Vitaly: An Evening of Wonders
Friday, Nov. 9, at 7:30 p.m.
5 St. Anne Street
Tickets: $40. Call 780-459-1542 or www.ticketmaster.ca
Recommended age: eight years and older
No one likes to be fooled – unless he/she watches a master illusionist at work. And then the mysterious feats of awe send our curiosity racing.
Vancouver-based Vitaly Beckman charms audiences with flourish and theatricality. But his real accomplishments are jaw-dropping feats such as when he sends objects teleporting from one bowl to another, erases driver’s licences or changes black and white drawings into three-dimensional colour objects.
Lately the illusionist, who looks like Jerry Seinfeld and sounds like Borat, packed audiences during a 16-week run Off Broadway. From the internet list of gushing reviews, he wowed young and old, rich and poor.
That’s saying something. Since New York audiences see some of the best shows on the planet, they can be tough critics.
Now back in Canada, the crackerjack illusionist drops by the Arden Theatre for a one-off on Friday, Nov. 9, with his celebrated show, Vitaly: An Evening of Wonders.
Born in Belarus, raised in Israel, Beckman immigrated to Canada to join an older brother already living on the West Coast.
“I came here because I had a family connection and because it was the warmest point in Canada. But I also always wanted to perform in New York and make it big in North America,” said Beckman.
As a teenager, he was galvanized by the visual arts, especially movies, and was planning a career in arts and entertainment. Magic was introduced to him via a David Copperfield television special.
“I was really curious. I wanted to see if I could figure things out. The more I tried to duplicate the ideas, the more I saw how deep it truly was. And when I started to create my own illusions, I saw how beautiful it could be,” Beckman said.
Illusionists vary from intimate pickpocket magicians to headline-grabbing mass-market television showmen. Beckman walks his own path.
“I try to do unique things. I’m not interested in doing general magic that has already been done. I don’t see the point. A lot of what I do comes from my childhood dreams. In my dreams I would see paintings come alive. And I saw potential in music and thought I could make it come alive.”
Unlike many young individuals trying to develop the craft of magic, Beckman did not have a mentor.
“I had to discover through trial and error. Also, there was no internet at the time, and it was a long process. But it made me more original. I had to think differently and it was a blessing in disguise.”
Prepare for a two-act, 90-minute show filled with sleight-of-hand tricks, mentalist feats, video projects and intimate-scale magic.