Dennis Watkins--mild mannered marketing manager by day...maniacal magician on Friday nights. Whatever hat he's wearing, Watkins is full of surprises. He has impeccable comedic timing and an arsenal of unique tricks up his sleeve. His current one man show at The House Theatre is sure to become a Chicago cult classic.
The Magic Parlour is part parlour tricks and part clairvoyant charisma, with a wicked twist of Jim Rose circus freak mystique. I've seen quite a few magicians over the last 10 years of navigating kid birthday parties, and this show is something else entirely. This is magic with an edge...a knife wielding, razor blade swallowing EDGE. Yes, in case the 10:30pm start time didn't convince you to leave the punk kin with a sitter, you REALLY don't want your littles trying this at home. But, in the hands of a pro like Dennis, these tricks are a real treat to see.
We had a chance to check out The Magic Parlour and were blown away. Before the show even started, we fell in love with the fabulous parlour space that lurks under The House Theatre. With the same stage magic that turns waitresses to queens and creates a palace out of plywood and paint splatter, this basement has been transformed. Where there once was duct work and darkness, a wabi sabi drawing room complete with a bar, rich burgundy walls, paintings and even a chandelier, has been created. I can't imagine a more perfect backdrop for The Magic Parlour.
Watkins first mounted the show as a fundraiser, but it was so successful it has now turned into an open run. The night we went, his audience was diverse and colorful, with bearded hipsters in vintage thrift chic sharing sofas with silver haired couples. Dennis worked the room and actively involved everyone, breaking down the 4th wall. By the end of the hour, all were well and thoroughly befuddled and entertained.
Dennis comes from a long line of magicians, and whether he's genetically predisposed to expert illusions, confounding mind reading and life threatening tricks, or he's just got great insider information, this is one crazy, amazing late night magic show well worth seeing. If you've checked out the show, come back and bring your friends. Dennis does change out and update his act. If you haven't seen it, you don't know what you're missing.
Join The House for an hour of mind-boggling magic and impossible mind reading with award-winning magician Dennis Watkins!
Every Friday night at 10:30 pm.