The Amazing Kreskin Live: A Review
The Amazing Kreskin is a mentalist of the highest order and has been for the past fifty years. By his own count he has had a television series, his own board game by Milton Bradley, twenty published books, and a major motion picture inspired by his work.
Kreskin is also a well-known prognosticator. He has predicted presidential elections far in advance, including Trump’s win, as well as sporting events, and great moments in history. His skills of manipulation with a deck of cards have gotten him banned from gambling anywhere in Las Vegas. He’s traveled the globe and met with airline pilots who marvel that his three million plus travel miles far exceed their own flight miles. He’s appeared on The Tonight Show over eighty times and was the inspiration for one of Carson’s most famous creations Carnac the Magnificent. Don’t be confused though because while he does claim some natural intuitive abilities that he says have been with him all his life, he also admits there are some tricks at work here as well, but he is no magician. What the Amazing Kreskin truly has been is a significant part of pop culture history throughout the world.
At the Lion Theatre on Theatre Row Kreskin is back at work in a production that is a combination of his greatest hits and a career retrospective. It’s just the man himself solo onstage, a few folding metal chairs, some books and needed props, and a tall three-fold screen for the mentalist, and some of his volunteers, to isolate themselves from energy that may interfere with the work to be done. It is in this setting that he performs his mental feats and in between his miracles he regales the audience with stories from his illustrious career.
A book is passed to an audience member, a word is randomly chosen, Kreskin adeptly reveals the word with ease and without any prompting. A story is told about the legendry Steve Allen and about Kreskin’s first appearance on TV. He was so in awe of Allen and overwhelmed by the studio lights that he tripped and fell flat on his face before a live audience.
Kreskin, having picked an audience member in the lobby before the show, has them pick a random card from a new deck, then brings that individual on stage along with another to randomly cut a separate deck to discover the selected card at the exact place he predicted it would be. A story is told of spending time in Johnny Carson’s dressing room during The Tonight Show days. Johnny loved his ability to locate cards at will in the deck and that misstep on the Allen show served as the impetus for Carnac’s always clumsy entrance.
Kreskin incorrectly guesses at the exact change in a woman’s pocket but is instantly redeemed by a note he handed to a man earlier in the proceedings that provides the actual correct amount and then another story is told. This is the pattern and the crux of the evening.
At eighty-three The Amazing Kreskin is an old school performer and a class act. His very presence on the stage recalls his history and exemplifies his longevity. The stories he tells delights the audience members that are old enough to remember them. The mental acrobatics he so nimbly performs astonish the younger crowd who have no idea who this charming and dapper man continues to be. One of his volunteers, Kreskin never picks people from the audience he only asks for those who want to participate to step forward, was an adolescent and she clearly seemed stunned and delighted by his abilities. An older gentleman in the crowd whispered to his seat mate more than once that ‘Kreskin really is amazing” and they agreed.
It doesn’t matter what your opinion may be of his abilities and where they come from, it doesn’t matter if you know the historical figures in the stories, you may groan at the corny jokes, or giggle at his repeated requests for his volunteer’s names and when he drops the occasional prop. Make no mistake though Kreskin has been at this for a lifetime and every move he makes serves his well-traveled and very skilled performance, and at the end of the evening you will turn to someone or think to yourself, you know what, he really is amazing.
The Lion Theatre Theatre Row 410 West 42nd Street 212.239.6200 $37.25 - $52.25 http://www.theatrerow.org/lion April 12 – 28, 2018
From an original post on TheaterScene.