David Gerard Conjures a Funny, Magical Evening
by Kim Waldron
Hip, improvisational, non-stop laughter—words not usually associated with a magician and mind reader, are they? But nothing less will do for David Gerard’s current show, “Signs,” at PianoFight in San Francisco.
Dressed simply in black, the slim Gerard begins with self-deprecating banter and rope tricks. Within a minute, he charms us. His non-stop words keep us laughing as we marvel at his flawless execution of the impossible. Very soon we trust him, and good thing we do, since much of the audience, at one time or another is, ever-so-gently, brought into the act.
The magic action gets a lot more complex than the rope tricks. Gerard pulls out the familiar decks of cards, rings, and dollar bills over the course of the show, true enough; but they get mixed with mind-reading, which takes us to interesting and impossible, places.
Gerard dances back and forth across the stage, then dashes into the audience, and then back to the stage, pulling off one stunning feat after another. All the while, he keeps us giggling with his wisecracks.
Gerard, grand-illusionist and comic, divides his performance into discrete sections, each with its own subject: Coincidence, memory, darkness, and fate. He teases us with wisps of information about his past and family. A few times he briefly and indirectly hints at how he accomplishes his mind-reading. It’s tantalizing.
His warmth and frankness are as compelling as his professional skills and quick wit in adapting to circumstance. We believe he cares about what he does—magic and illusion—and he wants us to love it, too.
Although the humor is sophisticated, he stops at crossing over to remarks that would be unacceptable for kids—anyone ten or over will be fine, here. A rare treat—one of the few shows in town an adult can enjoy equally with the kids. Even teenagers will be astonished at what this man can do with a can of Diet Pepsi.
I am no regular fan of magic, but I do love to laugh and enjoy an intelligent performance. While “real” is also not the usual adjective to apply to a magician-mind reader, this is the real deal.
“Signs” points the way to a new age of “Magic” as Gerard entwines comedy with magic. See “Signs” for a night of fun and fantasy.
“Signs” by David Gerard, at PianoFight, 144 Taylor St., San Francisco, Wednesdays, November 1 & 15, only. Info: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cast: David Gerard.