“A Very Merry Magic Mania” at the SM Playhouse

It was a well-heeled but raucous crowd at the Magic Castle last Saturday night in the Peller Room—one of the intimate, downstairs rooms with a low ceiling and raked seating for about 40 people. We were all there for a 45-minute comedy/magic act that showcased different style of prestidigitation (aka sleight-of hand).

The host magician was Albie Selznick, who is also presenting A Very Merry Magic Mania at the Santa Monica Playhouse from Nov. 23 through Dec. 29.

Magic is the hottest it’s ever been right now. What A Very Merry Magic Mania offers is the opportunity to see multiple world-class magicians in an intimate venue without the hassle of visiting the Magic Castle.  

Then again, it’s always a blast to spend a night at the Magic Castle…

Last Saturday’s show at ‘the castle’ began with a female singer onstage while Albie was posing as an audience volunteer. He’s somehow coaxed by her to a swallow numerous razor blades, again and again. She keeps extracting razor blades from a glass and he keeps gobbling them up. After he ‘eats’ some red thread, the trick results with Albie drawing a red thread festooned with the razor blades from his mouth. It’s crazy stuff!

Our host apologizes for faking us out, then introduces his special guest—magician Andrew Goldenhersh who continues with some more prestidigitation and prop comic magical stunts.

Goldenhersh maintains a slick patter of funny banter, claiming, “I love small rooms like this,” as his nimble digits produced numerous silver dollars which he plonks into a metal bucket with a convincing, metallic “chink’ sound.

He carries on with his super-slick banter, declaring, “I’m doing my best to make it look effortless but this is hard!” Eventually he produces an enormous coin out of thin air.

After that, Albie produces an audience member’s ring from inside a zipped-up leather keyring

He even does it for us in ‘super slow motion’ but we’re all baffled.

Goldenhersh then proceeds with a classic Houdini trick with a straitjacket (but no water tank—haha). The complicated straitjacket buckles are secured by audience volunteers, even as the magician seems to be slipping in and out of his shackles.

Eventually Goldenhersh magically produces two large chickens from the jacket’s sleeves! Astounding!

It was a fun night, with a lot of mild teasing of the audience members—who harassed the magicians in return.

When asked how he copes with all the rowdy audience banter, Albie grinned.

“It’s more of a family show and crowd at Santa Monica,” adding, “Every week we present a different magical act.” There’s close-up magic before the show, then three performers on stage with Albie hosting. “We invent a lot of our own stuff,” he smiled.

The magic continues at the Santa Monica Playhouse as the smash hit Magic Mondays series extends through the holiday season as A Very Merry Magic Mania. Hosted by lifetime member of the Magic Castle and actor Albie Selznick, this magical show presents a new and different lineup of world-class, award-winning magicians and outstanding variety acts each week.

Produced by Michelle Grant, the show runs about 75 minutes and features an ever-changing lineup of over 70 world-famous magic and variety acts.

It promises to be an unforgettable season of show-stopping feats—including sleight of hand, interactive parlor magic and mind-blowing illusions.

A Very Merry Magic Mania

Hosted by lifetime member of the Magic Castle and actor Albie Selznick.

Nov. 23 – Dec. 29, 2019

• Saturdays at 8 p.m.: • Sundays at 3 p.m.

Each show features five different magicians and variety acts, including a pre-show close-up artist ½ hour before show time.

**Arrive early for the pre-show entertainment! 

Santa Monica Playhouse
1211 4th St,
Santa Monica, CA 90405.

Pre-show entertainment begins ½ hour before each performance.
Check website for more information and line-ups.

Easy Santa Monica garage parking across the street. 

(310) 450-2849 or


Purchase here.

Pauline Adamek

Pauline Adamek is a Los Angeles-based arts enthusiast with twenty-five years' experience covering International Film Festivals and reviewing new Theatre, Film and Restaurants.


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