Saturday, August 22, 2009

Andrea Merlyn's Greatest Hits (and Missus) at the Indy Fringe Theatre Festival

I took my oldest daughter to see Taylor Martin's show, Andrea Merlyn's Greatest Hits (and missus!) at the Theatre on the Square 2 stage. It was a full house, and my first chance to see Taylor Martin (née Andrea Merlyn) perform, even though I've known him for over a year.

I enjoyed Taylor's illusions and jokes, and I was impressed by his ability to project his characters into magic. The fact that he did it all in drag made it even more funny. The thing I really liked and appreciated about Taylor's — that should be Andrea, actually — Andrea's show was her ability to recover from audience participants who. . . weren't quite what one would hope for in an audience participant (I can see why magicians will use audience plants instead of pulling people from the audience to help with a trick. Talking to you, Jennifer Sutton! ;-) ).

On the way home, my daughter and I talked about what magic means to a little kid, like her younger brother and sister, and how disappointing it is for kids once they learn that magic truly isn't magic. We talked about how we were both a tiny bit disappointed when we learned that magic was just sleight of hand and trick props. But, as adults and young teenagers, the new joy of magic comes from learning to appreciate the magician.

I saw numerous magicians when I was a kid, but I couldn't tell you a thing about who they were, other than they did cool tricks. But now, as an adult, I watch magicians to see if I can spot how they're doing their tricks. If I can't, they're good. If I can, well, they need to work on it a little more.

Andrea Merlyn let us in on one of her secrets when she showed us how a trick is supposed to work, and how it went down at the Orlando Fringe Theatre Festival. The rest of the tricks were good, but it was Andrea's snappy banter, teasing of the audience members (including one poor guy, Dan, who wasn't as well-versed in Shakespeare's sonnets as he led us to believe). She gave him such grief that she ended up running a sword through his neck in retaliation. (No kidding).

Taylor Martin is this year's only magic show featuring a drag queen who impales audience members on ancient weaponry. With a pedigree like that, you can't go wrong.

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