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Topic: Review: Greg Frewin's dinner theatre performance (Niagara Falls)
Message: Posted by: EndersGame (Mar 17, 2008 04:33PM)
My wife and I caught [url=http://youtube.com/watch?v=yXB_7OhwZ_E]Greg Frewin's show[/url] on a Friday evening just over a week ago. Comments have been made about his show [url=http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=238894&forum=7]elsewhere[/url] by others, here's my review:

The short version: fantastic! 9.5/10!

The long version:

PRICE:

We'd got a package deal in conjunction with our hotel accommodation, the [url=http://www.nfcourtyard.com/]Niagara Falls Courtyard Hotel by Marriott[/url]. For an extra $30 in addition to our two night hotel stay, we got two tickets to see Greg Frewin’s show. We’d planned on going anyway, and would have been happy to pay $50 each. The hotel was within five minutes walking distance of the theatre, and offers a fantastic hot buffet breakfast, so I highly recommend it. For $10 each, we were able to upgrade our seats to Level 1 orchestra seats at the very front - well worth the extra cost to be so close. Normal prices are $40-50 per seat. But it's high class entertainment, and in my opinion, you get good value for what you pay. I have absolutely no regrets, it's money well worth spending.

There’s an extra bonus that comes with staying at the Marriott hotel – they appear to have some contract with [url=http://www.larryhitchcock.com/]Larry Hitchcock[/url], a local magician. He does table hopping in their restaurant (we got to meet him over breakfast, where he was walking around doing effects like Ambitious Card, Hammond’s Twins, the Color Changing Knives, Crazy Man’s Handcuffs and other Rubber Band magic, sponge routine. He also does a nightly magic show which is free for guests at the Marriott. I didn’t get a chance to see his show, but I liked what I saw over breakfast, so I figured I’d put a plug in for him as well.

As well as the evening performances, there are occasionally afternoon matinee shows, and special events - check the [url=http://www.gregfrewintheatre.com]gregfrewintheatre.com website[/url] for details.

DINNER BUFFET

Since the building is designed as a [url=http://www.gregfrewintheatre.com/]dinner theatre[/url], we were able to enjoy a [url=http://www.gregfrewintheatre.com/menu.html]buffet meal[/url] at a cost of $25 each ($12.50 for kids age 12 and under). The buffet started at 6:30pm, with the performance at 8:00pm. The buffet is well worth considering, for two reasons:
1. The food is excellent. I'm a real carnivore, and there were some delicious chicken dishes, roast beef, and salmon, along with vegetables, potatoes, and several salads, along with coffee and tea. There was a selection of desserts, all of which were outstanding. It's not cheap, but do get high class food. I think that not much more than a dozen people had booked the buffet dinner on the same evening as us, but they all seemed to enjoy the food as we did.
2. You get priority choice of seating. Guests who have the buffet get first choice of seats. We had paid for orchestra seats, but since we were virtually the first ones to show up, we were allowed to choose our seats, and so we were seated at a table right at the front slightly right/center of the front of the stage. Getting priority seating is an extra bonus that comes with the buffet.

ATTENDANCE

Other patrons started dribbling into the theatre after 7:15pm. The theatre has all seating around tables, which creates a dinner like atmosphere that is casual and pleasant. Servers offer drinks to patrons ahead of the show. The night we had booked was a particularly bad snowstorm, with 50 cm of snow forecast for the rest of that evening and next day! It had already started snowing heavily ahead of the show, and my wife and I were a little afraid that it might get cancelled. Fortunately, this didn't happen, and despite the poor weather conditions, there were approximately 350 people in attendance! I gather that the theatre has room for about 500 people (seating is tiered into sections, and I gather that all seats offer good viewing), so considering the weather and time of year, that's excellent. One of the staff indicated that some performances in a couple of months time are already sold out, so that's good news for Greg.

