Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Ilene Lieber made me aware of Magic and Mayhem which is an award winning dinner show at Sheraton Vistana Resort in Lake Buena Vista (8800 Vistana Centre Drive, Orlando, FL 32821). The Resort was just one block away from where Disney put me up when I first came to Orlando as an animation intern. The show is in a new venue, the Fountains Recreation Center, home of the Tacky Tiki Grill and Bar. The magic happens in the Fountains Room just inside the main doors. I arrived about half an hour early to get a jump on the sketch. James Songster, the show's founder and director was at the door to welcome me. Performing with James that night was Art Thomas the managing producer of Magic and Mayhem. 0n some nights James's son Joshua performs in Art's place. Both James and Art worked at Disney and that background inspires the family friendly show.
James founded Magic and Mayhem in 1997. Each year, Magic and Mayhem Productions presents over 400 performances of engaging, family-friendly and theatrical comedy magic at a variety of venues including festivals, special events and banquets. In addition, they also offer corporate workshops and seminars where they provide custom magic-based team building exercises. Before the show, James and I had a talk about how magic is experiencing a bit of a revival on TV. The winner of last season's "America's Got Talent" was a magician. He didn't do lavish show stopping tricks but rather interacted one on one with the judges. In an age of constant social media, I think people are hungry for more direct and intimate forms of entertainment. This is exactly what Magic and Mayhem offers.
Just before the doors opened, someone wished James,"Good luck." A waitress was putting out large pitchers of drinks on the tables. She set a tray on a table and lifted the pitcher which was keeping the tray in balance. Drinks, glasses and ice cubes crashed to the floor. This was clearly the Mayhem portion of the show. Never tell a performer "good luck" the results can be disastrous. Tell them "break a leg" or "merde" instead. Broken glass was still being swept up as guests arrived.
The show itself went off without a hitch. Art worked as James's straight man and at times a doubting Thomas. One particularly humorous act involved James recreating a vaudeville act his father used to do. It involved two yellow cylinders. Inside one cylinder James placed a wine bottle and in the other he placed a cup. After shouting a magical invocation, he glanced in the cylinders and dramatically announced that the glass and bottle had switched places. He took a dramatic bow. Art however, pointed out that the audience had never seen the items after the switch. As they argued about it, the magic became real.
One act involved the participation of a beautiful female volunteer. It was essentially a card trick in which James guessed which card his volunteer had picked. What astonished me was that a clear balloon was blown up and somehow the card appeared inside the balloon. Little kids in the audience would shout with delight. I was just as swept away. It is the little things that amaze me.
For more information on Magic and Mayhem’s comedy magic show offerings, appearances, workshops and for booking inquiries to be a part of your next special event, call 407-222-4412 or visit www.MagicandMayhemShow.com. Sadly, only guests who are staying at the Sheraton are able to see the Dinner show. It would be nice if there was a venue where locals could experience some magic for themselves.
Magic And Mayhem was named #1 Dinner Show By Orlando A-List.