Asi Wind’s Inner Circle is simply awesome and mind-boggling, not words that one uses very often. This is an intimate magic show held in a circular space for 106 people designed by Adam Blumenthal with no more than five rows putting the audience very close to the action. designed by Adam Blumenthal. The charming Israeli-born Asi Wind is both host and performer in a series of card tricks that increase in difficulty with the final one the piece de resistance. All of the tricks include members of the audience who volunteer or are chosen at random. It is an unforgettable evening that defies you to explain how it is done.
When the audience members arrive, they are each asked to put their first and last names on blank playing cards in either red or black sharpie. This becomes the deck used throughout the show with members of the inner circle (the round table at the center with the most expensive tickets) asked to shuffle the deck endlessly before each trick. Throughout the show, cards are drawn which name random members of the audience who then become part of the next trick. Directed by John Lovick, a magician himself, the show is a breezy evening of fun and amazement.
One of the earliest tricks has a member of the inner circle continually choosing a card from the shuffled deck and it continues to come up with that person’s own name. After this we expect each trick to be impossible. Others include a sealed envelope placed in someone’s pocket which later has exactly the right information for a future trick. Cards are made to appear elsewhere in the room and at one point someone is sent out to Washington Square Park to ask a stranger for a number from one to thirty which turns out to be the needed answer to the trick in question. Occasionally, an overhead camera enlarges the action on the table, putting us all in the inner circle.
Ari Wind is a charming MC and raconteur. He tells us the story of his childhood in Israel and his reasons for changing his name. He came to the U.S. 20 years ago and has worked his way up to one of the top magicians in the world. He also tells us of his heroes starting with Houdini and including people he has met over the years. He reveals what skills he has learned from each and how they have shaped his career. He is also a talented portrait painter and his pictures of his heroes are on display in the lobby.
Ari Wind’s Inner Circle is so incredible that it defies the imagination. Can these be called sleights of hand when we see everything that happens at all times? It is the sort of show that you just have to see for yourself and experience firsthand to believe. Not even magicians have been able to explain many – or all – of the tricks. It would be unfair to describe the tricks more completely – though how they are handled will completely amaze and dazzle you.
Asi Wind’s Inner Circle (extended through January 7, 2024)
The Judson Theater, 243 Thompson Street, South of Washington Square Park, in Manhattan
For tickets, call 929-502-5652 or visit http://www.asiwind.com
Running time: 90 minutes without an intermission