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Elephant Room

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

The magicians in Elephant Room tell us plenty: All three are adroit at conjuring weird-kitsch characters for themselves—in addition to bottles, eggs and other strange objects. The frizzy-haired New Jersey native Louie Magic looks like a slacker Santana and hawks an instructional video about using tricks to pick up chicks; the showman-mentalist Dennis Diamond, who suggests the love child of Doug Henning and Robert Goulet, lets us eavesdrop on his sweet nothings with the Dalai Lama; and the unfortunately named (and still less fortunately mulleted) Daryl Hannah is candid about his divorce and his struggles with alcohol. For the first ten minutes of the show, it may seem like this trio is all talk and fog machinery. But when Louie sweeps Dennis off his feet—he’s literally holding a broom—and Dennis stays hovering in the air, seemingly levitating in the middle of the room, it’s clear that there is more to these fellows than dazzles the eye.

The three prestidigitators bear an uncanny resemblance to Elephant Room’s savvy creators: Trey Lyford and Geoff Sobelle, the duo behind the performance group rainpan 43 (all wear bowlers); and Steve Cuiffo, a performer with a special gift for channeling Lenny Bruce. Directed by Big Dance Theater’s Paul Lazar, the show mixes absurdist atmospherics with goofy comedy and impressive feats of legerdemain that sneak into the show at unpredictable intervals. The presentation is hardly seamless, and here and there a trick is compromised by a bulging pocket or ungainly pose, but the awkward pseudo-amateurishness is part of the game: It makes the magic pop all the more. The show is sleight, offhand and zanily enchanting.—Adam Feldman


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