Co-Directed by David Overend
Reviewed by David Roberts
Theatre Reviews Limited
“I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now from up and down and still somehow/ It’s cloud’s illusion I recall, I really don’t know clouds at all. I’ve looked at love from both sides now from give and take and still somehow/ It’s love’s illusion I recall I really don’t know love at all. I’ve looked at life from both sides now from win and lose and still somehow/ It’s life’s illusion I recall. I really don’t know life at all.” – “Both Sides Now” by Joni Mitchell
Leave it to an illusionist to work diligently for seventy-five minutes to achieve the essence of reality. Rob Drummond (a.k.a. William Wonder) reads minds, levitates a small table, proffers games of chance to audience members, and tells the remarkable story of the illusionist William Henderson who was inadvertently killed by a volunteer from the audience while performing the Bullet Catch illusion in London in 1912.
This intriguing story – replete with readings from books, a memo from the 59E59 staff, and even more baffling illusions – eventually seduces a member of the audience to participate in the Bullet Catch illusion right on stage in 59E59 Theater C. Mr. Drummond is as skilled in the nuances of rhetoric as he is in the nooks and crannies of illusion and he successfully lures the audience into his spell of wonder. His wit, his grace, and his charm embrace the audience as closely and tightly as the hug he requests from the volunteer.
Rob Drummond’s “Bullet Catch” is a remarkable magical lullaby which transports the audience from the throes of nihilism (was that Henderson’s ticket to suicide?) to the nurturing arms of unconditional and non-judgmental love. Perhaps that is what magic ought to be about: close up, personal, transformative, and forgiving.
One wonders what Mr. Drummond’s next illusion will be and how he will continue to enrapture audiences with hope for the future. Rob Drummond wants his audience to look around and make a connection with those around them locally and globally. He wants to move from recalling just the illusions of cloud, love, and life to authentically knowing the up and down of clouds, the give and take of love, and the win and lose of life. That only happens when one truly looks around and agrees to be hugged and to hug.
As William Wonder reminds his audience early on, humankind – when encountering the other human –non-consciously decides to either fight (KILL), flee (SAVE), or “mate” (LOVE). After spending seventy-five minutes with the wonder-full Rob Drummond, it seems clear that the best decision is the greatest of those three: LOVE.