The 'Abracadabra Card Show'

Gordon Jones
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Bridge, poker, or hearts, when people are playing at your table, you hope and trust they are honest and upright citizens - except that you should always be wary about playing poker with a guy named Doc. In the case of card tricks, we welcome having the wool pulled over our eyes by the misdirection and prestidigitation of somebody we definitely would not want to see across the table dealing Texas Hold-em.
So, those who want to be innocently baffled, surprised and delighted by manipulation of the 52 paste boards may want to take in a one-man show in the Basement Theatre of the St. John's Arts and Culture Centre, conceived and performed by local magician and illusionist, Peter Duchemin. Simply furnished with three straight chairs and covered table on which sits a pack of Bicycle playing cards, backed by trunk and Gladstone bag from which to pluck impedimenta and souvenirs, "The Abracadabra Card Show" offers varied tricks with volunteer participation. Even an exiguous audience of six on opening night did not manifestly dampen Duchemin's enthusiasm.
Assisted by a ceramic ET as mascot and prop, Duchemin forces cards on volunteers and relocates them in the pack, accompanied by easy patter, morphing into audience-pumping self-congratulation as tricks work. In a remote viewing routine, a volunteer unerringly selects red or black cards from the deck. In a coin and card number, four Newfoundland coins migrate from or congregate under four, then two, then a single playing card. Audience members are invited to pick a card, any card. I got the 10 of spades, together with a mini-walrus memento when my card was correctly identified. Demonstrating crooked poker dealing, Duchemin doles out full houses and royal flushes. For the finale, he locates a signed card in the pack with the assistance of a rat trap.
My favourite routine is the ingeniously lugubrious show-and-tell about cannibalistic cards.
Peter Duchemin's 80-minute "The Abracadabra Card Show," which is suitable for young and old alike, can be seen on Thursday or Friday at 7 p.m. Admission to the Basement Theatre is set at the bargain-basement rate of $7.
After seeing the show you may conclude that perhaps you should be wary about playing poker with guys named Pete, as well as Doc.

Organizations: Basement Theatre

Geographic location: St. John's, Newfoundland

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