You probably know Orson Welles for Citizen Kane and War of the Worlds, but did you know he was also an accomplished magician? In Orson the Magnificent, consummate showman Lars Klores takes audiences on an utterly enjoyable ride through Welles’ lifelong love of illusions, laced with awe-inspiring tricks and a captivating history of magicians in America.
Klores is an actor and magician who serves as president of the DC chapter of the Society of American Magicians, who has an abiding respect for Welles’ life and works. His unique background serves him well in a production that is simultaneously a one-man dramatic monologue, magic show, and history lesson.
Enveloped by sound designer Amy Wray’s atmospheric soundtrack and lighting designer Peter Klores’ dramatic red scheme, Klores opens the show by sweeping onto the stage in Welles’ trademark fedora and cape. It’s a dramatic flourish that immediately sets the tone for Klores’ magnetic one-man showcase.
Orson the Magnificent
closes July 22, 2017
Details and tickets
Klores takes his time casting a spell over the audience. He alternates steadily between dramatic segments peering into Orson Welles’ tumultuous private life, anecdotes about famous 20th century magicians like Houdini and the Great Dante, and of course delightful magic acts. Klores rotates through a dizzying array of tricks involving cards, mindreading, concealment, infinite handkerchiefs, and spontaneous writing.
It’s clear that this isn’t Klores first rodeo, as he holds the audience in the palm of his hand and reminds a room full of savvy playgoers of their awestruck inner children. Even when a trick doesn’t go exactly as planned, Klores has built up such good will that his admission “Sometimes, magic doesn’t work” feels like a profound, planned moment. And perhaps it is!
Magic, when done well, can entrance even the most cynical audience member. Speaking for myself, I went into this show somewhat hesitant – and emerged after an hour feeling like a kid on Christmas morning. Orson Welles, ever the master showman, has found the perfect modern-day conduit in multi-talented Lars Klores.
Orson the Magnificent . Written, Directed, and Performed by Lars Klores . Lighting Designer: Peter Caress . Sound Designer: Alan Wray . Stage Manager: Amy Sullivan . Produced for Capital Fringe Festival . Reviewed by Ben Demers.