Ahead of the show, the manager (Robert?) was mingling with guests in the orchestra section, offering friendly conversation. He asked what we thought of the food, and during the intermission he asked what we thought of the performance. Very personal and friendly, and a nice touch – thank you for making us feel welcome, Robert, and showing that you were genuinely interested in what your guests thought!

THE SHOW

You'll find some more reviews of the show [url=http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=238894&forum=7]in this thread[/url]. The basic content hasn’t changed. Here's a clip with some [url=http://youtube.com/watch?v=yXB_7OhwZ_E]highlights[/url]: http://youtube.com/watch?v=yXB_7OhwZ_E

Here's the list of illusions (with links to video clips of the various effects, mostly by other performers) that were performed on the night we were in attendance:
1: [url=http://www.metacafe.com/watch/538690/greg_frewin/]Dove routine[/url]
2: [url=http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=ElyjLGyF7xo]Crusher illusion[/url]
3: Sword Basket Illusion (two assistants and tiger appear from basket pierced with burning torches)
4: Girls to Tiger
5: [url=http://youtube.com/watch?v=Lgm9lgQsiII]What's Next[/url] (Domino Dots)
6: Chuck the Duck Illusion = Copperfield’s Slo Mo [url=http://youtube.com/watch?v=-zIpiuCeHCg]Webster[/url])
7: Grandma's Attic (Tip-over trunk, De Colta Chair, Appearing on Table)
8: Levitation and [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01wXu_XkuxE]Snow Illusion[/url]
9: Box Illusion (girl transposes to in the box then Greg appear on the box then a Tiger appear in the box)
10: [url=http://youtube.com/watch?v=-zIpiuCeHCg]Origami[/url]
11: Ultimate Fate = Escape from Arrows Illusion
12: [url=http://youtube.com/watch?v=Pj7CsypMxgU]Vanishing Bandana[/url]
13: Director = [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzAOdHQ3_ok]Things That Go Bump in the Night[/url]
14: Shrouded Transition (switches places with assistant inside box)
15: Candles, Silks and Big Bird routine

There was also a $100 to $1 bill switch somewhere in the routine. Greg requested a US $100 from a spectator, and only when the spectator was on stage did he discover that the spectator had misunderstood and it was a Cdn $100! He did the bill switch anyway, and we were fortunate enough to be the closest to the action, since Greg sat on a stool in front of a video camera right next to us, which transmitted a large image to a giant screen so that everyone could see it.

One of my favourites was the sword basket illusion. When the assistant reappeared out of the box after the flaming torches had been pierced through it, I was not surprised – but I certainly was surprised when the second assistant appeared out of the same box, and then the tiger! His sleight of hand with some of the more close-up effects was also very good – I really enjoyed the introductory dove routine and the closing routine with candles and silks (reminded me somewhat of [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVcyiw-kmqU]Lance Burton[/url]).

All in all, there was great quality and variety. There was some close-up (Bill Switch), some comedy (Chuck the Duck, Vanishing Bandana), some dove work, but the biggest part of the performance were the larger scale illusions. The work with birds was especially outstanding, and the choreography with the music was superb. The performance was excellent, Greg rarely missed a beat, and his persona and charm really are what makes the magic work. I think it’s the combination of the quality and variety of the magic, along with Greg Frewin’s persona that make his act so special. He has a great sense of humor, and although some of it was clearly rehearsed, much of his interaction with spectators at several points was ad lib. He seems to have a particular fondness for puns – and since this is a brand of humor I personally enjoy immensely, I really appreciated his style.

EXTRAS

The assistants: I’d been given the impression ahead of time that one could expect considerable time watching the “dancing girls” and Vegas style dancing routines in between acts. I was a little uncomfortable about this, because I wasn’t very enthusiastic about bringing my wife to a show with women in skimpy clothes cavorting around. I’m glad to report that this wasn’t as bad as I expected – the dancing only happened on a couple of occasions, and for the most part the two assistants were decently dressed and appropriately covered. It’s definitely family friendly.

