Fringe 2015 review: "Nick Paul: Impossible Feats of Fake Magic"


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Nick Paul calls his show “Impossible Feats of Fake Magic,” but there’s nothing artificial about this illusionist’s impressive abilities. Paul is a veteran of Walt Disney World and off-Broadway, and his experience is evident in this polished, professional presentation. Paul avoids the patter problem, the downfall of many magicians, by substituting speech for physical schtick worthy of a silent film comedian, relying on expressive body language and some snarky cue cards to communicate.

Paul’s tricks are all based on classic effects – pick a card, materialize a coin, restore a torn newspaper, vanish an iPhone – but they’re pulled off with amusingly offhand ease and deceptively self-depreciating flair. He has great rapport with his audience volunteers, especially kids (as in an extended balloon animal sequence), and his tricks rely on dexterity and misdirection instead of elaborate mechanical effects.

The show’s finale is a hysterical sendup of pretentious prestidigitators that may have Criss Angel suing for copyright infringement. Paul says that he’s “not a wizard, just a guy with a lot of free time,” but I’m not sure I believe him. A word of advice: The seats in OMA’s new Bronze venue are all flat on the floor, so arrive early to sit up front for the best view of Paul’s nimble fingers.

"Nick Paul: Impossible Feats of Fake Magic"
Nick Paul – Orlando, FL

Venue: Bronze
Length: 50 minutes
Rating: 13 and up
Price: $10