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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Grand illusion » » Review: Greg Frewin's dinner theatre performance (Niagara Falls) (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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EndersGame
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My wife and I caught Greg Frewin's show on a Friday evening just over a week ago. Comments have been made about his show elsewhere 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 Niagara Falls Courtyard Hotel by Marriott. 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 Larry Hitchcock, 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 gregfrewintheatre.com website for details.

DINNER BUFFET

Since the building is designed as a dinner theatre, we were able to enjoy a buffet meal 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 in this thread. The basic content hasn’t changed. Here's a clip with some highlights: 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: Dove routine
2: Crusher illusion
3: Sword Basket Illusion (two assistants and tiger appear from basket pierced with burning torches)
4: Girls to Tiger
5: What's Next (Domino Dots)
6: Chuck the Duck Illusion = Copperfield’s Slo Mo Webster)
7: Grandma's Attic (Tip-over trunk, De Colta Chair, Appearing on Table)
8: Levitation and Snow Illusion
9: Box Illusion (girl transposes to in the box then Greg appear on the box then a Tiger appear in the box)
10: Origami
11: Ultimate Fate = Escape from Arrows Illusion
12: Vanishing Bandana
13: Director = Things That Go Bump in the Night
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 Lance Burton).

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!
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BoardGameGeek reviewer EndersGame - click here to see all my pictorial reviews: => Magic Reviews <==> Playing Card Reviews <==> Board Game Reviews <==

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The Drake
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Thanks Topov,

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

Best,

Tim

Day 17
Lyndel
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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
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Christopher Starr
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Excellent review - makes me wish that I could visit.
hugmagic
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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
Richard E. Hughes, Hughes Magic Inc., 352 N. Prospect St., Ravenna, OH 44266 (330)296-4023
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Magicque
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Is he using James snowstool?
Eric
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No he does it the old school way.
Christian Illusionist
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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!
We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams.
DanielSteep
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Can anyone say.. Café at frewin theatre day??
Illucifer
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So, is the Slo-Mo duck bit not exclusive to Copperfield? I was under the impression that it was.
It's all in the reflexes.
DanielSteep
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Illucifer,

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

Daniel
Christian Illusionist
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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.


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.
We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams.
The Drake
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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
Wade Live
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Is the "slo mo" part Copperfields? That is makes the routine sooo funny!!
Mad Jack
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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
hugmagic
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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
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Write direct as I will be turning off my PM's.
The Drake
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Quick Update:

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

Best,

Tim

Day 19
Illucifer
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Authorized by who, Tim? Bill Smith?
It's all in the reflexes.
The Drake
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Quote:
On 2008-03-19 11:40, Illucifer wrote:
Authorized by who, Tim? Bill Smith?


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
Laszlo Csizmadi
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Excellent review Topov much better than mine was. Smile
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
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