The magic store: The show started late (around 8:15pm), and lasted about 90 minutes altogether, and included a 15 minute intermission, I seem to recall that we were out the door (and into the snowstorm!) shortly before 10pm. There’s also a small magic store, offering goods for sale during the intermission and afterwards – there were a couple of introductory magic sets ($35-50) that seemed to be of good quality (metal cups and balls, and several other good items), Svengali decks with DVD, D’lites, and some stuffed tigers.

The photo op: After the show, guests had the opportunity to have a photo taken of them alongside a tiger in the same cage. The photo is an illusion, of course, but it was popular. Great concept!

The meet and greet: In the lobby Greg took the time to meet people and autograph merchandise and pictures. We had the opportunity to chat briefly – clearly he’s a man of charm, and knows how to handle people and crowds. It’s nice to know he’s willing to take the time to come off the stage and be personable.

THE VERDICT

Niagara Falls has lots of ways for you to spend your money. You can waste your money at the casino, or burn it with some thrills on Clifton Hill. But I can’t think of a better way to spend your money than Greg Frewin’s show. And let’s face it, you plan on buying a meal anyway, so you may as well have dinner there too, because the food is good. Many of the tourist attractions in Niagara Falls are cheesy money grabs, but Greg Frewin’s show is certainly one of the higher class acts. So if you live in the area or are travelling to the area, it’s definitely worthwhile! I gather that there have been previous attempts to bring magic to add to the ritz and attractions at Niagara Falls, but none have been successful. I think Greg Frewin will be. He’s got a long term 20 year contract, so he’s in for the long haul, and he has the quality to make this work. As his name and reputation gets more and more established (and I’m sure it will!), I expect tickets will be harder to come by, and maybe prices will go up. Greg is Canadian born (Hamilton, Ontario), and we Canucks can be glad he’s decided to make Niagara Falls his home, rather than staying in Vegas. Bravo Greg Frewin!
Message: Posted by: The Drake (Mar 17, 2008 04:39PM)
Thanks Topov,

that's quite a review there. Thanks for posting.

Best,

Tim

Day 17
Message: Posted by: Lyndel (Mar 17, 2008 05:36PM)
That was a great review! Especially since the wife and I are planning a Niagra Falls trip in the near future! I am so there!


Lyndel
Message: Posted by: Christopher Starr (Mar 17, 2008 08:19PM)
Excellent review - makes me wish that I could visit.
Message: Posted by: hugmagic (Mar 18, 2008 07:43AM)
Great Review. I also have a trip planned to see the show having worked with Greg many times.

But I will wait for warmer weather. I don't want to get snowed in Buffalo.

Richard
Message: Posted by: Magicque (Mar 18, 2008 11:28AM)
Is he using James snowstool?
Eric
Message: Posted by: RSD (Mar 18, 2008 12:13PM)
No he does it the old school way.
Message: Posted by: Christian Illusionist (Mar 18, 2008 01:29PM)
He is similar to Kirby Van Buch in his after-show habits as Kirby also goes to the back of the theatre to talk, pose with guests for pictures, and sign autographs by his magic store (one of the better stocked in Branson from what I could see).

Greg Frewin sounds like he has a great show, something to be seen!
Message: Posted by: DanielSteep (Mar 18, 2008 05:28PM)
Can anyone say.. Café at frewin theatre day??
Message: Posted by: Illucifer (Mar 18, 2008 05:37PM)
So, is the Slo-Mo duck bit not exclusive to Copperfield? I was under the impression that it was.
Message: Posted by: DanielSteep (Mar 18, 2008 08:12PM)
Illucifer,

Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe the 'slo-mo duck' bit was originally designed and performed by Bill Smith.

Daniel
Message: Posted by: Christian Illusionist (Mar 18, 2008 08:23PM)
[quote]
On 2008-03-18 18:37, Illucifer wrote:
So, is the Slo-Mo duck bit not exclusive to Copperfield? I was under the impression that it was.
[/quote]

I had the same question.

