We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
The Point, 1013 7th St. NW
Thursday, July 15, 9 p.m.
Tuesday, July 20, 6 p.m.
Saturday, July 24, 12 p.m.
They say: “A story about finding our unique magic — from within. See close-up miracles inches from your eyes, impossible mind-reading and magic for our inner child. Award-winning magic reignites your imagination.”
Chris’s Take: For about a year I worked as a personal assistant for one of the best sleight-of-hand artists in the world, a man named Ricky Jay. In addition to being one of the undisputed masters of the art, Ricky is also a historian of magic. He’ll recount for you an illusion’s provenance and recall amusing factoids about its most colorful practitioners even as he performs it for you. He speaks in florid, elegant language; formal and stylized. It’s part of his act.
He doesn’t talk to you about your inner child, or his, or anybody’s.
One needn’t be a student of magic to dig that the main purpose of banter in a show like this is audience-wrangling. There are places you want your crowd to look because there are other places you don’t want them to look. Diverting chitchat helps you control that.
Perhaps David Morey is so skilled an illusionist he doesn’t need to lull you with history or poetry, because his badinage is the only part of his act that’s bad. He makes his living as a corporate strategist, and after a few minutes, you can tell. Not because his enchantments don’t enchant — they do — but just from that one-percent-off way of speaking that always gives away spies or androids in movies, and Human Resources types in real life. His self-actualizing aphorisms conjured, for me at least, a PowerPoint presentation that wasn’t even there. That ain’t magic.
Morey stirs in too much autobiography: His memories of seeing a man do card tricks on The Ed Sullivan Show and promptly buying himself a magic deck; of putting magic on the back burner while he built a career as a business guy. But then, just a few years ago, he was on this flight to — Hey, wait! He’s about to do something awesome, I promise.
You’ll want to stay frosty, because witnessing Morey perform these illusions in a small, hot room, half a step away from his nearest observers, is something. At the show I saw, he reconstituted a newspaper he’d just torn into strips and made a surprised-looking audience volunteer named Tara seem to issue coins from various points on her body. In one lengthy segment, he persuasively demonstrated his powers of mentalism on several audience members. They can’t all have been plants, right?
I decided to check: I volunteered to take part in one of his tricks, surrendering to him a $20 bill he had me initial for purposes of identification. After a few eventful moments, I watched him from two feet away as he sliced off the top third of a lemon with a knife. He held the lemon out to me, and let me pluck my folded-up twenty out from inside it. The bill was wet and smelled like lemon guts. Morey wore no sleeves. I have no idea how he did that. Well played, Magus!
I still wish he’d told a few more jokes.
Oh: For my invaluable role in his illusion, Morey gave me a copy of his book The Underdog Advantage: Using the Power of Insurgent Strategy to Put Your Business on Top. Maybe journalistic ethics should have compelled me to give the book back, but the truth is, I would like to put my business on top.
My business? Fringing and purging, Baby. Fringing and purging. And business is good.
See It If: You like your odds of going home with a free copy of The Underdog Advantage: Using the Power of Insurgent Strategy to put Your Business on Top.
Skip It If: You believe in strict separation between the high art of illusion and the low art of motivational speaking.