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Magic Show Snap Crackles With Eye-Popping Tricks

A South Korean troupe brings its comical legerdemain to the New Victory Theater.

Young-min Kim as the Alchemist in Snap at the New Victory Theater.
(© Taewon Kim)

When you combine fast-paced physical comedy with snazzy magic, you've got a winning show for kids. That sums up Snap, a delightful new show from South Korea whose seven performers know how to get youngsters oohing, aahing, and laughing out loud. With humor that harks back to the likes of Laurel and Hardy, and an impressive series of illusions packed into 70 minutes, Snap, currently running at the New Victory Theater, will have kids 6 and up squealing with excitement.

Three "Tricksters" (C.S. Choi, Young Min Lee, and Jeong-seok Mun), dressed in Chaplinesque suits and bowlers, set the playful tone of the show with a few giggle-inducing illusions, one of which involves a red silk handkerchief that seems to come to life and fly away from them as they chase after it. Other acts follow in quick succession. Choi makes shadow puppets on a screen that seem to knock over solid objects before a secret door is revealed that leads the three of them into a dreamlike world.

This is where the Tricksters' antics intertwine with individual acts performed by four other illusionists. The Florist (Chang-min Lee) stands center stage like a majestic tree and seems to sprout colorful playing cards from his hands as though growing an endless number of leaves. Later, the Oddball (Young-ju Kim) performs an impressive form of juggling in a sequence called "The Oddball at the Crossroads." His steampunk getup is an inspired bit of costume design by Keun Su Cho and Y.M. Kim.

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

Young-min Kim plays the Alchemist, the sparkliest and showiest of the group. He produces rings from his long gown that disintegrate into swirls of glitter. While hypnotic, his performance is marred by somewhat less dexterous sleight of hand compared with his costars. But kids really get a kick out of the Dreamer (Ted Kim), who wears a white jumpsuit that seems to change appearance when projections (designed by Tae Won Kim) shine on him. Playing with cartoon images, the Dreamer changes into one of the Mario Brothers and interacts with the images that flit across the stage.

Despite some lulls in the action when the Florist and the Alchemist take the stage, the Tricksters keep things moving at a fast clip with their own routines. One involves Young Min Lee opening a book that actually 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 hold the interest of most kids, and even get them talking back at the stage (that's OK at the New Vic). Snap makes a great introduction to the world of stage magic and illusions with a troupe who know how to amuse and excite wonder in young imaginations — and the grown-ups in the audience might find themselves more than a little intrigued, too.

C.S. Choi tries to run from a hand that comes to life from a painting in the "Haunted Atelier" scene in Snap.
(© Taewon Kim)
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