High Programmer > Alan De Smet > Rants > Reviews > David Copperfield

David Copperfield

Rating: 6/10 - An overrated blowhard.

David Copperfield is a egomanical blowhard.

To be fair, he's an amazing magician. He does the most impressive stage magic I've ever seen. But his current show, "An Intimate Evening of Grand Illusion" contains too much of Copperfield's self-aggrandizement and too little magic.

Eva and I caught Copperfield's show at the MGM Grand. Only the first 10 or so rows of seats are filled; the back is vacant. Either they're serious about it being an "intimate evening," or Copperfield isn't filling seats like he used to. While we wait for the start time, a large screen in front of the stage shows overlapping snippets of awards and praise Copperfield has received. Several Guinness World Records. How immodest.

A few minutes after the start time the lights finally dim. However, we're not treated to David Copperfield. Instead we're treated to a video of references to popular culture references about Copperfield. Lots of jokes on sitcoms. A Letterman Top Ten List. An extended and deeply unfunny segment of Stroker & Hoop. At no point do we see video or hear audio of Copperfield himself.

After five or so minutes of this it ends and we finally get David Copperfield, in the flesh. As he starts with his tricks, I remember why I was dissatisfied with him when I saw him live as a child: David Copperfield is really, really boring. He spends time slowly wandering through the audience looking for assistants. At one point he brazenly joked that he was just padding out the show as he did so. He brings up assistants who holds a box for a few moments while Copperfield continues his spiel, then sends the assistant back to the audience without having actually participated in the trick.

To further pad his act, Copperfield spends lots of time telling long, boring, irrelevant stories. We spent five minutes hearing a completely pointless story about how his grandfather hated show business but ultimately came to Copperfield's first show anyway.

Apparently this isn't enough padding itself, so mid-show we're treated to another five minute video. Copperfield claimed that the Guinness World Record folks had assembled the video in his honor. Either way, it was more shameless ego-stroking. I came to see David Copperfield live, not to see montage of video of him.

Now in Copperfield's favor, he is an amazing stage magician. His grand illusion is stunning. A solid piece of mind-reading led summoning a car in the middle of a circle of volunteers that extended below the space where the car appeared. Passing through a sheet of steel was simple of still impressive. Disappearing while standing on a thin metal plank fifteen feet over the audience was cool.

Copperfield stumbles on his lesser illusions. Intimate Evening includes the hyped "impregnating a woman on stage" trick. It turns out to be a card trick. The "pregnancy" turns out to simply be a faked sonogram in which the "child" shows the sought card. The disappearance above the audience was a prequel to a claimed live-feed of Perth, Australia where Copperfield appeared. Ultimately it appeared to be simple video trickery to make it appear that Copperfield had taken a photo and some writing from the audience to Perth.

After all the padding you only end up with about a dozen tricks over the span of 90 minutes. There were some great illusions, but I grew tired of waiting between them. All in all, deeply overpriced at $130. If the show had been $60 and half as long while holding the same number of tricks it might be worth it. I certainly won't be seeing Copperfield again. A much better deal is Mac King.

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