Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Washington, D.C.

Elephant Room

Also see Susan's review of Red

Dennis Diamond, Louie Magic and
Daryl Hannah

The three practitioners of magic in Elephant Room, now in the Kogod Cradle at Arena Stage in Washington, understand that there's a fine line between the ridiculous and the transcendent. They also don't care.

It's very difficult to describe what goes on in this 75-minute show, but it's fascinating, and much of it is hilarious. As created by Steve Cuiffo, Trey Lyford and Geoff Sobelle, and directed by Paul Lazar, the show brings together three performers who come to magic from different perspectives: Dennis Diamond has the charisma of a rock star; Daryl Hannah (no relation to the actress) is more spiritual; and Louie Magic is the magician as working stiff. The "Elephant Room" of the title, as envisioned by scenic designer Mimi Lien, is a place where magicians gather, a seedy, little basement space with shabby curtains, dark paneled walls, and a foundation of cinder blocks.

So, then, what is the performance about? The three performers explain that, to them, magic is a way of life, and so it is here. It includes a fair amount of audience participation, which requires volunteers with a good sense of humor and the absurd. The magicians also cook eggs without a visible source of heat, find milk inside a light bulb, and do surprising things with balloon animals and a packet of Kool-Aid.

The performance has no narrative through line; it's simply one thing after another, connected with a sort of dream logic. (The egg-cooking sequence begins with a shell game involving eggs and incorporates grating cheese and chopping vegetables in ways no chef would recognize.)

Arena Stage
Elephant Room
January 20th - February 26th
Created by Steve Cuiffo, Trey Lyford, and Geoff Sobelle
Cast: Dennis Diamond, Daryl Hannah, Louie Magic
Directed by Paul Lazar
Kogod Cradle, Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater, Sixth and Maine avenues SW
Washington, DC
Ticket Information: 202-488-3300 or

Photo: Scott Suchman