Charlatan: In Brief
Magician and mentalist Vinny DePonto weaves a tangled web of deception in an evening cowritten with playwright Josh Koenigsberg and staged by Ars Nova director-in-residence Andrew Neisler.
Charlatan: Theater review by Adam Feldman
The dapper young magician Vinny DePonto describes himself as “a modern-day manipulator,” and the artistry of his flimflam is up to date. But technology only goes so far: On the night I saw his diverting Ars Nova solo show, an A/V malfunction threatened to derail the night at the start. Happily, DePonto has old-school skills to get him through; after a brief delay, Charlatan was back on course, with a fine workaround in place of its planned opening gambit.
Slight of build and unprepossessing in mien, the star keeps up his confidence—and his game—through a well-shaped collection of tricks and surprises, many of which involve jocular interaction with the audience. While some of the routines may be familiar to those who have seen other mentalist acts, DePonto performs them with sufficient charm (and variations) to keep them fresh. And the show, directed by Andrew Neisler, is cleverly structured to end with a memorable bang. It’s unlikely that DePonto can actually read minds, but in Charlatan he very smoothly blows them.—Theater review by Adam Feldman
THE BOTTOM LINE DePonto makes it as he fakes it.
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