Highly Recommended **** The Doctor is in! At least until Christmas (December 24th), at The Royal George Cabaret on North Halsted Street. The doctor is not here to practice medicine, but to bring his magic to Chicago. Doctor Ricardo Rosenkranz is a professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine . Being fascinated by magic in his youth, he has continued to study and master many of the ancient illusions and bring them to his instructions as a way of engaging his students and making them use their minds in a unique manor. After earning awards for his unique teaching methods, the Doctor decided that this might be the perfect time to hang his “other” shingle on a local venue allowing him to share his magic with Chicago theater audiences.
The Royal George Cabaret space, located at the rear of the building located at 1641 N. Halsted, seemed like the perfect space. It is an intimate space, and after removing some of the chairs and changing over to tables along the stage area, it made the space perfect to create the magic that the good “Doctor” performs. If you have been witness to The Magic Parlour”, a masterpiece performed by Dennis Watkins at The Palmer House, you will see that this space has the same type of intimacy as that show. Dr. Rosenkranz is able to bring audience members into the illusions that he performs and even allows the tricks to be examined, “up-close-and-personal”!
We attended tonight, bringing our out-of-town cousin with us. Mel loves magic and goes to all types of magic shows/performances. Just as we were, Mel was greatly impressed by the illusions that the good doctor created and performed for us. When I use “created” that is just the best way to describe what a magician does. Understand that a great deal of what they do is story build as a lead in to the trick itself. One of the reasons is called “diversion”. While we are watching what they are doing, that is NOT the actual illusion, and listening to their story of the past or their family, we are being drawn away from the movement of the magician allowing the hands to be quicker than the eyes.
The show, by the way, was billed as 90 minutes, but evidently they have added a 15 minute intermission, causing the show to be two acts and a total time of 105 minutes. This allows them to sell a few extra drinks, and the patrons to use the facilities. That being said, I must tell you that the magic in this performance (hard to call it a show or play) is unique, different and well done. I would hate to spoil any surprises and mysteries that you will see so I can only tell you that the show is a bit slow in the first section as we learn more about the Doctor and his students. There are some amazing illusions, such as the water bowl trick, the 7 letter blocks in a box (you will not believe this one), the skull assistant, Balsamo, who can determine dates and times, and the magic art box where a patron is brought to life on paper (mind-boggling).
The show (and script ) were created by Eugene Burger, Jessica Fisch and Ricardo Rosenkranz. The magic consultants for the show are Ross Johnson and Johnny Thompson. Jeff McBride is the chief magic consultant. Jennifer Kules (lighting), Chip Von Weise (scenic design), John Gaughan (prop construction) and Jan Rose and Jordan Wright (magic team) round out the technical aspects of the show. It seems a magician, no matter how good, needs a strong team to make it all happen, on time, every time! This crew did an exceptional job! While the Doc is not as proficient in his bedside manner (story-telling itself) and the continuity of the stories that lead to the illusions are not as powerful as others in his field, his illusions are indeed “magical” and worth the trip to The Royal George!
“The Rosenkranz Mysteries” will continue thru the 24th with performances as follows:
Fridays 8 p.m.
Saturdays 2 and 8 p.m.
Sundays 2 p.m.
Tickets are $50 and table seats (4 to a table) $75
They can be purchased at the box office, by calling 312-988-9000 or by visiting www.ticketmaster.com
Dr. Magic, welcome to Chicago Theater. Perhaps, with a little help, you will decide to run longer allowing more patrons to partake in the magic you weave.
To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-Up and click at “The Rosenkranz Mysteries”