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Magic

Hocus focus: ‘The Centerfolds of Magic’ was … kinda great

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The Centerfolds of Magic proved the old adage: The show must go on.
Photo: Bill Hughes

What’s more entertaining than a top-notch magic show? A train-wreck magic show. For me, at least. So you can imagine my elation when I found out about The Centerfolds of Magic, a production in which one Penthouse Pet and four topless dancers are made to perform large-scale illusions.

I attended the first non-media performance—the first one open to the public. The Plaza’s theater seats a couple hundred, but only 30 people showed up, many wearing sombreros and frozen drinks around their necks. Cinco de Mayo.

The Details

The Centerfolds of Magic
Friday-Wednesday, 11 p.m., $49-$69.
The Plaza, 386-2507.

Twenty minutes before curtain, my friend Jungle Josh gave me the gossip: “One of the three producers—John Lewis, the guy who owned all the illusions—pulled out a couple hours ago.” Josh and two other magicians had been called in to teach the girls new tricks. Three hours before showtime.

“We spent the first hour arguing about whether or not the girls could learn new routines in such a short amount of time. Then we had two hours left.”

Here’s the amazing thing: The show wasn’t a train wreck; the show was a triumph.

Penthouse Pet/Emcee Taya Parker was hilarious, spontaneous and brave as hell. Her Magic Coloring Book and Arm Chopper were error-free. The dancers’ Sword Basket was, well, no worse than any other Sword Basket routine. Lip-syncing prop comic Joe Trammel revealed as much flesh as the women and won the audience over halfway through his first set. And the show concluded with an original illusion: teleporting an audience member’s wallet to a suspended lockbox.

So what if there were a half-dozen tech mishaps? So what if the audience could see the Dancing Cane’s secret hookup? The Centerfolds of Magic isn’t about perfection; it’s about fun.

I hear they’re trying to acquire duplicates of their old props—the big boxy ones. Huge mistake. Let’s keep this show the way it is: loose, light and fun.

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