The relationship between a magician and her assistant could make for an intriguingly intimate drama tricked out with some visual snap. Sadly, Katherine Knowles’s script opts for a three-ring circus of scenery-chewing and limp sleight of hand instead. Unsatisfied with a narrative which grafts Penn & Teller to All About Eve, The Magician tells and retells and retells the tale of a woman who hires, trains, confronts, debates and kills multiple sidekicks over the course of three years. Dramatic arcs are condensed to bathetic extremes; each mentor-apprentice relationship moves from mutual admiration to murder in about five minutes with plenty of profanity in between. Yet with long, incoherent monologues interrupting the action, the viewer is left feeling that the show is moving too fast and too slow at the same time.As you watch the actors perform elementary magic tricks, you’ll be asking yourself one question. Not, how do they do it? But rather, why do they do it at all?
By Katherine Knowles
The Flea Theater (upstairs)
Fri, Aug 12 at 7 p.m.; Sun, Aug 14 at 9:30 p.m.; Tue, Aug 16 at 7:15 p.m; Thu, Aug 18 at 3:45 p.m.; Sat, Aug 20 at 12:30 p.m.; Sat, Aug 27 at 4:15 p.m.