Max Maven has probably performed the routine presented last night at the Peller Theatre hundreds, if not thousands, of times. Yet, to watch his interaction with the capacity crowd, he gave the impression he was sharing with them new experiences and unexpected — but amazing — results.
Let’s not kid ourselves, Max Maven is an incredible presence on stage. From his opening to finale, he is firmly in control of all things at all times. He has the look, the voice and the words to cause us to trust him even though our instincts tell us otherwise. He is precisely the type of person we should avoid.
His work with audience volunteers is flawless. He allows them space to identify with their seated brethren and, while never rude, keeps them in line with a well-timed aside or one of his penetrating stares.
But being an imposing and impressive figure is not enough. Can Mr. Maven, author, inventor, historian and larger-than-life figure deliver on the implicit promise of his stage persona?
In a word, yes. In two words, yes siree!
His effects are baffling and so well-presented that one is never sure if we are watching his ability to work with the unexpected turn of events or unanticipated selection by an audience member. One is left to assume that he has either anticipated every contingency or he possesses real magical powers. Because we are famously lazy, we presume no one would ever work as many hours in front of real people to gain the experience necessary to handle every contingency and so we conclude he has special skills that defy explanation.
Mr. Maven will be performing at the Magic Castle’s Peller Theatre tonight (Friday) and tomorrow. If you have a chance to see him perform, take it. We have no doubt he has already anticipated your attendance and will have something special to show you.
Inside Magic Rating: Five Out of Five