Ms. Karen & I venture out at night very rarely … considering our typical day starts at 3AM; 4AM at the latest. So, by 5PM, we’ve put in a good 13-14-hour day. Somehow I was under the misconception that retirement meant a life of leisure. Can’t say exactly what happened to that obviously erroneous notion. On the other hand, there is a lot to say about doing what you love to do in retirement no matter the hours.
Thus, for us to attend a show that starts at 7PM, it had better be a doozy if they want us to stay awake until intermission. We do go to shows at the Fox Theater several times a year and have enjoyed many excellent performances, including Willie Nelson, Aaron Neville and Lilly Tomlin. We love Carnival of Illusion; far and away the most original and creative illusions this side of Las Vegas.
Once we enjoyed a dinner theater Christmas performance at Great American Playhouse in Oro Valley, but they went belly-up. And then there is the zany Gaslight Theater; always a hoot!
Now comes Murder At The Magic Show, a dinner theater at Five-Palms, Tucson’s version of upscale drinking, dining, and dancing in the Catalina Foothills. The Friday and Saturday night performances are produced by Ross Horwitz, a professional magician and actor who has performed on the Las Vegas Strip and Magic Castle in LA; and has taught performance art at Pima Community College.
As a reviewer recommending the best of Tucson and Southern Arizona, I must consider all of the factors that go into making an enjoyable dinner theater, including the dinner itself. Ms. Karen and I agree, the chicken dish served the night we attended the Mystery Theater at Five Palms was as good as you get at any large group dinner served at our finest resorts.
Before, after and during dinner, Ross went from table to table performing magic tricks with a personable style and easy manner. Toward the end of the show, he made a bunny appear in a pan, intended for baking a birthday cake for a gentleman who was celebrating his birthday. How does one do that?
Like all dinner theater performances I have attended, audience participation is usually the best part. Folks “volunteer” to go up on stage and make a fool of themselves, much to the delight of the audience. The irony is that those in the audience who were most willing to go on stage and participate in the skits and illusions are the ones who had the most fun.
The story line was about a hapless magician named Mostly Magnificent Steve. Seems Steve was having trouble with his magician assistants, which is to say all four of his previous assistants mysteriously died. Murder is suspected.
Enter Ms. Wanda Castaspella from MAGIC: Magician Assistants General Investigation Committee, to help the audience figure out, not only whodunit, but also the murderer’s motive. Ms. Castaspella is played by Dea Young-Smith who is also the show’s director.
At the end, the audience writes down who they think the murderer is and his or her motive. The winner is awarded a totally appropriate prize. All I will say is (a) I picked the wrong character and did not get the coveted prize and; (b) in hindsight, the character who committed the murders and his/her motive was fairly obvious. My solace was the enjoyment of a very good cheese cake dessert and a fine evening of silliness and many hardy laughs.
The 5 cast members are all professionals, but the one who stood head and heels over everyone was Trickzee, played by Tucson native Bobby McManus. In the show, Trickzee is a 6’7” transgender with a 70” bust line who wants to be Steve’s next assistant in the worst way.
Do we at Southern Arizona Guide recommend Murder At The Magic Show performed at Five Palms Friday and Saturday evenings? We do.
Murder At The Magic Show Dinner Theater Performed At 5 Palm Restaurant
$75 for show and actor-served dinner
3500 East Sunrise; Tucson AZ