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Picking Las Vegas' best magic show can sometimes get a bit tricky

Picking Las Vegas' best magic show can sometimes get a bit tricky

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When you think of it in fairytale terms, a trip to Las Vegas can really like something straight out of "A Thousand and One Arabian Nights."

I mean, think about it: You do cross the burning sands (Especially if you're driving in from LA. Which means that you're taking I-15 straight across Death Valley.) And then - in the middle of the desert - you can find this fabled city which is filled with castles & turrets & magic.

And when I say "magic," I'm not talking about the many & mysterious ways that this town manages to Hoover all of your hard-earned cash straight out of your wallet. But - rather - that pack of first-class prestidigitators that can now be found performing along the Strip.

This Fall, Las Vegas is offering you a wide variety of magicians to chose from. Do you like your illusions to be big & grand? Or do you prefer your magic to be the small, close-up, how-the-hell-did-they-do-that kind? It's all here this year in Sin City. Served up by a masterful set of conjurers who have added a bit of edge & attitude to their usual bag of tricks.

So where's the best place to start? Picking Las Vegas' very best magic show can sometimes get a bit tricky. But if you'd like to see the guy that Forbes magazine has called the most commercially successful stage magician in history, then you really need to go to the MGM Grand. Which is where - starting on September 28th - American illusionist extraordinaire David Copperfield will be wowing the crowds at the Hollywood Theatre.

Given that Copperfield is the guy who made the Statue of Liberty disappear and then walked through the Great Wall of China, people come into his magic show with some very high expectations. But David does not disappoint. Among the illusions that you can expect to see as part of this 90-minute-long show are Copperfield seeming to instantaneously teleport a selection of audience members from center stage to the back of the house.  Not to mention conjuring up a full-sized car out of thin air.

David Copperfield has a leg up (two legs, actually) up
on the competition

What's really great about catching David Copperfield at the MGM Grand is that he's performing at the MGM Grand's Hollywood Theatre. Which - given that it's only got 740 seats - is a relatively intimate venue. So , if you'd like, you can really sit up close and then try and figure how exactly this legendary performer (who - over the course of his 30+ year career - has sold more tickets than Michael Jackson, Madonna and Lady Gaga) pulls his trick.

Mind you, given that part of their act involves throwing a baby bunny into a wood chipper, sitting down front at Penn & Teller's show at the RIO may not be the wisest move. If only for the splatter factor.

Even the way that Penn & Teller advertise their magic show at the RIO is slightly off-center.

But on the other hand, how can you resist a magic show like this that so skillfully mixes outrageous stunts and contemporary humor? Where half the charm of Penn & Teller's shtick is that they constantly remind the audience that they're conning them. That everything that they're doing up there onstage is somehow a trick.

Of course, if you like a little attitude & edge along with your magic, then a stop at the Luxor is definitely in order. Where you can then check out Cirque du Soleil's sixth show for Sin City, CRISS ANGEL: BeLIEve.

Things can get kind of hare-y onstage at the Luxor during performances of

Given that this is the first time that Cirque has ever built one of its shows around an individual performer (More to the point, given that MGM Mirage Resorts reportedly spent $100 million on producing this magical extravaganza), BeLIEve is an epic trick fest. We're talking twice the number of illusions that you'll find at any other magic show along the Strip. Not to mention acrobatics, dancing and puppets as well as the sort of mind-blowing costumes and music that one normally associates with a Cirque du Soleil show.

What's that you say? You miss the old days of Las Vegas-style magic? Where Siegfried & Roy used to hold court at the Mirage and then fill the stage there with all sorts of exotic animals?

Siegfried, Roy and one of the larger members of the cast of their
magical stage show.

Well, if those are the sorts of tricks that you really enjoy, then you should really make a point of visiting the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino. Which is now presenting the "Magic & Tigers of Rick Thomas" show.

In a lot of ways, this particular presentation is almost the quintessential Las Vegas magic act. Given that Thomas makes his entrance by riding a Harley Davidson onstage. Then this acclaimed illusionist (who was recently named "Stage Magician of the Year" at the World Magic Awards) - with the help of his beautiful assistants - fills the performance space at Planet Hollywood with amazing animal-filled feats of prestidigitation.

Rick Thomas and one of the smaller members of his cast

Best of all (particularly if you're a big cat fan), the "Magic & Tigers of Rick Thomas" show actually gives you the chance to get up-close with the four white and orange Bengal Tigers who appear at every performance. If you spring for the VIP package, not only will you be seated down front and get to meet Rick & his lovely assistants after the show, but you can also get your picture taken with these majestic animals from the Far East.

Which kind of brings today's story full circle. Given that Tigers and wild beasts feature so prominently in the "Thousand and One Arabian Nights." So if you think that you'll be crossing those burning sands anytime soon so that you can then see some magic shows in Las Vegas ... Well, I think I know a few folks who can help conjure up some excellent seats for you.

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