PHOTOS BY DAVID LINSELL
Jonathan O'Neil (Dec 16, 2015)
The return of Tricks, is anti-pomp and pageantry. No elaborate set composed of any real grandiose props is used. The stripped down production relies on superb furnishings to accomplish what great tricksters need to put on a smoking show. It’s simply modest in presentation for the masses of magic to consume.
It goes without saying that his genial personality makes Tricks that much more inviting. David Ben is a classy con, elegant guile, and a cultured shenanigan. Aside from this, he reminds you of that exceptional teacher from high school you didn’t mind talking to in the hall when all other faculty seemed to get on your nerves.
The show gets off to a blistering start with an abstract art bit and then the sleight of hand master plays a numbers game that leaves your jaw-dropped and head spinning.
Glenn Sumi (Dec 17, 2015)
Holiday magic of a different kind is on view at Soulpepper's Young Centre, where veteran illusionist David Ben remounts his old-school show Tricks.
More intimate than his large-scale show The Conjuror, Tricks consists of 85 minutes of charming routines that mostly harken back to the art form's 19th-century heyday.
In fact, in setting up each act, Ben alludes to predecessors like Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin, and projected archival images of the Chinese rings trick and the ever-popular shell game add a Victorian feel to the show.
With his shaggy mop of curly hair and self-effacing vibe, Ben has a genial stage presence that helps entice audience members to take part, whether that involves choosing cards, handing over a large-denomination bill (to be burned!) or - in one of the show's big numbers - stepping onstage and appearing to float on air.
Most tricks involve sleight of hand, so it helps to sit as close to the stage as possible.
Mooney on Theatre
Sam Mooney (Dec 13, 2015)
The very best way to see a magic show is with a kid. My grandson Max (almost seven) and I saw David Ben’s Tricks — part of Soulpepper’s Family Festival — on Saturday afternoon at the Young Centre. We had a terrific time.
There’s lots of help from the audience. Part of Ben’s magic is that he just points to someone and asks them to join him on the stage and they do. He does it so smoothly and quickly that there isn’t time for a lot of head ducking and avoiding eye contact. I was impressed. Of course, there were a lot of kids in the audience and some of them were very eager to go onstage.
Ben has a lovely stage presence. He’s relaxed, his humour is gentle and he’s kind to the audience members that help him on stage.