The enormously entertaining 2008 encore presentation
of Joshua Lozoff: Beyond Belief,
produced by Chapel Hill-based Ghost & Spice Productions and
continuing March 28-30 and April 2-6 and 10-12 at Manbites Dog
Theater in Durham, is playing to packed houses — just like
last year. Indeed, tickets are available only for the newly added
April 10-12 performances. (The March 28-30 and April 2-6 performances
are sold out, but
there is a waiting list for each performance. For details, see
Before you can say abracadabra, hocus pocus, or even
shazam, former stage, screen, and television actor-turned-magician
and consummate illusionist Joshua Lozoff has each night’s
audience completely under his spell. His impressive repertoire
of card tricks, often performed with the assistance of a volunteer
or two from the audience, demonstrates an original and very funny
twist to some of the familiar routines performed by generations
of magicians. The plus here is Lozoff’s storytelling skills.
To provide transitions between tricks, Lozoff humorously recounts
his eventful education in the art and craft of close-up magic,
illustrated by a series of color slides projected on an overhead
Nattily attired in a black suit and burgundy shirt,
Joshua Lozoff is the very image of a magician, wiry and intense,
with his jet-black hair and moustache and goatee giving him a look
that, depending upon the lighting, is either pleasantly exotic
or positively diabolical. Indeed, Lozoff had great fun striking
sinister poses to spoof the flamboyant attitudes assumed by some
of his more histrionic peers.
Joshua Lozoff: Beyond Belief begins with
a breezy video prologue, comprised of an amusing series of (wo)man-on-the-street
interviews on the subject of magic. This video and at least one
trick, involving red foam balls that miraculously multiply in a
youthful volunteer’s hands, which are cupped tightly together,
seem to be the only repeated segments from last year’s show.
(These balls are like the title characters in “The Trouble
with Tribbles” episode of the original “Star Trek” TV
Director Melissa Lozoff, who looks quite fetching
in a red harem costume, stages the show with brio and even triumphs
over adversity in a folded-napkin trick in which important things
go hilariously awry while she stands side by side with her husband,
Joshua, mimicking his every move as she tries to duplicate one
of his tricks. She also has enhanced the audience’s enjoyment
of the show with choice bits of monkey business and special lighting
effects and an over-the-magician’s-shoulder camera for viewing
Joshua Lozoff’s card and coin tricks and other spectacular
sleight-of-hand maneuvers on an overhead video screen. Magician’s
assistants Susan Robinson and Mike Fliss also help Joshua and Melissa
Lozoff leaven this unforgettable evening of magic tricks with a
liberal dose of slapstick comedy.
After digging deep into his bag of tricks in Act
One, Lozoff avidly explores the psychic connections between himself
and audience members in Act Two. He literally took Ghost & Spice’s
Thursday-night audience Beyond Belief as he seemingly
read the minds of a series of random volunteers whom he somehow
maneuvered, with his mind, into doing all sorts of things.
Performing on a splendid set by Jeff Alguire, under
the intimate lighting of Andy Parks, Joshua Lozoff and company
convince even the most cynical of reviewers and veteran Triangle
theatergoers that magic is truly afoot in the world. There is an
inscription on the state-government mall side of the Pink Palace
(N.C. Department of Public Instruction building) in downtown Raleigh
that says, “You are suitable to be awed.” Lozoff did
just that for last night’s audience by upping the oh-wow
factor in Beyond Belief until he truly had us all believing
To describe Joshua Lozoff’s tricks in too much
detail would be to rob future audiences of the pleasure of discovering
for themselves the consummate craft and artistry of this marvelous
magician and illusionist, who not only demonstrates his dexterity
and imagination in Joshua Lozoff: Beyond Belief, but seems
also to possess psychic powers that surprise and delight adults
and children alike. Call Manbites Dog Theater today, before all
the remaining tickets for the rest of the run … disappear.
Ghost & Spice
Productions presents Joshua
Lozoff: Beyond Belief Wednesday-Saturday, March
26-29 and April 2-5, at 8:15 p.m.; Sunday, March 30
and April 6, at 3:15 p.m.; and Thursday-Saturday, April 10-12,
at 8:15 p.m. at Manbites Dog Theater, 703 Foster St., Durham,
North Carolina. $15 Wednesday-Thursday and $20 Friday-Sunday.
March 28-30 and April 2-6 performances are SOLD OUT, but there
is a waiting list (see http://www.manbitesdogtheater.org/232/ for
details). 919/682-3343 or click here.
Joshua Lozoff: http://www.deep-magic.com/.
Ghost & Spice
Manbites Dog Theater: http://www.manbitesdogtheater.org/221/.
Joshua Lozoff Interview (from the March 14th broadcast of “The
State of Things” on North Carolina Public Radio): http://wunc.org/tsot/archive/sot0314b08.mp3/view.