I know there have been issues with performers using Copperfield's effects before and it usually results in an agreement for the performer to discontinue using the effect or a lawsuit.
Message: Posted by: The Drake (Mar 18, 2008 08:39PM)
To my knowledge the Duck Bucket is not exclusive to Copperfield. I saw Dirk Arthur do it recently and also note it is for sale here..

http://www.houseofenchantment.com/pages/duck%20bucket.html

here

http://daytonamagic.com/Stage%20Magic/STG14.htm

and here

http://www.dazzlingmagic.com/livestock_magic_2.htm

This was a quick Google search. It seems to be a very common routine.

Best,

Tim

Day 18
Message: Posted by: Wade Live (Mar 18, 2008 08:43PM)
Is the "slo mo" part Copperfields? That is makes the routine sooo funny!!
Message: Posted by: Mad Jack (Mar 18, 2008 08:44PM)
I know that the Duck Bucket is a standard prop, but using the bucket, and doing the whole slow-mo routine is a different story. I too was under the impression that DC had created this. I would be very interested if anyone else had some imput (not that I would do it. I don't do animals)

MJ
Message: Posted by: hugmagic (Mar 19, 2008 08:39AM)
Bill Smith originally did the Webster routine (including the name of the duck). He gave David the routine to use but I don't know if it was exclusive or not.

Ed Alonzo does the Duck bucket as does Larry Wilson and several other pros.
Richard
Message: Posted by: The Drake (Mar 19, 2008 09:56AM)
Quick Update:

I just checked and YES Greg is performing an authorized version of the effect.

Best,

Tim

Day 19
Message: Posted by: Illucifer (Mar 19, 2008 10:40AM)
Authorized by who, Tim? Bill Smith?
Message: Posted by: The Drake (Mar 19, 2008 11:04AM)
[quote]
On 2008-03-19 11:40, Illucifer wrote:
Authorized by who, Tim? Bill Smith?
[/quote]

I didn't ask. I just asked if it was authorized. If you want the full history you'll have to stay tuned until I find out.'

Best,

Tim

Day 19
Message: Posted by: Laszlo Csizmadi (Mar 19, 2008 11:20AM)
Excellent review Topov much better than mine was. :)
I don't think anyone patented the "slo mo" routine. However if it's Bill Smith routine he could confirm.
I gave the same link in my former review for the Crusher (second illusion) and I got corrected that isn't the Crusher what Greg does. What kind of Crusher Greg use because it looks similar?

Best,

Las
Message: Posted by: mvmagic (Mar 19, 2008 12:50PM)
[quote]
On 2008-03-19 12:20, laci200 wrote:
What kind of Crusher Greg use because it looks similar?
[/quote]

If I am not mistaken, it is Greg's version of Bo-Staff illusion.


Day 19
Message: Posted by: Johnnie Blaze (Mar 19, 2008 12:58PM)
Greg's version is called Squisher.. he had one blue which was sold to M Barefoote, he then built himself a new red one which he still uses to this day.
hope this helps
John
Message: Posted by: magicjoe (Mar 19, 2008 01:17PM)
Great review!!!

I also soaw him over the summer and it really is a reat show and the food is good to!!!!

Joe
Message: Posted by: Alexx Argen (Mar 19, 2008 02:03PM)
Well since I live somewhat close by I would be down for a Café at frewin theatre day. I also have some friends who would be down for that too.
Message: Posted by: The Drake (Mar 19, 2008 02:12PM)
[quote]
On 2008-03-19 15:03, Alexx Argen wrote:
Well since I live somewhat close by I would be down for a Café at frewin theatre day. I also have some friends who would be down for that too.
[/quote]

We did that a few years ago and had a blast. I don't know how easy it'd be to organize again now that the theatre is so busy these days.

BTW.. don't call it Café Day lest you hear from an upset Steve Brooks. (as I did) Call it Magicians Day instead..LOL.

