By Brian Woods
Victor Valley College hosted “An Evening of Comedy and Magic” in the Performing Arts Center (PAC) on January 18. The sold-out event featured world-renowned performers blending the arts of comedy and magic in a vivacious variety show, produced by Lowell Entertainment.
The event was hosted by Chipper Lowell of film and television notoriety, including all five seasons of “Masters of Illusion.”
“Every year we bring a new show with new artists, a lot of them from around the world… You won’t see this anywhere else but Victor Valley College,” Lowell said, foreshadowing the upcoming illusions of the night.
Lowell then introduced the first performer, Elliott Hunter, of The Academy of Magical Arts’ Magic Castle in Hollywood.
With lights off and entrancing electronic dance music filling the PAC, Hunter began a choreographed LED illusion, making a luminous baton pole levitate and orbit around him.
“Folks, this is where it all began. In fact, this is my first act that got me started in magic,” Hunter said.
As the lights rose, a mirage of playing cards began appearing, disappearing and reappearing across his palms and wrists. As Hunter rolled up the sleeves of his glittering jacket, a fountain of red and white cards began flying into the air.
Host and MC Lowell provided comedic relief through interludes, lightening the mood and weaving a relatable narrative throughout.
“It’s gonna get really weird now,” Lowell joked, before successfully teleporting an audience volunteer’s Apple Watch inside of a soda can, cutting it out with scissors after.
The next performer, Pop Haydn, brought an old-timey, intimate and vintage feel to the PAC. He introduced his self-proclaimed classic feats of magic, including the “Six Card Trick” and the “Miracle of the Chinese Linking Rings.”
Playing the role of the evening’s ultimate jokester, Haydn’s gags and tricks kept the audience laughing throughout his set.
Pam Kane, an audience volunteer for the Chinese ring act, also contributed to the hilarity. She delivered one-liners and quick wit, on par with even Haydn himself.
“My husband and I come every year, and it’s different every time,” Kane said, following the event. “We’ve come maybe seven or eight years now.”
Lowell then took a moment to thank the backstage, lighting, and technical support crews before breaking the audience for intermission. All snack and drink proceeds went to fundraising VVC’s Off-Broadway Performing Arts Club.
Famed illusionist Ryne Strom provided the show-stopping finale, transporting audiences to different worlds through comedy, costumes, dance, danger and theatrics. Strom transformed the stage into various facades, including an old-style Parisian circus, a mad scientist laboratory and a nostalgic speakeasy straight from the Roaring ‘20s.
Strom integrated avant-garde illusions with immersive audience interaction, including both his professional assistants and volunteers to aid in his large-scale tricks. As his grand finale, Strom performed a variation of Harry Houdini’s trunk escape, complete with dazzling costume changes and a police chase.
VVC’s “Comedy and Magic” show continues to provide the local community with an evening of heart, laughter, magic and togetherness. Audience members left with the reminder to dream big, work hard and never stop believing in magic.