This was my first time at Sands Bethlehem and my second time seeing the Masters of Illusion performance. I would say that the current show running right now is a much more ambitious one than the one I saw four years ago at Harrah’s. The show had four different performers in two acts. The performers were Michael Turco, Naathan Phan, Jarrett and Raja, and Chipper Lowell — who were helped by a handful of female assistants as well-robed and masked figures.
There was a lot of surprises that went into the show. In some situations, you would think the performer would have failed the magic trick, but actually they succeeded. The show began with Farrell Dillon telling everyone to interlock fingers, wiggle thumbs and pinkies. This was to set the stage for an exciting evening. Michael Turco played around with a disappearing/reappearing act with one of his female assistants. There was a fair amount of audience interaction that went over well.
Then came Naathan Phan, who is from Glasgow, Scotland. He says he has a background in musical theater. He pulls out a newspaper, rips it in half about four times, and then somehow puts it back together. Then he says he will float a house. He puts a toy house onto a table and ties it to a balloon and makes it float with the balloon. He also had a routine where he escaped from a straight jacket. But the most memorable parts of Naathan’s act would be his wild impressions of celebrities.
Then some hooded figures come out and bring a door as Jarrett and Raja take the stage. They have visited America and Canada, cutting women in half and blowing things up.
Jarrett is a magician and Raja is a Julliard-trained pianist. In a different and quite daring twist Raja and the female assistant put the magician (Jarrett) in the box and put about 5 or 6 swords through it. In the second half of the show, Jarrett and Raja did a trick called Houdini’s Metamorphosis, which had Jarrett being chained up and put into a box and disappearing out of sight, then having Raja reappear.
Chipper Lowell came out and referenced Oprah’s giveaways where he told everyone to look underneath their chair; and said in this current situation the prize you may find will be a piece of gum. He then had a routine where an audience member’s name is Tom but it’s pronounced Kevin when he was addressing someone and they corrected him on their name. That was followed by a card routine where two people are called up on stage to sit down and underneath each one is a card. One has a rabbit, the other has a snake, and he says it’s a rabbit-snake as he pulls out a snake with a rabbit as a head. One of the grand finales of the night was Chipper Lowell appearing in a car on stage.
The first half of the show threw you off guard and made the wild things that happened in the second half of the show that much more extreme. Some of the most memorable parts of the show were related to the audience interaction bits. In a lot of the situations that happened on stage you really expected things to happen one way but would actually happen in the extreme opposite. To be honest in a way you really don’t want to know how the magic works since it would be like learning the ending to a movie before you even watched it.