Friday, July 2, 1999 | 9:59 a.m.
"The Magic of David Copperfield," appearing in the Caesars Palace Circus Maximus through July 18, is subtitled "U" which stands for "You," the audience. This is the most interactive of Copperfield's annual productions, with the audience involved throughout. One fortunate female, named Portia, flew with David, and 13 members of the audience "disappeared" for the standing-ovation closer.
The use of music throughout is a great enhancement although it was too loud by at least 10 percent at the show caught. With that out of the way, the assemblage and this critic had a good time throughout the hour and 45-minute program.
Copperfield's first appearance, as always, was spectacular, appearing on an empty platform amidst swirling sheets. Two people identified as Uncle Morty and Aunt Ida are brought up from the audience, placed on a sofa and levitated.
There are movie clips at strategic times in the show. Copperfield's pacing and use of dynamics are impeccable.
The approach is one-on-one, with some biographical points made at propitious moments. Doing a close-up card trick taught to him by his grandfather on the screen -- including a picture with grandfather -- was a most effective, very warm turn. "Cocoon" featured one of his two comely female assistants and is a variation on the classic trick, "Metamorphosis." There are four male assistants.
"Dancing Ties" utilizes a necktie taken from a member of the audience. It has been done before, but never like this. Men and women from the audience are used to tear papers into squares, and it all comes out hearts. David then walks through an industrial fan, a very dramatic piece. This leads into a film of highlights from his award-winning television specials through the years.
Copperfield had great fun with Alberto from Brazil, who tested the conditions onstage to make sure everything was as claimed, after which David disappeared and reappeared. Next, everyone took a sheet of paper, which could be torn on perforated lines to make eight cards, one of which had a moon on it, the others were blank. It took time, but the ending, when we all came up with the moon card, was worth it.
Portia and Yuko, another audience member, assisted David with his flying illusion, and Portia did fly with David. This would be a dynamite closer except that it is topped by the finale where he, by random selection using large inflated balls, selected 13 people and made them disappear -- a topper. He closes by telling the audience he hasn't yet figured a way to bring them back. They do return through the audience after the standing ovation and his departure.
Our suggestion: Go with an open mind and heart. Submit, go onstage, tear up the sheet of paper and be surprised when you wind up with the moon. Copperfield has learned to communicate and demonstrates a sense of humor that is a huge plus. Really be part of the show. You'll have the best time that way.