In The Press



Mister Magic


Sometimes we stop believing in magic. The blown-dry tech frippery associated with a cornball Copperfield, the industrial blight of Criss Angel, even the overly chatty Penn and Teller -- tired. Perhaps then the only place magic can go, in order to be effective, is down. Down to the old school, the one where the act of prestidigitation is as important as the illusion itself. That's where local post-vaudevillian Fred Siegel and his sideshow shysters come in. Once known as El Teatro Narcistico, Siegel and the players that make up Fred's Magic World have spent as much time in sketch and improv comedy and theatrical troupes as they have in this new musical, magical vaudeville. Such a skill set gives the show's spirit-conjuring sister act a fluidity to go with its giggles. Yet it's Siegel's impressive ring-leadership and knack for magic -- not just carnie rabble, though that's here in small doses -- that leaves you awestruck. He can escape from tightly bound ropes with nary a wriggle. He can summon up storms with only intuition as his guide. He can disappear in a blink -- all strange because, heck, I know what the backstage of the Playground at the Adrienne looks like. But mostly, Siegel makes it personal, recounting bad and good dreams that he funnels into each flick of the wrist. So be amazed already.

Fred's Magic World, Sun., Nov. 27, 3 and 7 p.m., $10-$15, Playground at the Adrienne, 2030 Sansom St., 215-563-4330.


-A.D. Amorosi


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