Shadowbox Live has shocked and amazed me with it’s creative artistry in every show I have attended, and it’s recent show just continues my astonishment.
Magic and mystery are the focus of the comedy/performance troupe’s current showcase titled “Smoke and Mirrors.”
With the help of magician, Michael Kent, who was not present for the showing I attended last night but instead was present via live video, the illusion-based performance utilizes not only Kent’s talent in magic, but also his comedic personality.
While the theme is not always apparent through all of the skits, there are a few moments when the topic stands out, even through the use of favorite, well-known sketches such as “Dr. Mystery” and “Jason’s Scary Stories.”
The show opens with the Shadowbox Live house band BillWho? and follows with “Genie Advisor,” an amusing sketch in which Billy DePetro and Robbie Nance play two guys scanning the beach with their new metal detector, when they come across a magic lamp. Genie, Julie Klein, is set free only to become aggravated with the obvious requests from the guys, and makes for pure comedic brilliance.
The highlight of the night, undeniably, was the skit “Political Figures of Speech.” Stacie Boord plays a candidate nervous and on the verge of a breakdown before her speech, when her manager, Julie Klein, resolves her anxiety by coaching her through an earpiece. But when the manager’s Husband appears and prompts an argument, Boord begins to repeat precisely what she is hearing. Boord’s committed performance is noteworthy and uproarious.
Another sketch that stands out for me was “Wizard of Pawns.” A unique twist on the “Wizard of Oz” in which Jimmy Mak, as the wizard, owns a pawnshop that allures other fictional characters. Although the skit is overrun with more foul language than legitimate jokes, it is a mirthful and obvious peak of the night.
The musical numbers are exceptional, as always. House band BillWho? is brilliant throughout the entire night. With one of the most outstanding renditions of “Behind Blue Eyes” I have ever seen, sung by Stev Guyer, and an impressive performance of “Killer Queen,” the talent level of the musicians is extremely apparent.
An undeniable crowd favorite, was the performance of “Perplexity,” with dancer Renee Horton acting as the puppet of singers Stacie Boord and Julie Klein.
Ending the night with a high-energy presentation of Styx’s “Grand Illusion,” the stage was swarming with performers, all containing an extreme amount of enthusiasm and liveliness accompanied with the powerful voice of each singer.
Although magic is certainly a neat idea for a show, “Smoke and Mirrors” has a lack of focus for the duration of the complete show, however it is counteracted by numerous wacky and humorous moments, and sensational live music.
“Smoke and Mirrors” is running through May 5, on Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 and 10:30 p.m. $30 for General Admission.
More information can be found online at www.shadowboxlive.org.
Shadowbox show photos by Studio 66.