Magician and Comedian Mac King puts on a fantastic show at Harrah’s Casino every afternoon. We hadn’t had the opportunity to see him in his theater in many years. His environs have changed dramatically. He now performs in a beautiful showroom with plenty of seats, drink service, a wonderful stage and adoring fans. A far cry from his considerably smaller stage and audience area back when we saw him last. It is nice to see talent rewarded – especially in a town that eats its stars to clear space for the next act hoping to hold a room against the considerable economic forces that must drive the rapacious need to purge and procure talent.
Mr. King was on his A-game when we saw him from our perfectly adequate general admission seats. It doesn’t seem there could be a bad seat in the house. The sightlines all looked great and sound and light work was perfect. He moves effortlessly with what the crowd gives him. Sure, at this point in his career, he has likely seen just about every audience response and has pat responses for the interaction – but it didn’t seem to be rehashed from prior shows but spontaneous and genuine.
For example, he invited a woman to participate in a card effect and asked her to take a card from the deck and sign it so it could be identified later. She did exactly as instructed but wrote her name on the back of the card not the face. Whether he has confronted this type of audience confusion before, he worked the comic opportunity to its fullest extent. She ultimately selected a card and signed it on its face. He performed his miracle and she returned to her seat. She wasn’t embarrassed or shamed – he allowed her to be part of the fun. He even pointed out that the situation was likely his fault as he did not tell her to sign the face of the card. He then did two or three call backs to the situation throughout the remainder of his act.
We were with our family – and it is a perfect family show with nothing to embarrass fans of any age – and they were impressed by the magic performed as much as we were. Magicians watching other magicians can be a cynical lot. We have seen or maybe even performed most of the tricks before. We watch for the twist or the performance decisions magicians make whilst performing standards.
Yet, with Mr. King we were impressed by his originality and the degree of difficulty of the tricks performed. He could have made his job much easier with readily available gimmicks or short-cuts but for some reason – some very good reason for which we are indebted to him – he chose to do rather difficult sleights in do-or-die moments. We have great pride in our Classic Force, but if it was absolutely essential to hit it perfectly with an audience volunteer, we would choose some alternative. Even a two-way deck would be too risky for us in such a situation.
Mr. King performed without a net and the audience would never realize how difficult he was making it for himself. From the opening Cut and Restored Rope through the very last effect, he showed his mastery of the knuckle-busting sleights that we would not dare to perform even for loved ones who would forgive our failures. Likely, that is why he is the oft-voted best afternoon show of Las Vegas and receives such thunderous applause twice an afternoon in his wonderfully upgraded digs.
If you happen to be in Las Vegas and want to see one magic show, do not foolishly choose to miss Mac King’s afternoon performance in favor of the glitzy here-today-gone-tomorrow acts. Mr. King’s dedication to magic and entertaining audiences has been rewarded by longevity and repeat fans of families of many generations. As we said, it is nice to see talent rewarded and it is just nice to see real talent exhibited.
Inside Magic Review: Five out Five – Our Highest Recommendation.