BWW Reviews: Max Major's THINK AGAIN a Magical Tour-de-Force
You've seen him on Oxygen, you've seen him on stage, you've even seen him on network TV; he's been the DC City Paper's reigning "Best Performance Artist" for four years running.
And of course they'd have to send in the one geek who's never heard of him, to review his new show.
Right. (It works, though.)
Walking into a Max Major show when you know nothing about him is like stumbling into the city's hottest party hours after it started-but feeling like the host was waiting just for you. Although ostensibly an evening of magic and mind-reading, the real fun of a Max Major event is the way he draws everyone in and makes them feel like they're a part of the show. And as he tells audiences with his new show, Think Again, it's not about magic, it's about potential-the audience's as well as his own.
Having flattered the audience into thinking that we're just as talented as he is, Max proceeds to show a few truly deft mind-reading tricks. Through a series of routines drawn from everyday life, he gives us an evening with a bit of wonder, a bit of double-entendre, punctuated by games of catch with his mascot Roswell, the stuffed sloth.
Roswell is a huge selling point, not only because he's cute but because Max has the audience toss him around to help randomly select his 'assistants.' With most acts the audience's finely-tuned BS meter goes off when it looks like the magician is working with plants; here, Max Major's tricks involve a more subtle form of pre-selection, which can leave you puzzling for hours afterwards.
Max's main talent is mind-reading (although he prefers the term "Mentalist"), and he manages to anticipate answers to any number of seemingly random questions like "what color are you thinking of" or "what do you do?". He has a remarkable head for numbers, too, as evidenced by one truly amazing routine where he appears to have completely missed what members of the audience were thinking, only to show that even when he's wrong he's right, down to the last decimal.
But perhaps the most remarkable routine, among many here, is a sequence when randomly selected audience members are invited to draw the first image that comes into their heads, completely out of each other's field of vision. The fun here is that Max does nothing but stand back and let these two people, picked at random, demonstrate their own psychic powers.
This being a show dedicated to illusion, albeit of a sophisticated variety, it is just as much fun to try to figure out how Max develops his material. As a theatre critic I can attest that he is a shrewd student of stagecraft, and his time as a Business major at the University of Maryland was probably helpful in establishing the psychological underpinnings of his act. But rest assured, Max Major is back with a new show that is every bit as entertaining and mysterious as a magic act should be.
Running Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes, with one intermission.
Think Again ran March 13-14 at the Atlas Performing Arts center, 1333 H Street NE, Washington, D.C. For tickets, call the Atlas box office at 202-399-7993 or online at http://www.atlasarts.org/ .