Magic is meant to entertain and amuse. If you want magic that does that and, in addition, will dazzle you, you probably want to see magic performed in Las Vegas. Here you have the big cats, the spectacular effects and today's big names. Chief among these is David Copperfield.
Now, I am not one of those people who must know how a trick, an illusion, is done. If I can figure it out, I feel cheated. But I know people who spend the entire show wondering, "How'd he do that?" Not I. Astonish me with your skill and I am a happy camper.
Copperfield has this power to astonish and intrigue his audience. In fact, when we saw him, the audience gasped aloud several times before they applauded. (This must be the response of choice for magicians, I imagine.)
According to Copperfield's website — which outlines the illusions in his show on the tour page — magic is the art of "controlling events using supernatural power: Illusion is "the act of creating the impossible…to defy Mother Nature…to disappear…to reappear…" and so on. He bills himself as an illusionist — an incredibly skilled one, at that — who uses figurative smoke and mirrors to capture his audience and leave them wondering.
David Copperfield's show lives up to its billing as "An Intimate Evening of Grand Illusion." There is Copperfield, his tech staff, his assorted apparatuses, and the audience. No lions or tigers or rabbits. (There is, however, one duck.)
He engages his audience immediately. For, in addition to his illusions, he walks into the audience, talks with them and proves to be very quick to respond with a great deal of wit when something is said by an audience member — something not scripted. He's fun to watch.
As for "intimate," the Hollywood Theatre is a relatively small venue with 740 seats. With the right performer onstage the audience feels a close connection because they're so close to the action. Having his audience so close has to be an advantage to Copperfield, as there's little room to hid any trickery.
There's lots of opportunity for audience participation here, with people frequently (and not too reluctantly) being brought onstage to take part in the illusions. As noted above, he does talk with the audience, but it's a slick, casino-length 90-minute show and Copperfield moves it right along.
Is there room for improvement? Yes, and that's mostly found in the constancy of the shows. People who love to see him complain that the show isn't changed frequently enough. But, in his defense, it's a time-consuming, expensive proposition to change a show like this and, compared to some other venues, this is a tiny theater. There's only so much space available.
My only quibble with the show is the amount of time taken up with self-congratulatory promotional videos in which we learn about all his awards and his status as pop culture figure. Not necessary, although the information about his cause, Project Magic, is both highly laudable and interesting.
But I used the word "quibble" purposely. It's a small criticism.
Copperfield's act is 90 minutes during which you must suspend your disbelief. If you refuse to, you probably wont have a good time. If you do, it's time very well spent.
David Copperfield is at the MGM Grand through April 19 and again May 23-27 and
June 14 – July 3
Shows at 7:30 pm and 10:00 pm nightly with Saturday matinees at 4:30 pm
No one under 5 permitted
Tickets are $97 for all seats including tax and handling fee.
For ticket information visit www.mgmgrand.com/entertainment