STAGE REVIEW : Copperfield’s High-Tech Magic
Illusionist David Copperfield, grinning like a genie, is the Merlin of high-tech magic. Doves, rabbits and a top hat are not his act. Try a Harley Davidson.
That’s Copperfield’s idea of a stage prop. Or check out Copperfield soaring up, up and away like Peter Pan with a young woman from the audience cradled in his arms. This guy’s not from Planet Earth. He’s Clark Kent.
“David Copperfield--Magic for the ‘90s,” enthralling a wall-to-wall crowd at the 2,200-seat Wiltern, owes a lot to special effects and technology, but even more to the spell of open-faced wonder.
Unfurling acts of levitation, premonition and even good old-fashioned card tricks, Copperfield darts and bobs about the stage with an agreeable lack of ego and the illusionary looks of a dashing ‘40s movie star. He plays the house, materializing midway up an aisle, pulling attractive young women from their seats, deftly incorporating them into his wizardry.
The vanishing acts, the themes of flight and a wicked boxful of illusions underscore the reality-bending. In the best number, he plays cards with the late Orson Welles. Musically, Copperfield thinks big, too. The driving sounds of Guns N’ Roses, Van Halen, Peter Gabriel, even Mozart, hurtle this magic into a pulsating ‘90s arena.
But for all the “Star Wars” effects--and none is more cosmic than the “flying” Harley Davidson that ends the show on a great whoop--Copperfield is respectful of magic’s modest origins. This kind of imaginative mix keeps him on a wondrous childhood track.
* “David Copperfield--Magic for the ‘90s,” the Wiltern, 3790 Wilshire Blvd., Today through Saturday, 8 p.m.; Saturday, 4:30 p.m.; Sunday l:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. Ends Sunday. $22.50-$31.50. (213) 380-5005. Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes.