How was your experience?
Odds On Vegas! was in the audience last night for just the third performance of Gerry McCambridge’s new show at the V Theatre inside the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood. Thankfully, his skills as a supposed mind-reader are overrated, or else he would have known that we were fairly disappointed in the show. Any reasonable adult is going to go into a show like this knowing no one can actually read minds, and so there must be some trickery involved. But you still hope to see some entertaining illusions and get an engaging show — unfortunately, McCambridge didn’t provide that, as well. The show is being performed in the Upstairs Showroom at the V Theatre. It’s a dark, awkwardly gerrymandered bit of a room (no pun intended) which is much more reminiscent of a community college black box theater than a Vegas showroom. The stage is set fairly simply, with a centerpiece table holding 60 sponge balls with numbers on them, flanked by two sets of three miniature basketball hoops. The backdrop is a black wall with 9 embedded monitors of various sizes, and there is a glowing acrylic box on a stage to the right side of the stage. The preshow involves a video presentation with five minutes of Billy Bush introducing us to McCambridge and showing some street magic in New York City. Then McCambridge himself takes the monitors to ask us to use the index cards we were given when arriving (that is, had our ushers remembered to do that — a minor rough edge to fix) and print clearly our full name, questions we’d like answered about ourselves, and a secret fact that he would have no way of knowing. The show itself is essentially just three techiniques stretched into 70 minutes. The first illusion involves "randomly" picking a number from a phonebook (using a very innocent looking "index card" to help the selected audience member choose the proper number) and then having other audience members reveal the numbers in their envelopes showing — surprise — the phone number. He spends the bulk of the show on "psychometry", which from the Latin for "looking down your nose to read index cards while loosely blindfolded". Don’t get me wrong; he’s very skilled at the physicality of his craft — you never get an obvious tell that he is just reading what is written on the index cards. Similarly, when he continues the blindfolded bit and avoids impaling himself on a spike protruding from a (subtly-marked) coaster (visible down his nose), the audience is entertained. The final illusion involves having the audience help him pick six numbers at random, and then pulling a scroll from a box that’s been suspended over the stage for the whole performance. A little sleight of hand to swap scrolls, and the one his assistant wrote and left on the platform with the box is revealed to — gasp — match the randomly selected numbers. I’m not explaining the illusions to ruin the fun for anyone — although, as he said several times during the show, he WANTS you to know how they’re done because it’s more fun watching the show that way. No, I’m talking about the low-level "magic" because he does nothing to redeem it, between crude jokes (which probably worked better in his last gig at Hooter’s), constant begging for applause, and an unengaging personality. He comes off as sleazy from the start, and never really does anything to make you want to like him, and that leaves the show flat — with or without your suspension of disbelief.