We do not always agree with Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist / critic Mike Weatherford but we do respect his knowledge of magic and magicians.
We assume he enjoys our craft and has acquired his eye for good magic and talented magicians from years of seeing less than stellar performers in and around Las Vegas.
We were particularly interested to read his review of Dirk Arthur’s new show at O’Sheas on the Strip.
Mr. Arthur had a five year deal at the Tropicana at the other end of Las Vegas Boulevard. Mr. Weatherford attributes his move to the significantly smaller venue to “uncertainties” at the sad hotel and casino that is today’s Tropicana.
Mr. Weatherford describes the new venue as befitting a stand-up comic and certainly not a full illusion show.
But against the odds, Mr. Arthur succeeds in his smaller venue; thanks in part to the intimacy it provides and a Bengal tiger.
“When the Bengal tiger rears up on its hind legs, taller than the magician, your heart thumps and you hope Arthur could keep his grip on that cable leash if the tiger decided to come check us out.”
The theater, the proximity of the audience to the illusions and the tiger combine to give “a new point of view to an act that had become all too familiar. Everyone has basically a front-row seat, and the illusions hold up to scrutiny. Think it’s done with mirrors? Go ahead and try to spot them.
Mr. Weatherford notes there is a workmanlike quality to the performance, or as he puts it, “a lack of grandeur.” The illusions are presented without glitz, glamour, choreography or engaging patter but it still works.
We are happy to read Mr. Weatherford’s reassessment of Mr. Arthur. Many of the Las Vegas print and media critics panned his past shows. “The biggest knock on him is that he can’t tell a joke and doesn’t bring much personality of his own to the table; that he lets the tigers and contraptions do the talking.”
As we said at the outset, we respect Mr. Weatherford’s understanding of what makes for good magic and we were delighted to read his closing comment on the show.
“You can make eye contact and see the boyish grin that reminds you all magicians are lads who never grew up. Like the tigers, he’s a little more impressive up close.”
Congratulations to Mr. Arthur and may he have a long and successful run.
You can read the full review here.