BWW Review: Jamie Allan's iMAGICIAN: MAGIC BEYOND BELIEF
British entertainer Jamie Allan's iMAGICIAN: MAGIC BEYOND BELIEF aims to combine old-fashioned tricks with modern technology (and, in fact, Allan does employ the Apple devices the show's name would suggest).
Allan's proposition of old meets new means that some of the magic tricks charm more than others. Over the course of the 80-minute show, Allan pays homage to many of the great magicians of the past, going so far as to give audiences mini lessons on each of them. Allan's decision to honor the past of magic, however, means that some of the tricks feel a little staid. He purports to offer a fresh take on the classic "Sawing A Lady in Half" trick, but the act feels just the same as other variations I've seen before and not particularly inspired.
Still, Allan's decision to honor the tradition of magic in iMAGICIAN works quite well in other instances. Allan has a genial stage presence and has nailed the art of endearing audiences to him in order to gain buy-in for this magic and illusions. He also makes ample use of audience participation for some of his tricks. On the day I attended, one young participant in fact seemed more baffled by Allan's jokes and interludes to the audience than by the tricks themselves.
iMAGICIAN is at its most charming when Allan delivers sleight-of-hand card tricks. Sleight-of-hand is perhaps one of the most back-to-basic forms of magic, but that's also what makes it the most enchanting. Allan's card tricks have such a purity to them; it's hard to make out any sense of artificie in them, but that's also what makes them so incredible to watch. Allan's sleight-of-hand bits also allow him to deliver some of his best interplay with the audience.
Despite the incorporation of modern technology, Allan's iMAGICIAN is purely old-school, family-friendly magic. This makes iMAGICIAN an accessible show for all ages, making it suitable entertainment for families during the holidays.
iMAGICIAN plays a limited engagement through December 30 at the Harris Theater, 205 East Randolph. Tickets are $49.99-$159.99. HarrisTheaterChicago.org
Photo courtesy of Margie Korshak, Inc.