Spidey's Make Believe: Magic of Your Mind mentalism show is audience-adored and fascinating. The Tacoma Arts Live stop on his international tour sells out to an audience more diverse in age and race than most Tacoma shows, and prompts not one but two standing ovations. Though Spidey seems rather reliant on certain terms (“international acclaim,” “wicked sorcerer,” “Apollo Theater,” and “ultimate magic trick,” being especially prominent) he more than earns all the love we (all the audience members) give him. Casual, composed, witty—and indubitably magical, Spidey is a sensation.
A series of Spidey-themed clips open the show, taking so long that one may wonder if the mentalist will actually appear. (He does.) Strutting in over the Ghostbusters theme, he looks appraisingly out at all of us, waiting for clapping to quiet. At last, he speaks.
“Pretty good. Pretty good.” He nods. Silence. “No, yeah, I’m not saying it was bad, I’m just saying that. In Ohio. Well. They saw the little movie, I came out, standing ovation. Straight away.” Somebody snorts. “It’s really nice for the energy of the show, and you know what? I’ll just walk off and… and let’s just. See what happens if…” and he prances off stage.
When Spidey comes back on stage, we are all on our feet, clapping and cheering wildly. There's a giant group “whoo,” a “yeah” or two, and one particularly high pitched “Spidey!”
Who doesn't want an excuse to stand up and make even more noise? From that moment forward, Spidey is adored. All audience participants, according to my optimistic tendencies (and general faith in the universe), are completely random strangers, sometimes self-selected, others chosen pointblank, still others chosen by backwards ball-throw. Yet everyone, anytime, who's on stage with Spidey is supremely comfortable.
When things get crazy, Spidey reassures us, in a caring, almost protective way, that he isn’t being tricky. “Now, this next moment is the moment that people always think I switch the papers or something, but as you can clearly see, my hands are empty and I have no sleeves.”
In moments of suspense, he walks us all through his mental play-by-play: “As we all know, people’s voices get higher as they lie. So listen closely to these voices as I ask everyone to tell me that they didn’t draw this kayak.” And then, helpfully, he keeps the play-by-play going, admitting, “Yeah, I only said that to make the liar overcompensate and show me their deep voice.”
Even better, Spidey is legitimately grateful for the very people that love him so much. In a beautiful moment of emotional openness, he recalls locking himself in his room as a child, practicing simple card tricks over and over. He pauses his show for a second, just to thank all of us for making him more successful than he’d ever dared to dream. One thousand points of adorable.
As for the meat of the show, Spidey’s sleight of hand (or whatever he did; I definitely did not catch it) is objectively phenomenal, and his incessant self-evaluation of tricky moments muddle any code-cracking attempts. He performs a grand total of six superb tricks, all tricks I’d see again in a heartbeat, and still manages to seem mortal.
The work Spidey does isn’t magic, or even tricks, as he explains throughout the show. He is classified as a ‘mentalist’ not a magician, and therefore (supposedly) does not deceive by sleight of hand or distraction. He merely reads minds. But this practice does not seem so mere when he recognizes the name of someone he’s never met! Or telepathically sees and replicates a drawing hidden inside an envelope! Or predicts someone’s birthday to the day!
All in all, the actual trickery of the show is exemplary and fascinating. And Spidey has masterminded an evening that lasts much longer than the ticket price. You’ll find yourself wondering for days and weeks afterwards, “Could he have switched the lemon without my noticing? Does he have prosthetic camera implants in the back of his head? Is he a superhero that can hear thoughts?” Even his propensity for naming past successes does not dim his triumph. We all love everything, and Spidey does indeed deserve the second, doubly grand, standing ovation we give him.
The Teen Editorial Staff is made up of 5 teens who curate the review portion of the TeenTix blog and manage the TeenTix Newsroom. More information about the Teen Editorial Staff can be found HERE.
The TeenTix Press Corps promotes critical thinking, communication, and information literacy through criticism and journalism practice for teens. For more information about the Press Corps program see HERE.