A Magic Show by Rebecca Rose Productions at the 2017 Toronto Fringe Festival is a bare bones magic show. Little grandeur, little story, and little character make this a cute experience. A pleasant nod seems the appropriate response to this mixed bag of tricks.
Perhaps I don’t actually enjoy magic as much as I remembered. Or perhaps I just didn’t enjoy this show as much as I’d hoped. (And I did hope!)
I chuckled, grinned, and generally felt positively throughout. It’s just that I also felt like I knew how every trick was done. Am I too magically educated for the average show? I sort of doubt it. I think this was a case of unrefined technique.
While some tricks were mathematical and understandable enough to someone who’s looking for it (which, admittedly, I actively do), others could have fooled me if the sleight of hand was more on point on the night I attended. Papernick’s card handling felt particularly messy, but perhaps that was just nerves. He also dropped his clipboard prop at one point.
Any moments of surprise like that drop or audience comments were taken in stride. Papernick never lost his confidence and replied quickly with one liners.
A lack of underscoring (or characterization in its place) left stretching silences which music could have softened.
In a small house during a matinee and with a sometimes lacking stage presence, our magician had trouble extracting volunteers for audience participation. In a larger evening house, though, I don’t imagine getting volunteers up will be a problem.
Our magical artist’s son Benjamin played the assistant (and simultaneously stage manager, somehow). While the dual role is efficient, future productions would benefit from an assistant with more experience engaging audience members and taking the stage.
One particularly odd moment occurred when, at the conclusion of the show, Papernick took his bows before releasing either his assistant or his last audience volunteer from stage. Both looked on blankly as he bowed and thanked us.
Magician Marty Papernick performs like he’s in early stages of his magic career. I’m sure with more practice, he could be a fun, family-friendly entertainer. As it stands, he still feels like he’s learning his craft. Bring a kid and enjoy their wonder if you visit A Magic Show.
- A Magic Show plays at the Tarragon Mainspace. (30 Bridgman Ave.)
- Tickets are $12. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes for serious Fringers.
- Tickets can be purchased online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Fringe Club at Scadding Court, and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
- Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.
- Content Warning: Audience Participation.
- This venue is barrier-free. The designated accessible seating is in the middle of the auditorium.
- Friday July 7th, 01:15 pm
- Saturday July 8th, 05:15 pm
- Monday July 10th, 02:45 pm
- Wednesday July 12th, 07:00 pm
- Thursday July 13th, 11:30 pm
- Friday July 14th, 09:30 pm
- Saturday July 15th, 07:30 pm
Photo of Marty Papernick by Jay Larson