Susan Granger’s review of “Believe in Magic: Jason Bishop” (New Victory Theater)
Looking for enchantment? Jason Bishop delivers an astonishing introduction to magic – and while his show perfect for children – with booster seats distributed by ushers – adults will also be enthralled.
Back by popular demand after a sold-out run last year, this internationally touring magician immediately develops a firm connection with his audience, engaging eager young volunteers, handling them with gentle professionality.
Bishop’s illusions include swords and levitations, most involving his graceful assistant, Kim Hess. At the beginning of the show, Kim gamely climbs into one of Bishop’s many ‘boxes’ and, seemingly, evades piercing by sabers. Later, she twirls glowing batons and, eventually, levitates, along with Bishop.
During a brief interlude of cards and coin tricks (viewed on a large screen via Go-Pro video), Bishop confides that he was raised by foster families in rural Pennsylvania. He taught himself magic from books in the public library, quickly becoming the youngest person ever to win the Magician’s Alliance of Eastern States Stage Award.
After the intermission, Bishop briefly interacts with the audience in the mezzanine and introduces his adorable Yorkshire terrier, named Gizmo, wearing a red holiday sweater. Amazingly, Gizmo appears and disappears as Bishop teleports him from place to place.
There’s an intriguing, interactive game, devised with a program insert showing holiday icons, including Santa, a Dreidel, a Menorah, a gingerbread man, and a Kinara.
Shrieks of delight continue as a mass of shredded wet paper causes snow to fall on the audience, and Bishop – with the help of a hefty security guard – manages to make a million dollars disappear into thin air– poof! –before those $100 ‘bills’ (augmented by photos of Gizmo) descend from the ceiling.
Kudos to illusion designer Jim Steinmeyer, technical director Ellen Schmoyer, and lighting designers Herrick Goldman and Susan Nicholson.
For wondrous, family-friendly entertainment during this holiday season, catch Jason Bishop at the New Victory Theater on 42nd Street – through December 30th. For tickets, call 646-223-3010 or visit http://www.newvictory.org.