Eschen with wands and his now trademarked deadpan.
On the illusion side, Nathan Burton performed his signature "Microwave of Death," a rude but funny highlight from his Vegas show (some editing toned-down the site gags). I enjoyed seeing Mark Cannon close the show with an open escape from a spiked cabinet. He milked this one for all itís worth with dramatic results.