‘Magic’s A Drag’

Cashetta points out right up front that he’s "the world’s most fabulous drag magician," and "the beauty of that is you don’t have a lot to compare me to."

Indeed. Nathan Burton does the same routine involving a beer bottle and a paper bag. He does it as kind of a throwaway while stagehands are rolling out larger illusions.

But he doesn’t get the same joke out of it. Cashetta (Scott Weston) stretches the beer bottle routine into an extended opening bit, then accuses a woman on the front row of looking up his skirt to see what became of the bag he apparently crumpled up with the bottle inside.

"Be careful what you find under there, sweetheart!"

And Mac King is among the magicians who do variations of cutting and restoring a piece of rope. But you sure won’t hear the family-friendly King making rope-innuendo jokes such as, "So like a man. Leave the girl hangin’."

"Magic’s A Drag" is yet more proof that it’s not the magic, but the personality of the magician that people respond to. This is a clever variation on the comedy-magic format, where the tricks aren’t big, fancy or even unique, but the jokes and presentation carry them.

Cashetta is a towering explosion of lipstick, sequins and televangelist blond tresses who dwarfs even the Los Angeles cop hauled onstage for one of the routines. And he’s every pound of fun.

While no one is going to confuse Cashetta with King’s wholesome afternoon show — you’ll never think of long, tubular children’s party balloons quite the same again — he also adds a bit of humanity to the drag jokes and raunchy double-entendres.

That said, the show feels a bit padded even at an hour, and could step up to add another segment or two. The stretching would be more evident were the pace not so well suited to the relaxed vibe of the venue, which used to be the restaurant side of the old Blue Note jazz club that is now the Harmon Theater.

The cozy room wisely holds over two bartenders, Chi-Chi and Alexis, from the previous show, "Lucky Cheng’s Drag Cabaret." They jump in to help tie up Cashetta for an escape, and their verbal feedback makes a positive of having their bar at the nexus of a "V" dividing the audience into two sides.

Ultimately, it’s an issue of whether there’s enough show for the format and ticket price. Reviewers are usually well-advised to judge what’s there and not what isn’t. But I think this is the rare case where the performer, a veteran of comedy clubs and cruise ships, can’t be blamed for not being up to the demands of the standard evening-show format.

If "Magic’s A Drag" wants to duke it out in prime time with A-list shows and the dinner hour, management should consider pumping it up with other acts. Or leave it as is, but maybe move it into a "happy hour" slot, perhaps even partnering with one of the Miracle Mile restaurants.

Hard times call for creative thinking, and in some cities, a big, sassy queen doing magic might be just that. Here, it’s merely a pretty good start.

Contact reporter Mike Weatherford at mweatherford@ reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0288.

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