Magic Show Snap Crackles with mind-blowing tricks

When you combine fast-paced physical comedy with stylish magic, you’ve got a winning show for kids. That sums up Break, a delicious new show from South Korea whose seven performers know how to make youngsters scream, aah and laugh out loud. With humor reminiscent of Laurel and Hardy, and an impressive series of illusions packed into 70 minutes, Breakcurrently taking place at the New Victory Theatre, will have kids ages 6 and up squealing with excitement.

Three “Tricksters” (CS Choi, Young Min Lee and Jeong-seok Mun), dressed in Chaplinesque and bowler costumes, set the playful tone of the show with some laugh-out-loud illusions, one of which involves a red silk handkerchief that seems to come to life and fly away as they chase him. Other acts follow one another quickly. Choi makes shadow puppets on a screen that appear to knock over solid objects before a secret door is revealed that leads the three of them into a dream world.

This is where the antics of the Tricksters intertwine with the individual acts performed by four other illusionists. The florist (Chang-min Lee) stands center stage like a majestic tree and appears to be sprouting colorful playing cards from his hands as if sprouting an endless number of leaves. Later, the Oddball (Young-ju Kim) performs impressive juggling form in a sequence called “The Oddball at the Crossroads”. Her steampunk outfit is somewhat inspired by costume design by Keun Su Cho and YM Kim.

CS Choi, Young-min Lee and Jeong-seok Mun play the Tricksters in Break.
(© Taewon Kim)

Young-min Kim plays the most brilliant and showy alchemist of the group. He produces rings from his long robe which disintegrate into swirls of glitter. Although hypnotic, his performance is marred by a slightly less dexterous sleight of hand than his teammates. But kids love the Dreamer (Ted Kim), who wears a white jumpsuit that seems to change its appearance when projections (designed by Tae Won Kim) shine on him. Playing with cartoon images, the Dreamer transforms into one of the Mario Brothers and interacts with the images that scroll across the stage.

Despite some lulls in the action when the Florist and Alchemist take the stage, the Tricksters keep things moving at a fast pace with their own routines. One involves Young Min Lee opening a book that shoots flames into the air, eliciting a delighted gasp from the audience. The show’s unique storyline (by Casa Kim) and fun special effects will keep most kids interested and even talking on stage (it’s OK at the New Vic). Break makes a great introduction to the world of stage magic and illusions with a cast that knows how to amuse and amaze young imaginations – and the adult audiences might be more than a little intrigued, too.

CS Choi tries to run away from a hand that comes to life from a painting in the “Haunted Atelier” scene in Break.
(© Taewon Kim)

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Brian L. Hartfield