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Wayne Kawamoto

Levantino’s Check List for Magic Show Reviewers

By November 18, 2011

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Have Las Vegas reviewers seen too many magic shows to be objective when writing their reviews?

After many readers discussed the bias that entertainment reviewers bring to Las Vegas magic shows (Readers Respond to "Is the World Against Steve Wyrick?"), reader Levantino was kind enough to come up with a "check list" for professional reviewers.

"...it is the showmanship not the 'tricks' that sell the show," says Levantino in his response. "Reviewers can make or break an act and because they are exposed to many 'same-old same-old' acts they often lose sight of what their role is - that of reviewing in an OBJECTIVE manner.."

Here's Levantino's "check list" so reviewers may evaluate and score all shows in a qualitative unbiased manner - with one point awarded for a 'yes' and zero points awarded for a 'no':

1. Is the act original?
2. Is the show engaging?
3. Is the audience enjoying what they are experiencing?
4. Is the presenter always 'politically correct' (i.e. no insults or crudeness)?
5. Does the show continually hold the audience attention (i.e. no 'flat' spots)?
6. Is there lots of audience participation?
7. Is the performance highly polished?
8. Does the audience gasp at the 'wow moments'?
9. Does the audience regularly burst into 'unprompted' spontaneous applause?
10.Does the audience talk positively about the show as they leave the venue?
11.Does the show give 'value for money'?

"If all of the above is achieved then reviewers should SAY SO!" says Levantino.

Levantino, thank you for your insightful and thought-provoking response.

More Reading:
"Ariann Black: Secrets" Receives a Local Review
Is the World Against Steve Wyrick?
Readers Respond to "Is the World Against Steve Wyrick?"


November 25, 2011 at 8:52 am
(1) Levantino says:

Wayne I am humbled. Thank you.

Dissemination of knowledge always results in an increase in knowledge. This is as true of conjuring as it is of science. There is but one goal – seek truth and perfection.

I compiled my ‘check list’ to serve two purposes for the greater good: 1) provide a no-nonsense approach to aid reviewers and remove their bigotry; and 2) provide a tool that will enable artists to carry out objective self-assessment of their act without allowing ego to blind their minds.

Perfection in magic has only been achievable because of creative concepts previous generations of wonder-workers have willingly passed on for the good of our fraternity.

With over 5,000 years of knowledge, seeking originality in magic is both elusive and ephemeral. I well remember the first time I saw water poured from a bottle into a glass and it turned into ice – mid pour – it blew me away. When I applied some thought to crack the thermodynamics involved and achieved it myself using orange juice to give the kids instant ice lollies – it freaked me out.

Very few performers bring true originality. The best we can achieve is to pay homage to the minds of genius’s such as David Devant and Rene Lavand and put OUR INOVATION into THEIR legacy until the day we might be privileged to bring our own donation.

Here are some examples of bringing freshness and originality; beginning with three of Devants: ‘The egg trick’, ‘Metamorphosis’ (performed by Houdini), and ‘The Artist Dream’ – which in my opinion has the best vanish of a person – ever.





Artist Dream



The Master:


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