By KEN NEUHAUSER
Louisville Times Critic
There was magic in the air last night as a professional illusionist and his eight assistants presented two hours of dancing, magic, juggling singing Illusions and yes, more dancing at the Macauley Theatre.
Except for some hokey choreography that seemed to last forever, “David Seebach’s Wonders of Magic” was an enjoyable see-it-to-believe-it extravaganza. The show, produced with an entertaining blend of mystery, comedy and brightly colored costumes featured many of the illusions popularized on television by magicians Doug Henning and David Copperfield.
Like all prestidigitators, however, Seebach improvised on a variety of standard routines by injecting them with his own twists and surprises. Most turned out to be major miracles, others only minor ones. But all in all, the audience was impressed and amazed with his feats, especially the children who frequently asked, “How did he do that Mommy?”
For a while, it seemed that the highlight of the evening would be two extraordinary jugglers, Peter Davison and Kezia Tenenbaum, who managed to keep balls and clubs afloat with the greatest of ease. But after the intermission, Seebach came to life and proved he deserved the star billing.
The show got off to a shaky start with six bouncy dancers, who brought back memories of Ted Mack’s amateur hour. When Seebach joined them, he did a few uninspiring tricks before getting a bit flashy.
Somehow or other, he guided one of the dancers through an apparently solid mirror. It was a good illusion, but not strong enough to grab an audience’s attention. He needed something splashier and more visual.
Following an impressive production number whereby Seebach created a magnificent fountain of silks that was transformed into a beautiful woman clad in multi-colored leotards, he proceeded to magically transpose a rabbit (Harvey) from one box to another, rearrange the torsos of two ladies; and cut- and-restore a piece of rope with the aid of an audience volunteer.
In a clever, but drawn out, guillotine illusion, that same volunteer nearly parted with his noggin. Fortunately, Seebach knew what he was doing and the “victim” didn’t suffer from a splitting headache.
Livelier and smoother, the second act enabled the young magician from Milwaukee to better demonstrate his skills, showmanship and style. From sawing a woman in half to the famous “Metamorphosis,” the final 45 minutes were pure magic.
With the usual flurry of patter and puns, Seebach received the audience’s “undivided attention” when an assistant’s legs were separated from the rest of her body.
Lighting problems spoiled the levitation of a woman. The stage was so dark that one really couldn’t see what was happening. The “Metamorphosis” which involved an assistant shackled in handcuffs, wrapped in a cloth bag and stuffed inside of a trunk, was a superb adaptation of Houdini’s grand illusion.
I won’t reveal the big finish, but it’s worth waiting for.
With a few revisions in the dance numbers (make them shorter and tone down the cuteness) and a more awesome opener, “David Seebach’s Wonders of Magic” should totally boggle your mind.
Shows will be repeated nightly at 8 through Saturday, at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday.