Everyone loves to be fooled just a little bit – otherwise, magicians would have a hard time finding audiences. For a chance to test how keen your powers of observation are – and to have a great time besides – you can’t miss with A VERY MERRY MAGICMANIA. The holiday season has always held a special kind of magic, and this is a show that blends two very compelling themes – magic and a special holiday – into an entertaining extravaganza.
For your holiday pleasure, the Santa Monica Playhouse is presenting a potpourri of magic, with some vaudeville and Cirque de Soleil thrown in. The holiday production features some of the world’s greatest award-winning magicians and variety acts. In fact, A VERY MERRY MAGICMANIA includes 30 different magic and variety acts over the course of nine shows and two weekends – and every show is different. This is a family friendly program which will appeal to everyone from 8 to 80 – and up.
Hosted by Albie Selznick, this host of magicians have racked up so many awards that they can’t be counted. On the night reviewed, the audience was greeted outside the theater by magic and sleight of hand up-close-and-personal. The kids were wowed – but so were their parents and the others in the audience. This is the way to wile away time before the show begins! Close magic demonstrated metal rings, cards, coins, and the famous ball under which cup – all getting the audience primed for the performances to come.
Of course, each evening will feature different performers doing a variety of different things. On the reviewed night, there were several striking acts. Steve Owens, the man with the dancing fingers, proved his dexterity by “shadow magic” – the creation of scenarios about animals and people (and even some natural wonders) by simply altering hands and fingers behind a backlit screen. You’ll never see John F. Kennedy quite like this again! The Bistrevsky Brothers were jugglers extraordinaire, while other acts featured ventriloquism, dancing hats and canes, and comedy. In fact, the melding of magic with skills these performers had outside of magic alone lent an excitement to the evening. And kept the audience guessing what would come next.
Sad to say, the current review only covered the tip of the iceberg – but one which will never be repeated, since each evening has a different show. Apparently, the concept behind the show grew from something called “Magic Monday,” which has been celebrated at the Santa Monica Playhouse for a few years. For the true magic mavens – who also enjoy a variety of talents – it looks as if Mondays up the road will be busy.
A VERY MERRY MAGICMANIA runs through December 23, 2017, with performances at 8 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays, at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Saturdays, and at 3 p.m. on Sunday (12/17 only). The Santa Monica Playhouse is located at 1211 Fourth Street, Santa Monica, CA 90405. Tickets are $40. For information and reservations, call 818-558-7000 or go online.