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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Christmas magic continues courtesy of The Illusionists

Dec. 22, 2022 Updated Thu., Dec. 22, 2022 at 2:35 p.m.

Paul Dabek, aka the Trickster, is among the magicians featured in Monday’s appearance by the Illusionists at the First Interstate Center for the Arts.  (Darren Thomas - PhotoCo)
Paul Dabek, aka the Trickster, is among the magicians featured in Monday’s appearance by the Illusionists at the First Interstate Center for the Arts. (Darren Thomas - PhotoCo)
By Ed Condran For The Spokesman-Review

There are a number of types of magicians and it seems as if each sort of prestidigitator will be on hand Monday at the First Interstate Center for the Arts. The Illusionists, a touring magic production which features a rotating cast of five to eight magicians, will perform. Each entertainer specializes in specific branches of magic, from stage illusions and mind reading to escapology to comedic magic.

“There’s something for everyone at this show since it’s a variety show,” magician Paul Dabek said. “Those who come out to our show will be treated to different facets of magic.”

Dabek, 36, who hails from Oswestry, England, is a rapid fire entertainer, who uses quick wit and subtle humor as part of his act.

“Humor helps a magician,” Dabek said while calling from Midland, Texas. “When you’re laughing your attention is a little broken, which is great for misdirection. I bring the humor with my magic and then there are the other magicians who bring another side of entertainment.”

Wes Mathison is a mentalist who performs sleight of hand and renders tricks that range from mind-reading to accurately guessing numbers, names and phrases that audience members write down on pieces of paper.

“Wes pulls the rug out from under everyone every night,” Dabek said.

Pablo Canovas is dubbed Pablo the Unforgettable due to his outrageous tricks. “Pablo is very Harry Potteresque,” Dabek said. “You have to see him to understand what I mean.”

James More is dubbed the Deceptionist. “James has been inventing magic tricks since he was 8-years old,” Dabek said. “When he performs, you have to pay close attention.”

Hyunjoon Kim is a master manipulator, who engages the audience. “The fun part of that is when you connect with the crowd, it’s a different performance every night.”

And then there’s Dabek. “I’m the buffoon of the cast,” Dabek cracked. “I’m the trickster. I’m the one who doesn’t take myself or anyone too seriously.”

It’s no surprise that Dabek grew up a huge fan of such unpredictable humorists as the late Robin Williams and the wacky Jim Carrey.

“I absolutely loved ‘Mrs. Doubtfire,’ Dabek said. “Robin Williams was absolutely brilliant and Jim is just fantastic. I love their physical humor and how they live in the moment. Part of the reason I think people are such fans of their work is that anything could happen when Williams or Carrey stepped on stage.”

Everything is a joke to Dabek. “I lie for a living and I’ll do whatever I can for a laugh,” Dabek said. “But I would rather that be the case and be a magician than say be the British prime minister.”

Dabek has been hell bent on being a magician for as long as he can remember. “I’ve been obsessed with magic since I was 4-years old,” Dabek said. “When I was that age I charged my parents admission to see me perform in the living room. There is nothing I would rather do than be a magician. I didn’t dream of anything else or go to university in preparation for another career.”

Dabek quit school at 16 and has been a professional magician for 20 years, with the past half decade spent with “The Illusionists.”

“It was like running away and joining the circus when I was a kid,” Dabek said. “It wasn’t the literal circus but it was my kind of circus. I left a farming community to pursue my dreams.”

Just prior to the start of the pandemic Dabek performed on Broadway with “The Illusionists.”

“That was the highlight of my career,” Dabek said. “It was a ridiculous bucket list moment when we were in New York at the Neil Simon Theater for six weeks.”

Dabek is tight-lipped about what the magicians will perform in Spokane. “If there is one show in which you should be surprised, it’s a magic show,” Dabek said. “All I can say is that our show is festive and will leave you warm and fuzzy, particularly the finale.

Dabek is looking forward to returning to Spokane. “I remember being on tour in 2018 with our ‘A Magical Cirque’ show in Spokane,” Dabek said. “It’s a beautiful city and I’m looking forward to being there at Christmas time. It looks like a city out of a winter wonderland. This show will be a bit different since it will be holiday flavored. To see what I mean you have to come out to the show.”

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