Magic and illusions meet at The Palace Theatre for a show full of lights, dancing and special effects, and a special star in stripes.
“Illusions of Magic” has opened on stage at Broadway at the Beach, at 21st Avenue North and U.S. Bypass, with performances through Sept. 28.
The host, magician Dale Scott, won’t take long to bedazzle anyone’s brain and curiosity. He’ll stand back as his assistant, Ana, looking hypnotized, displays her style of balance and strength while extended horizontally, with legs crossed, with her back on a vertical pole. The slow breaths rising up and down so softly in her abdomen mark the only motion on her body through this exercise in poise.
Later, with Ana’s help, Scott will apparently saw his way through two men – one in blue, the other orange – then briefly mismatch their two halves each – with a whirl of the wheels under their respective tables.
Ana also shows her dexterity at transforming inside a box, seemingly growing and turning into a 1-year-old, 300-pound, white Bengal tiger. The big cat commanded solo stardom during intermission, as people lined up waiting to pose for photos beside the enclosure, in which the tiger would sometimes lie with legs in the air in a playful look as some families would stand on one side, and other parties would split up, framing both sides.
Houdini and Cardini
Among the various skits on stage, a crew of colorfully clad dancers entertain periodically in this almost-two-hour show, with more than 20 routines.
To start the second half, six women, in gold tutus and top hats, stepped back in time to relive music of the 1930s, then Scott paid tribute to the pioneers of magic Harry Houdini and a man who was known simply as Cardini.
In an example of Houdini’s art of escape, after hopping in a sack, then getting locked in a box by Ana, somehow Scott disappears, and almost instantly, Ana shows up in the same sack.
Calling Cardini “the master of the sleight of hand,” Scott began one trick with an egg, finishing with eight. Strolling into the audience with a silver metal bucket, and visiting a child named Shane, Scott shook him down as coins flowed – kerplunk, kerplunk – although Shane never knew he even had a loaded coin purse.
Slowing down the pace, Scott recounted his growing up in south Florida and visiting grandparents in Cincinnati, where he could experience a little of the scene that makes up a snow globe. Within a moment, he made a snowstorm of flakes flow from his fingertips along the front of the stage.
Good deal on props
Scott, who flashes his sense of humor throughout the show, told a vacationer from Frederick, Md., prodded on stage, about his gumption to play with a guillotine.
“I got a good deal on it,” Scott declared. “It was half-off.”
With his guest kneeling and head inserted and locked in, Scott blurted, “Have you done this before?” prompting the instant reply in the negative.
“Neither have I,” Scott said, before introducing some relaxing music, the famous panicked sound of strings from the movie “Psycho,” and the start of the Eagles’ “Heartache Tonight” – “Somebody’s gonna hurt someone before the night is through. Somebody’s gonna come undone. ...”
Scott then admitted, he had tried the trick once, assuring everyone, “It’ll work this time.”