‘Band of Magicians’ ’ camaraderie is stronger than their trickery

At least some magicians can get along.

No “fraternity” is more rife with jealousy and backstabbing than magic, with all its accusations of who stole what from whom.

But now comes “Band of Magicians.” Unless it’s the biggest illusion of all, the most novel aspect is four magicians appearing to have a good time together on stage.

The chemistry among four stars from three countries is fresher that most of the actual magic they do. But as with most magic shows, the feats of James Galea, Stuart MacLeod, Brett Loudermilk and Joel Ward are all about personality and how they sell it.

The Tropicana venture is a delayed replacement for Jan Rouven, the German illusionist whose career ended abruptly with his arrest for alleged possession of child pornography in March.

Before that grim development, Rouven’s show seemed like the last of the old guard with its dancers and big illusion cabinets. Though it’s only seven months later, “Band” plays like a fast-forward into the future, following the pop-culture drift to the likes of Mat Franco and cable prankster Michael Carbonaro.

All four are young, good-looking and casual in their stage attire: It’s a sequin-free zone. And like Franco and Carbonaro (or David Blaine’s “street magic”), it’s more about sleight of hand with simple props. Galea even plays the classic streets-of-New York shell game.

That one, and too much of the action, is viewed mostly on an overhead screen as the magicians are shadowed by two cameramen. Maybe the target demographic is fine with watching so much of a live show play out on video. But if this has to be the case, even young techies will agree they ought to invest in some HD gear; the Trop setup is a little too “Blair Witch Project.”

For anyone who’s seen a magic show or three, this family-friendly one starts out like we might be in for a long night. The Trop sits in the shadow of David Copperfield’s MGM Grand building wrap, so the Australian-born touring package needs a stronger start than the tired “prediction box” we’ve seen in too many shows.

Likewise, a new Vegas magic show on the same street as Piff the Magic Dragon or Mac King should make sure it has an arsenal of unique jokes to go with the stock routine of borrowing a watch or $20 bill from an audience member, losing it, and having it turn up in a can of tomatoes or tennis balls.

But the four really do build their personalities into something stronger. Galea is the fast-talking street con man, MacLeod the cute/gross nerd who charms an audience “date” by pushing a jellybean through his nose and out his eyelid. Brett Loudermilk is the American sword swallower who brings the sideshow “yuck” factor — man, you really hope these are illusions — and the self-deprecating jokes about what happens when you drop out of high school. Ward is the California nice guy who gets to play the sincerity card at the end.

Before it’s over, we do get a larger illusion involving musical instruments, which makes you wish the guys had thought big sooner. But the real challenge is for them to find more to do together, like the one-upmanship of a “card game” where they flaunt their shuffling skills — again at the back of the stage and entirely on the video screen.

But hey, at least it’s a friendly game.

Read more from Mike Weatherford at reviewjournal.com. Contact him at mweatherford@reviewjournal.com and follow @Mikeweatherford on Twitter.

Spring Preserve kicks off its Holiday Express
Springs Preserve hosts its Holiday Express, which includes a train ride, visits with Santa, SNOW, and a village winter wonderland.
Artists from Cirque du Soleil contribute art to Las Vegas art exhibit
Artists from Cirque du Soleil contribute art to Las Vegas gallery exhibit
Red Plate on the Las Vegas Strip serves a cocktail made with blooming jasmine tea
Red Plate on the Las Vegas Strip serves a cocktail made with jasmine tea
Benny the Ice Skating Dog
Benny is a Las Vegas Labrador who was rescued by former pro skater Cheryl Del Sanyo, and trained to ice skate. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Nevada State Museum
The Nevada State Museum of Las Vegas, located at the Springs Preserve, covers all eras of the state, from prehistoric to today.
Throw a better dinner party
Cash appears at Baseball Winter Meetings
Lights FC mascot Cash plays the electronic drums at the EZ Inflatables’ booth on Tuesday at the Baseball Winter Meetings trade show at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.
5 albums to soundtrack your holiday gatherings in style
1. Various Artists, “Holidays Rule," with Rufus Wainwright, The Shins, Calexico and more. 2. Various Artists, “We Wish You a Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year," with Lemmy Kilmister, Alice Cooper, Chuck Billy and others. 3. Various Artists, “Christmas on Death Row," featuring Snoop Dogg and Nate Dogg to name but a few. 4. Bright Eyes, “A Christmas Album.” 5. Various Artists, "The Motown Christmas Album." (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Inside the kitchen at Springs Preserve
The staff of Divine Events do party preparation in the kitchen at Divine Cafe at Springs Preserve. With nine parties the following day, this is a particularly busy time for the crew. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
WinterFest in Henderson.
Miss Rodeo America Fashion Show
The 28 women contestants of Miss Rodeo America compete in a fashion show at the Tropicana on Dec. 7, 2018.
Tournament Of Kings Holiday Show
Wizards and warriors are ready for the holidays at Excalibur's Tournament of Kings Holiday Dinner Show.
Take a dive with the Silverton mermaids
A visit to the Silverton Casino Hotel is not complete without taking in the popular, and very unique, mermaid show.
Cowboys and western aficionados can buy virtually anything at Cowboy Christmas
Vegas Golden Knights Christmas Display
In the Las Vegas Valley, the chances of getting a white Christmas are slim. But this year, you can have a “Knight” Christmas. A Henderson resident has a Christmas lights display that is synchronized to the entrance music for the Golden Knights. GG Misa’s Knights light show is played every 30 minutes from 5 to 10 nightly. His light show consists of two songs: Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” and the entrance music, “Le Castle Vania,” from the movie “John Wick.” The display is located at 730 Bollons Island St. (Richard Brian/Las Vegas Reivew-Journal)
Holiday Hooch At El Cortez is Just in Time For Repeal Day And Christmas
Holiday Hooch At El Cortez Is Just In Time For Repeal Day And Christmas. Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal
TV's LGBT superheroes
Green Valley Ranch's Winter's Village
The Mob Museum
Best Friend Menu Reveal Wednesday
Chef Roy Choi tells us what to expect from Wednesday’s Facebook Live Menu Reveal for his new Park MGM restaurant Best Friend. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Quick Chat With Criss Angel
James D. Gish and Susan Anton rehearse
Susan Anton will be special guest at James D. Gish’s holiday concerts Dec. 7 at Summerlin Library and Dec. 9 at Clark County Library. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio Winter Wonderland
"Majestic Holiday Magic" at the Bellagio Conservatory.
Underwater Santa At The Silverton
Santa takes a dive Sunday, December 2, at the Silverton Casino Hotel. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Cowabunga Bay Christmas Town
Las Vegas Natural History Museum
Las Vegas Natural History Museum, which opened in 1991, has exhibits of mechanical dinosaurs and taxidermied animals, along with live snakes, fish and sharks. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Magical Forest Lights
Cirque Du Soleil Performers Team Up For New Show "Kinekt"
Through dance, acrobatics and aerial arts, “Kinekt” tells a story all too familiar to modern families: how to maintain a human connection in the digital age. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ethel M Holiday Cactus Garden
The Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas
The Pinball Hall of Fame was created by Tim Arnold and opened in 2006. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
News Headlines
Local Spotlight
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like