A Night of Magic at Casa Mañana
The stage is empty, save for a locked wooden trunk with a cup of markers placed on the trunk. Audience members are invited up on the stage to scrutinize the trunk and sign it before the show starts. Remember this.
On Friday, March 22, I got to see Jason Bishop, illusionist and magician, on stage at Casa Mañana through April 7. The show appeals to young and old, and my husband and I were some of the few people there without children or grandchildren. Before the show starts and during intermission, children are welcome to create a magic bunny mask, and there were lots of little bunnies hopping around before the doors opened.
While the audience is examining and signing the wooden trunk on the stage, an overhead screen shows clips of some of Jason Bishop’s close-up magic, at which he excels. He is a master of sleight-of-hand and card flourishes, and his show uses Go Pro cameras to highlight this micro-magic for the whole audience. Indeed, it is his micro-magic that I found most fascinating.
What sets Bishop apart from other illusionists and magicians is the comedic banter which Bishop engages in with the audience throughout the show. His humor is sharp, yet self-deprecating, and can be taken on numerous levels, depending on the recipient’s level of sophistication. At one point in the show, after he cracked a joke that seems a little off, given the children in the audience, Bishop said, “Don’t worry. It goes over their heads.” Upon a little reflection, I realized he’s right. Adults can infer the deeper jokes, while children take what Bishop says at face value and are delighted.
Bishop’s assistant, Kim Hess, is the master of the quick change and is a talented baton artist. She and Bishop work easily together with a trust gained through long acquaintance. Hess is the subject of Bishop’s big illusions, but for most of the children in the audience, the star of the show is Gizmo, Bishop’s Yorkshire Terrier. Gizmo performs his own illusion, with a bit of help from Bishop and Hess, and is utterly charming.
Remember the locked wooden trunk? It figures in the big illusion of the first act. I won’t spoil the surprise, but it is worth the price of admission, especially as Bishop brings up children from the audience to watch the illusion from up close.
Jason Bishop: The Illusionist runs at Casa Mañana through April 7. Do yourself a favor and bring the family. I guarantee that you will all have a wonderful time!