Dixon Place is one of the most important live performance venues in the Off-Off Broadway scene. Historically devoted to workshop productions and emerging, cutting-edge artists, it's the perfect venue for performers like Hughes to fine-tune their work. Blue Man Group and John Leguizamo created some of their finest early pieces at Dixon Place, when the venue was located at its former home on the Bowery, on the lower east side. Today, with Dixon Place situated closer to midtown, the venue has lost none of its experimental luster; Hughes' show is no exception.
Necromance: A Night of Conjuration is really about what holds us back from believing, not just in magic, but in ourselves. While this profound but moving philosophy hangs in the back of our minds throughout the show, Hughes bombards the audience with offbeat humor, unique observations about the world, a superb storytelling sense, and his own, unique brand of jaw-dropping magic that makes you want to cast your cynicism immediately aside.
Hughes also knows just who is ready to believe in magic again and who is not. When asked what kind of audiences, geographically speaking, are most responsive to his show, Hughes responds, "audiences are definitely more discerning in New York City than in Minnesota, where people are more open to camp. In New York City, the non-tourist theater scene has seen a lot, and they [audiences] want or think they want to have their thought processes stimulated and challenged." With his brand of theatrical magic, Hughes seems up to the conjuring challenge.
During the show, we learn that in addition to magic, Hughes also honed his directing and stand up comedy skills at the University of Minnesota--so he's certainly in a position to know the differences between his audiences. In fact, as if to punctuate the point, after informing the audience that he used to perform close-up magic at such venues as TGIFridays, Hughes "eloquently" performs a show-stopping trick that further illustrates why his plan to achieve fame in the Big Apple seems like a good one.
All in all, one's thought processes are definitely amused and stimulated by the show, which runs through October 30. Rumor has it that Hughes will attempt a séance at his final performance, hoping to channel the dead spirit of Harry Houdini on the anniversary of the great magician's death. For die-hard lovers of magic, there could be no possibility to escape from that.
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