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25 August 2017

[Guest post] Random thoughts about "UNBELIEVABLE! A Magical Experience"

The following is a guest post from an author who wishes to be known as The Magic Demon. 

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"UNBELIEVABLE! A Magical Experience"

Running nightly at 7:30 pm in the Pacific Coliseum at the PNE in Vancouver, BC until September 4th. Free with admission.  [The PNE is closed on Monday, Aug. 28th.]

Random Thoughts For Canada's Magic
by The Magic Demon



It's UNBELIEVABLE... that a whole year has gone by since the first edition of Unbelievable! debuted in 2016.

It's UNBELIEVABLE... how fast the 90 minute coliseum-size magical extravaganza whizzed by.

It's UNBELIEVABLE... again how good it was.

Performance viewed on Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017.

Murray Hatfield and Teresa have returned to the annual summer PNE (Pacific National Exhibition) with their second incarnation of Unbelievable! - a  magical phantasmagoria of illusion, pyrotechnics, music and sheer wonder.

Joining them on stage are American magicians Chipper Lowell and Danny Cole and Canada's own Shawn Farquhar - all performing at the top of their games, combining unique energies to synthesize an evening's worth of spectacular visual entertainment.

I don't propose to review the show element by element  but I would like to refer to a few hastily scribbled notes and mention a few memorable highlights.

Murray and Teresa  - first and foremost and as always, magnificent performers, classy and compelling to watch. I love all their often fire-enhanced big box illusions. At one point they featured three big box illusions at once on stage (which must be some kind of world record!) Later they also did a show-stopping, breathtaking up to date version of "Metamorphosis." I've not seen it done in person since Doug Henning and his version for me was the one to beat. I think I can honestly say that they have finally done so. I was also truly impressed by Murray's innovative and suspense-filled variation of an effect familiar to some of us. I won't give away which one -- but when I saw it I marveled at his sheer brilliant audacity for turning such a classic close up effect into a coliseum-sized miracle. Murray, I salute you!



Chipper Lowell. What does one say about such a comedic phenomenon? He quickly won the audience over with his outrageous antics. We were soon laughing at all his seemingly spontaneous frenetic presentations. His very verbal style is ideally suited to such a massive forum (seating 10,000 at full capacity). It is hard to describe -- it's very "over the top" and somewhat "camp" but extremely focused even when it looks like he's made a mistake. (Hint: He doesn't.) It's hard to combine magic and outright comedy. To make it also look so easy and effortless as Lowell does is the mark of a real pro.

Another impressive talent is American Danny Cole. His silent act (done to the pounding beat of contemporary Latin dance music) assisted by his graceful wife, borders on the poetic. His suits change colour, his ties take on a life of their own, coat hangers behave most mysteriously, chairs defy gravity, CDs multiply, appear and disappear. Throughout these visual impossibilities appearing right before our eyes (and magnified by the two huge screens to each side of the stage) Cole remains the epitome of stylish, sophisticated elegance. This is a magician's magician.

For me, perhaps the most enjoyable moments of the evening were courtesy Canada's own Shawn Farquhar. His opening effects performed from the audience directly to the cameras were stunning card manipulations done to cleverly mirror the lyrics of an accompanying song. The audience loved it. But where he really excelled were his interactions with audience members. His version of "Topsy Turvy" bottles was a genuine delight because of his interaction with his audience volunteer. And it was his "Dancing Hankerchief" routine with a cute little five year old girl picked from the audience to assist him that so won everyone's hearts and unconditional appreciation. You could tell his volunteers really liked him and trusted him and the audience picked up on that. It was an invaluable lesson for all performers.

TIP: Bring earplugs unless you want to go partially deaf early in life. The music is loud.

I said it last year and I see no reason not to repeat myself again this year. Good advice is good advice!  If you are in or near Vancouver run (do not walk) to the PNE and see "Unbelievable! A Magical Experience." You will not regret it.

Congratulations to Murray and Teresa for masterminding another outstanding success.
 

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Thank you The Magic Demon for guest posting at Canada's Magic!

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