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Dark Deceptions

Flimflam maestro Todd Robbins ushers his audience into contact with the other side.

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Encounters with ghosts aren't quite what they used to be, but writer-performer Todd Robbins aims to transport the audience to a time when the seance was both popular entertainment and mystical experience. Robbins, Chairman of the Board of Coney Island USA and creator of off-Broadway's "Carnival Knowledge," brings his expertise in charlatanism into play, initially priming the viewers on the ritual's behind-the-scenes trickery before gracefully stepping into the character of Reverend T. L. Robbins of the Church of the Parted Veil. In his Spiritualist guise, he enacts a 19th century seance more or less by the book, using group participation and some on-the-spot intuitive skills - asking four people onstage to draw a picture, then divining whose is whose - to lower the crowd's defenses. At times the techniques prove a bit too lulling. Robbins warns beforehand that the show ends with an extended period of complete darkness, and he succeeds in building suspense. Yet, while the finale is unusual enough to elicit some shrieks of laughter, it ultimately falls short of its intended effect.

Dark Deceptions
Presented by Todd Robbins
The Players Theatre
Sat, Aug 13 at 5:30 p.m.; Tue, Aug 16 at 11:15 p.m.; Thu, Aug 18 at 8:45 p.m.; Sat, Aug 20 at noon; Wed, Aug 24 at 11:30 p.m.


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