By: Iride Aparicio

Photos: Pamela Raith

SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- Your chances to see this expectable are limited. This show will be gone from the GOLDEN GATE THEATRE  after only seven performances and you will enjoy experiencing one of them, because what  Starvox Touring Inc,  CHAMPIONS OF MAGIC are presenting in two hours,  is the type of MAGIC that those who like MAGIC , cannot afford to miss. That those who like illusionism will love.  And a show that could make those people who do not believed in MAGIC, start  believing in it.  

Following sold-our shows,  rave  reviews and a successful run in London's West end,  five  magicians; KAYLA DRESCHEN, Close up Magic Expert, ALEXANDER McALEER,  Master Mind Reader, FERNANDO VELASCO, Escape Artist, and YOUNG & STRANGE innovative illusionists. are now in San Francisco to entertain the audience with Magic tricks so unique, that seem unbelievable.

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As a magician, KAYLA is the most versatile.  Her parts in the show include:  "Cards' acts"  with  KAYLA  doing  many tricks using  a  pack of playing cards. Simple tricks, like  asking a member of the audience to think about a card suit and number and after shuffling the set several times giving it to him, or more complicated ones, like shuffling the cards several times and then spreading the whole set on the table perfectly arranged in their different suits (Diamonds, Clubs, Hearts and Spades)  and numbers  (from the Ace to the King) .

In another act, she shows us her expertise as an Aerial Artist performing acrobatics and striking poses while hanging above the stage from a silk fabric. And in the  YOUNG and STRANGE act,  KAYLA  is the woman  who STRANGE  asks to lay down in a crystal urn on the stage, and cuts it in half.

ALEXANDER works with his mind.  He  lists himself as a MIND READER which means that he can actually read what we are thinking and he proves it by inviting members of the audience to the stage, and when they are there, asking them to think about  different things: a name, a number, a city, and after intense concentration, giving them the name, number or city that they were thinking about perfectly spelled.

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But McALEER  does not work alone, he uses as his "helper"  a little black stuffed monkey that he keeps inside a small silver suitcase. To select "minds", he tosses the monkey to the audience, from the stage. Whoever catches the monkey, is then  invited to come to the stage and have his or her man read.

By selecting those people  whose mind he will read on the stage  at random. (By tossing "THE MONKEY")  he proves to the audience that  his 'MIND READING had not been pre-arranged. Seeing McALEER in the process of  "reading"  a mind, first staring at the person, they saying the letters, one by one, to spell a name, or the numbers, of the place correctly, is fascinating.

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On their part, STRANGE and YOUNG  are physically on their acts.  On that night, (the acts may change from performance to performance) in one of their ACTS,  YOUNG was  placed inside a wood box,  shaped like a cube but big enough for a man to sit in, and then stabbed  by swords, in all the sides of the cube, (except the bottom) with the swords going in, in one side, and out on the other. When the swords were removed, YOUNG came out, unharmed.  As for the woman act, They lay her on a table inside a transparent container, and cut her in half.

Perhaps the most dangerous  acts  on that night, because an error in timing could actually kill the performer,  were  the acts of  Escape Artist  FERNANDO  VELASCO,  who uses fire in one of his acts, and  water in the other.

He explained to the the audience that he was from  Mexico and that  his acts were not and illusion, that his acts were real, and because of it, dangerous. That in the first one, he only has minutes to free himself and grab the  "flying gadget"  to scape to the celing, because the moment that  the fire burns the string on the place where he is on the stage, it will set an  explosion that may burn him. As he struggles to free himself, we see the explosion and see the flames, but by then he was safe, hanging from a gadget on the ceiling shaped like an airplane.

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For his second act, VELASCO replicates the "Chinese Water Torture Cell"  HOUDINI's (1874- l926) most nerve-wracking trick. The Cell requires a large glass  water container in which the artist, on a straight jacket and Links on both his hands, strugg;es to free his hands from their links and then his body from the jacket after being submerged, upside down, in the water container.

VELASCO also explained to the audience that this act is monitored, because if he is unable to free himself in an stipulate time (seconds) while his head is in the water,  his heart may fail. Because both his acts were so dangerous so, some of us were holding our breath. But being the Escapist, he escaped to the audience jubilation.

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L-r Alex Mcaleer, Young, Strange, Kayla Dreschen, and Fernando Valasco

The show ends in a  LAS VEGAS type of show with singing music, flashing lights andso spectacular that cannot be describe in words. Like the show itself, even when we see it, it looks unbelievable.

CHAMPIONS OF MAGIC will play at the SHN GOLDEN GATE THEATRE 1 Taylor Street in San Francisco from now through December 1, 2019. For tickets you can go online to or call 888-746-1799.


B-roll courtesy of Broadway SF