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Photograph: Joan Marcus

Theater review: Magician Helder Guimarães returns to the stage in Verso

Adam Feldman
Written by
Adam Feldman

In 2013’s Nothing to Hide, Helder Guimarães and fellow magician Derek DelGlaudio delighted audiences with a taut hour of hocus-pocus, wrapped in just enough rhetorical fog to distract the crowd when necessary. After reviewing that show favorably, I heard from some people who felt that it was too short; Guimarães’s solo show, Verso, has the opposite problem. Verging on two hours long, including an intermission, it includes what seems like a lot of padding, at a cost to its sense of enchantment.

Born in Portugal, Guimarães is regarded as one of the world’s best close-up magicians, but routines that would be very impressive at a table in a nightclub are less of a wow in a 200-seat theater. There are only so many times you can basically ask, “Was this your card?” before the audience catches on. (Spoiler: It was your card.) And many of the bits are familiar, whether from Nothing to Hide or similar shows by other mentalists and magicians. Although Verso is performed and designed with skill, it evokes more admiration than excitement. Guimarães is great with his fingers, but there aren’t enough new tricks up his sleeve.

New World Stages (Off Broadway). By Helder Guimarães. Directed by Rodrigo Santos. With Guimarães. Running time: 1hr 50mins. One intermission. Click here for full ticket and venue information.

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