By Tulis McCall

The invitation to “Stalker” read that I and “a trusted guest” were cordially invited….

Hmmnnnn… I have never seen the phrase “a trusted guest” in a press invitation.  Are not all my guests trust-worthy?  And why the specificity?  What was up?

What was up indeed?  There is so little that I can say here without giving things away.  Maybe that is what they meant.  “Don’t invite a blabbermouth.”

They could have just said that.

Not that I am equipped to give anything away.   For the 90 minutes of showtime I was sitting in a puddle of amazement.  I was not alone. FYI Peter Brynolf & Jonas Ljung stumped Penn and Teller on their TV show, “Fool Us.” Penn and Teller are now producing this show.  That is some serious creds right there.

“Stalker” reminded me of another illusionist Derren Brown from across the pond (reviewed here) who, like Brynoff and Ljung is a story teller.

This duo is welcoming and gracious.

This duo knows something is afoot and they are prepared to lead us a merry chase.

This duo is the perfect combination of charm and danger.

By entering the theatre we are already leagues behind.  We are greeted with an enormous screen that blinks the message “We need 25 volunteers!”  The vibration is electric.  Throughout the entire performance there is one volunteer after another who joins these two on stage.  Well, they appear to be volunteers, and believe me there was a lot of conversation about that after the show.  My friend and I were forced to conclude that if they were plants it would take a lot more manipulation and work that we could imagine.

For this sceptic, the jury is still out.

There was one brief illusion where I thought I spotted the nut of it.  Mum’s the word.  Other illusions, however,  scrambled my brain and handed it back to me with a side of fries.  How did that object disappear?  How did that one change form?  We were ALL watching.  What did we miss?  Well, we didn’t miss anything.  It’s just that these two gents are leagues ahead of us.  There is no catching up – so we let slip the dogs of fact and certainty and take the ride.

Gently, gently down the stream they lead us.  What if things were not as they seem?

Things are not.  Of that you can be certain.

Or can you?

PS – the end of the show kicks some serious butt.

STALKER Starring Peter Brynolf & Jonas Ljung, Directed by  Edward Af Sillén, and co-produced by Lifeline Entertainment (Lasse Karlsson/Michael Henriksson).

Lighting design for Stalker is by Jamie Roderick. Sound design is by Drew Levy.

Through September 1, 2024.  At New World Stages, 340 W. 50th St.  Tickets HERE