Best,

Tim

Day 19
Message: Posted by: Johnnie Blaze (Mar 19, 2008 02:32PM)
I am pretty sure something could be arranged , providing it was not during his busy season. june july august sept.. he does have available dates in april. and Greg being the good guy that he is would probably even put on an extra show if need be .. so try to see what you can do to arrange a date.
how many peeps would be interested?
anyone?
I will do what I can to help
John
Message: Posted by: The Drake (Mar 19, 2008 02:37PM)
Hi John,

Scheduling is the most difficult for me. I'll be on the road for all of April but don't let that stop anyone. I can see the show anytime as I am only a few hrs away.

Is spring or summer a good time frame for anyone? Summer is usually more open for me.

Best,

Tim

Day 19
Message: Posted by: Christian Illusionist (Mar 19, 2008 02:45PM)
[quote]
On 2008-03-19 12:04, Timothy Drake wrote:
[quote]
On 2008-03-19 11:40, Illucifer wrote:
Authorized by who, Tim? Bill Smith?
[/quote]

I didn't ask. I just asked if it was authorized. If you want the full history you'll have to stay tuned until I find out.'

Best,

Tim

Day 19
[/quote]

I'll stay tuned for sure!

I'd be very interested to hear who owns the rights to the full routine and if rights are available for purchase.
Message: Posted by: Johnnie Blaze (Mar 19, 2008 02:46PM)
We could do it in the summer or whenever you decide is best for everyone. like I said if there is enough interest another show could always be added, so lets start with getting an approximate number of interested participants. a date, I will do what I can to help but unfortunately my time is limited , but I will do my best
John
Message: Posted by: The Drake (Mar 19, 2008 03:24PM)
[quote]
On 2008-03-19 11:40, Illucifer wrote:
Authorized by who, Tim? Bill Smith?
[/quote]

Yes. The rights were obtained via Bill Smith.

Best,

Tim

Day 19
Message: Posted by: DanielSteep (Mar 19, 2008 10:57PM)
Im in. just need a date.. preferably summer.
Message: Posted by: EndersGame (Mar 20, 2008 11:15PM)
For those unfamiliar with what Greg Frewin's performance looks like, here are two video clips. I believe both are from the World's Greatest Magic TV specials:

1. This first clip is from around 1994? Greg opens his show with a dove and rope routine that is basically the same as this, even the music is the same. This clip will give you an idea of his personal and style, and the routine is just as magical today as it was then:
http://www.metacafe.com/watch/538690/greg_frewin

2. For his second appearance on World's Greatest Magic, Greg performed Twister, as seen here. Although this particular illusion is not part of his current show, it's well worth watching:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KF_iKYRE5YI

By the way, I also posted my lengthy review at tripadvisor.com here:
http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g154998-d575869-r14349506-Greg_Frewin_Theatre-Niagara_Falls_Ontario.html
I'm not that familiar with that particular site (another Magic Café member suggested that I post the review there), but it seems that you can vote it "helpful" in order to give it a higher profile there, if you believe it merits that.
Message: Posted by: jocdoc (Mar 28, 2008 02:12AM)
Wow - can't wait to see the show next week during the Niagra Comedy Magic Seminar!


jeff in san diego
http://www.medicine-in-motion.com
Message: Posted by: JustFor Fun (Mar 28, 2008 11:12PM)
Great review. I had the good fortune to see Greg's show over Labor Day weekend, 2006. I took my boys, ages 7, 9 and 11 at the time, and they absolutely loved it! (As did I.) Well worth the time and money - the kids still talk about the show.
Message: Posted by: kendavis (Mar 30, 2008 05:09PM)
I saw Greg Frewin's show the first summer it opened. It was similar to that described above except the dinner was a sit down dinner and not a buffet. The food and show was excellent. It was a nice relief from several days of watching water flow over the falls. He was having a tough time drawing crowds back then. I am glad to hear that he is still going and doing well.

His family and friends have put a lot of effort and money into his theater. The result is a quality production that will please children, adults, and magicians. I highly recommend it.

Three cheers for Frewin and continued success!
Message: Posted by: Hanno (Jun 20, 2018 06:42AM)
Any updates of the show? is it still playing and is it successful now after 10 years?