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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, July 21, 2006

It's no illusion: Harary's act is great

By Joseph T. Rozmiarek
Advertiser Drama Critic

Franz Harary's "Magic" show plays well to children and adults, too.

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STAGE REVIEW

Franz Harary's "Mega Magic"

7:30 p.m. today; 11 a.m. and 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. tomorrow; 2:30 p.m. Sunday

Hawai'i Theatre

$5-$35

528-0506

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It's surprising that someone who's moved Diamond Head Crater out to sea and has made the battleship Missouri disappear is not a household word in Hawai'i.

But maybe after two weeks of "Mega Magic" at the Hawai'i Theatre, Franz Harary, the perpetrator of those illusions, will be ingrained in our brains.

The master showman does not travel light. His MTV-inspired show is a blend of magic, blasting rock music, videos, girl dancers, and enough industrial-looking metal and glass props to build a small space station.

In the style of Harry Houdini, Harary and his crew disappear in and out of boxes, seemingly dismember live bodies, and play with smoke, mirrors and fire. It's a smooth and professional non-stop 90-minute show that sometimes seems larger than the stage at Hawai'i Theatre can hold.

Harary is known for his big effects in sports stadiums, on tour with Michael Jackson, and causing buildings to disappear in Tokyo and Las Vegas.

But he can also scale down his big effects to work in smaller spaces and shows warmth when working with volunteers especially kids in the Hawai'i Theatre show.

Many of his best effects appear to rearrange body parts.

Harary doesn't just saw women in half, he separates two of them at the waist and rejoins them to mix and match tops and bottoms. Another trick separates an assistant into nine cigar-box-sized pieces, spreads them apart and reassembles them (and her) in seconds.

Two fellow illusionists travel with the show to provide entr'actes and give the star a couple of short breaks.

Travis Whitler does a scruffy comedy routine with a rat trap and a deck of cards, while Murray wearing an electric blue tailcoat tuxedo and a mushroom cloud of blond hair pulls compact disks out of the air.

Harary's big finish is an escape from a metal box, dangling handcuffed 10 feet above the stage floor. It's a cliffhanger and a big surprise to find out where he ends up.

Much of the fun at any magic show is to try to discover how the trick is accomplished. Consequently, we watch so hard in all the wrong places that we're easily taken in. And being taken in time after time only adds to the fun.

"Mega Magic" plays well to children. And perhaps Harary's best trick is turning adults into kids too.