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BWW Review: Todd Robbins' SPEAKEASY MAGICK Offers Up-Close Acts of Deception


"Magic Speed Dating" is the way the wryly entertaining master of deception Todd Robbins describes the up close and personal showcase he hosts at The McKittrick Hotel, Speakeasy Magick.

Speakeasy Magick
Todd Robbins

Having moved from the building's Club Car to the cozy environs of The Lodge at Gallow Green, the intimate and immersive show is inspired by the casual gatherings practitioners of magic arts and other forms of chicanery hold where they show off their newest routines for each other.

So audience members are seated at one of seven tables, most of them long ones holding up to ten people, with an assortment of solo performers taking turns from table-to-table with short acts full of fast-talking, sleight-of-hand and, to most, inexplicable results.

As there are more performers than time slots, exactly who you see will vary, so repeat attendance is encouraged.

You may find yourself baffled by Matthew Holtzclaw's deceptive dexterity with his twist on the cups and balls routine or the way slickly mannered Mark Calabrese knows exactly what card will pop up on the table or in your mind. Prakash Puru even has audience members taking out their phones and calling friends to participate in a routine.

Speakeasy MagickUnfortunately, if this reviewer's experience is typical, the small room can get very noisy when packed with enthusiastic guests partaking in the action and, as I was seated at the end of the table, it was difficult to hear anything the performers were saying. A couple recognized the problem and each directed a part of their act directly to me, but it's strongly suggested that you request a spot either next to, or directly across from, the empty seat reserved for talent. My guest, seated next to the stars, seemed suitably dazzled and charmed by the show.

Fortunately, there are fully amplified antics on a small stage, including Holtzclaw seeming to make fire, cigarettes and glasses of beer appear and disappear. Puru pulls the same trick with live doves.

A word of caution. Don't get too excited when BINGO cards are passed out and a big cash prize is offered. I hear the game is fixed.

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From This Author Michael Dale