Fri, Dec 31, 2004 - Page 14 News List

Is it a kind of magic, or just an illusion?

By Emily Drew  /  STAFF REPORTER

Kevin walks through an industrial size fan.

PHOTO COURTESY OF NOVEL HALL

By the end of this week, you could be performing magic tricks in front of a huge audience, having your mind read or surviving the Spikes of Doom. You could see a woman folded into a tiny box, watch her levitate stories above a stage, or see a man escape from a glass water tank, like Houdini.

World famous magicians Kevin and Cindy Spencer are bringing their show Theatre of Illusion to the Novel Hall for Performing Arts, and whether you help them carry out a trick or simply watch, you're guaranteed to be mesmerized by some of the best magic in the world.

The Spencers have been performing for sold-out crowds in Hong Kong since Christmas and debuted in Taipei yesterday. Tickets are on sale now for shows today and tomorrow.

For more than a decade, the Spencers have entertained audiences around the world with Theatre of Illusion, one of the largest and most successful touring illusion shows and one of most highly regarded acts in magic today. They are also one of the most sought-after acts and perform in top theaters and performance halls worldwide.

Reviews in the US have praised the Spencers for using their magic the way a good novelist uses words: clearly, concisely and to tell a story. Their act blends magic with comedy, drama and romance in suspenseful scenes, such as when Kevin walks through an industrial strength fan.

Audience interaction, the set, dramatic lighting, music and special effects add energy to the action packed show, but it is the charisma of the two performers that brings the most applause.

The husband and wife team are entering their 20th professional year and have been working together since Kevin started as a professional magician in Dallas, before they were married in 1983. On their show's Web site, Cindy says: "We began with a small show, about an hour long, no frills, just good magic."

In the early shows, Kevin was the focal point, but after he was in a car accident in 1988, Cindy began to take on larger roles.

"We forged into a team, we worked on routines that balanced us equally ... illusions that showcased us both," says Cindy, who is the first woman to have been recognized by the Brotherhood of Magicians.

The Spencers' touring show has revolutionized modern magic. It has been recognized as Best Touring Production, Best Major Production, Best Variety Artists and Best Performing Arts Event by theaters, arts centers, and civic centers. The Spencers are committed to stage performance, but they don't believe that magic belongs only on stage.

In 1984 the couple founded The Healing of Magic, a worldwide organization that uses simple magic tricks as a form of occupational therapy. In hospitals and rehabilitation centers, the Spencers' program gives a sense of accomplishment, pride and fun to people who suffer from substance abuse, Alzheimer's disease, the effects of strokes, cancer and many other situations.

For more about the Spencers, visit http://www.spencersmagic.com.

Performance notes:

What: The Spencers Theatre of Illusion

Where: Novel Hall for Performing Arts, No. 3-1 Songshou Rd, Taipei (新舞台, 台北市松壽路3-1)

When: Dec. 30, 8pm; Dec. 31, 8:00pm; Jan. 1, 3:00pm

Tickets: NT$600 to NT$2000. To order, visit Novel Hall's box office, call the box office at (02) 2723 7905, purchase by credit card at (02) 2723 7905, or visit www.ticket.com.tw.

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