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MAC KING

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Harrah's

3475 Las Vegas Blvd. S.

Las Vegas, NV 89109

800-427-7247

website

$33-$44

Tue-Sat 1 & 3pm

Comedy/Magic

A

AT A GLANCE

What is it?

A small comedy-magic show with a huge entertainment value featuring jaw-dropping sleight of hand tricks and lots of laughter.

Where is it?

In a medium-sized showroom at Harrah's on the Center Strip.

Is it worth the cost?

Absolutely. It would be worth it at twice the price.

Why should I see this show?

Because you want to see one of the best shows in Las Vegas.

What else do I need to know?

You can sometimes find discount tickets online, in local magazines, or being handed out in front of the hotel.

What's the bottom line?

A must-see show.

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FULL REVIEW

I have been saying this for years, but every time I go back to Mac King's Comedy Magic show at Harrah's I have to say it again: this is one of the best shows in Las Vegas and without a doubt the best entertainment value in town.

This was my fourth or fifth time seeing it - I have lost count - but every single time I am entertained in ways that shows that are twice the size and five times the price don't. He keeps the show fresh with new comedy material and illusions but even the stuff I have seen before still amuses and amazes. How the hell does he get the goldfish in the brandy snifter?

You'll note that the title puts the word Comedy before Magic and this is at once important and deceptive. It's important because King puts humor at the forefront, drawing his audiences in with a genial, good-natured comedic style that delivers out-loud laughs. It's deceptive because it can make you not notice how brilliant of an illusionist he is.

Mac King eschews the grandiose smoke and mirrors type of magic that most of the acts in this town have beaten into a virtual parody of the genre. Really, is anyone impressed by the levitating showgirl or whirling blades of death anymore? I'm always looking for the wires and the hydraulics and the sleight of hand with the big spectacle illusions instead of being impressed by the overall affect. Watching Mac King make a goldfish appear in a brandy snifter or making a supposedly burned $100 bill reappear in a surprising place is more entertaining than whatever gigantic thing David Copperfield is making disappear this week.

Of course the tricks that King performs are nothing ground breaking - the mysterious rope that regenerates itself, a host of card tricks and other sleight of hand - but this style of up close magic will make you look at the art form with a fresh appreciation.

A couple of examples: King gets a pair of hapless audience members on stage for an extended bit that involved playing cards and rain poncho that provides him with "powers of invisibility." It sounds silly and it is but it had the audience rolling in the proverbial aisles and surprised everyone - perhaps as much because of the fact that magic could still be surprising. Another bit involves a Quaker Oats cannister, a wadded up ball of paper, and... well, I don't want to spoil the punchline of that one but it's fun and funny, trust me.

And that, more than anything, is what makes Mac King's show so terrific. By infusing a healthy dose of laughter into the proceedings, King takes away your inhibitions and lets you enjoy the entertainment of magic again. After all, it's hard to be suspicious when you're laughing that much.

So, even before we start talking about the price, King's show is a winner. But add to the mix that low ticket cost for this much fun and it's a no-brainer. Plus, you can often find discount coupons in local magazines or at the hotel that get the cost even lower.

There are a bunch of shows I have seen multiple times and usually I start to grow tired of them - the Blue Man Group is a good example of one that I loved the first time I saw it but by the third time was like, "Okay, they're blue, I get it." I think I could see Mac King another five or six times and never grow tired of it. If that's not magic, I don't know what is.

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