Jason Bishop – Master of Illusion: Show Review by Antonia Kasper

Levitating Lady.  Light show. Disappearing and Reappearing Dog.  Money showers. Glowing floating “orb”.  Cool music. And of course, some good old fashion sleight of hand magic fun.

That’s what my daughter (almost 9) and I thought of when we experienced Jason Bishop’s show Believe in Magic: playing at the The New Victory Theater now through December 30th.

This World Premiere Tour launch is only Bishop’s second time at The New Vic (His other show  Straight Up Magic played last year and was the first magic show ever performed at The New Victory). Back by popular demand, Bishop, the internationally-touring magician, returns with new, jaw-dropping tricks designed especially for the holiday season.

The show opens with suspenseful lights and music. With consultation from Broadway’s famed illusion designer Jim Steinmeyer (Pippin, Into the Woods, Disney’s Aladdin and Mary Poppins), Bishop magically appears through smoke and mirrors. This ain’t your grandma’s magic or magician.  This magician is young and hip: timely hair style; dressed down in a leather jacket and jeans.

The modern and compelling show varies in acts: from classic sleight of hand (set to pop/rock music) to Bishop’s assistant, Kim Hess, (and later himself too) levitating high above the stage.

After intermission, Bishop stands in the mezzanine with a camera and shows off his sleight of hand expertise which is shown on a stage screen. I was very fond of the creative use of space coupled with multimedia, making the show interesting, different and clever.

Bishop’s casual and funny banter keeps him real and grounded in a world of illusion and mystery. Though very charismatic and likable, his humor was hit ‘n miss at times, which led his comments to the family audience, which included many kids, to occasionally feel surprisingly off-putting.  It made me wonder if he might prefer playing to an adult only audience (he is good enough to play to adults—all the  moms and dads in the audience seemed genuinely impressed). Later in the show, however, his story of growing up as a foster child and how magic became the “escape” from his troubles, made him more empathic and relatable.  It takes a high level of bravery to tell it like it is…and that is what makes this magician stand out besides his unbeatable talent of illusions and levitation.

Certainly, there are warm interactions with the audience and kids along with a celebratory paper shower takeaways.  From making one million dollars in cash vanish, to creating “Human Origami” out of his assistant- Bishop is masterful with magic!  He even makes it snow..fun for all families this holiday season!

The day we were there, The New Victory Theater had a short Q and A afterwards with Bishop and his assistant, Kim, which was very intriguing.  Though no “magic questions” were allowed, keeping Bishop’s acts top secret, it was nice to see the New Vic Theater have this interaction between children and performers.  Many parents were as eager as the kids to ask this popular magician and his assistant questions.

All in all, this magic show is totally worth seeing!  Throughout the show my daughter kept whispering to me, “How did he do that?” To which I sat back bewildered and answered totally dumbfounded, “I honestly don’t know!”

Visit http://www.newvictory.org/boxoffice.  Running Time: 1hr 45 minutes with one 15 minute intermission.

To purchase tickets in person, The New Victory Theater box office is located at 209 West 42nd Street (between 7th/8th Avenue).

About the New Vic Theater: The New Victory Theater brings kids to the arts and the arts to kids. Created in 1995 on iconic 42nd Street, this nonprofit theater has become a standard-bearer of quality performing arts for young audiences in the United States. It has recently been renovated so be sure to check out the new Jack and Lew Rudin lobby which includes digitally-supported family engagement activities on multiple screens and an “Eat & Drink” café providing multiple opportunities for families to explore the performing arts together both before and after every show.