Few things in show business are as cyclic as magic. It is favored by monarchs or relegated to carnival side shows. It is featured on Broadway or limited to filling time in cabaret revues. There are lean times to be a magician (before Doug Henning, perhaps) and fat times (when magicians finally became truly big stars like David Copperfield, Siegfried and Roy, Penn and Teller).
These are evidently very good times in Northern Nevada. Rob Lake just finished a solo run at Harrah’s Tahoe. Eli Kerr from “America’s Got Talent” comes into Harrah’s Reno next month. And Adam Trent is just getting off to a running start at the Eldorado. Not one of these is a household name yet but each one is capable of pulling off the essential element of magic – surprise – in a most entertaining manner.
Trent’s show is packed with delight. He comes to town from one of the runs of the Broadway show “The Illusionists” which has caused a welcome swell in magic talent in venues across the country. He mounts a fast-paced 90 minutes, bringing in audience participation even before he hits the stage.
Five minutes before the show, audience members are asked to put items in a box placed on stage (no valuables). A flood of people do so and their items are used later in a combination of magic and mentalism.
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Trent uses modern technology, plucking real items out of a screen showing filmed items flying at him; using quick change, pulling off a switch that not only finds him where you don’t expect him but disguised as an entirely different person; piling card trick upon card trick; contacting Siri to find out how to do a magic trick; putting old illusions in entirely new settings such as taking not money but a cellphone from somebody only to destroy it and have it magically reappear, or using a dancing tissue to convert to a rose.
What makes it all work is not just this young man’s skill but also his personality. He’s managed to capture Hennings’ “wow-look-what-I-just-did” wonder; pulls off tricks with not a boyish but certainly a youthful exuberance, physicality, and glee; puts himself out as the butt of a joke (Siri says bandanna; he has a banana); and interacts excellently with those chosen to participate from the audience, able to draw more out of them than expected.
Trent’s show is subtitled “The Next Generation of Magic,” and it’s not just bluster. There’s not an awkward box or chamber on stage, no tedious setting up of an illusion, the use of only one assistant (who comes out of a large 3-D printer), and plenty of modern optical effects which are not actually magic but exciting to watch.
The Eldorado showroom remodel is essential to the flow of the show. There is no raised proscenium stage; the audience is seated right up to the action, allowing Trent to go effortlessly anywhere and everywhere. (Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 5:30 and 8 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.; $29.95-$59.95, children $19.95, seniors $29.95; eldoradoreno.com)