Review: James Alan: The Uncertainty Project (Abracadabaret)

James Alan’s stage magic leaves Toronto audiences stunned, at the Wychwood Theatre

“How did he do that?” I asked myself this countless times during James Alan: The Uncertainty Project which is currently playing at the Wychwood Theatre. The show, written by Alan and directed by James Biss, is one full of magic and illusion that is both impressive and entertaining.

I had never seen a live magic show before and at this point I regret it. My previous exposure to magic had been watching David Copperfield specials on television and that detachable thumb trick I thought was fantastic when I was 7. But Alan’s show has definitely made up for lost time. The show’s main theme revolves around the uncertainty principle associated with quantum mechanics. Now, I had no understanding of quantum mechanics and I’ll wager that most of the packed Wychwood Theatre didn’t either. But it didn’t matter — all of us remained transfixed throughout the show. Dressed in a black suit and blue dress shirt, Alan’s stage presence is more subtle than that of most magicians — there’s no lavish or sequinned costumes here. But this subtlety perfectly suits Alan’s straightforward approach and dry humour.

My favourite aspect of the show, apart from the great magic tricks, was Alan’s constant use of audience participation (at one point even I was picked out of the audience to be one of Alan’s subjects). You the viewer become involved in the show and this starts the moment you collect your ticket at the front of house. Along with his array of tricks and illusions, Alan even made a bold prediction regarding the outcome of a current event. I’ll be waiting to see if he was correct. Like a great story, when you’re invested it takes the experience to a whole new level. This, coupled with Alan’s skills as a magician, is what makes his show so rewarding.

I highly recommend this show to anyone with even the slightest interest in magic. It provides a fun alternative to traditional theatre or a night out at the movies. James Alan: The Uncertainty Project is funny, interesting, and will leave you thinking afterwards. Seriously though, HOW DID HE DO THAT???

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