Off-Broadway Review: AT THE ILLUSIONIST’S TABLE (The McKittrick Hotel)

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by Paulanne Simmons on October 1, 2023

in Theater-New York


No matter how many times illusionists deceive our eyes and mentalists read our minds, we are always amazed by their feats. This is certainly true of Scott Silven, whose performances are especially stylish and smart.

This fall for a limited run, Silven’s At the Illusionist’s Table returns for the fifth time to The McKittrick Hotel. Once again, Silven entertains, bedazzles and perplexes his guests, while serving up a sumptuous three-course dinner created by the hotel’s Executive Chef, Pascal Le Seac’h, a meal complete with champagne, white and red wine, whiskey-tasting and a dessert liqueur.

Guests are seated at a long, elegantly set, candlelit table. Soon the show opens with a champagne toast. Then Silven takes us back to his childhood in Scotland and the mysterious tale of his grandfather’s watch.

But that’s only the beginning. This “journey of the mind,” as Silven calls it, includes such feats as predicting lottery numbers and divining which postcards culled from his grandfather’s collection have been selected by guests.

Without revealing too much, the pièce de résistance involves guessing the final word written down after a unique version of the child’s game, Telephone. If there was any trickery involved, I have no idea what it was. I was the one who wrote down the last word.

Silven is not only a talented performer, he is also the perfect host. The atmosphere he creates is not only mysterious, it’s convivial as well. Many of his guests leave with the feeling they have known each other all their lives or would like to know each other for the rest.

Some people insist on figuring out how Silven accomplishes his feats. Are there hidden cameras? Accomplices planted among the diners? My answer is don’t waste your time. Just sit back, enjoy the food and drink, and believe.

photos by Loren Wohl for The McKittrick Hotel

At the Illusionist’s Table
The Club Car at The McKittrick Hotel, 530 West 27 St.
seatings Thursdays at 7:30 and Fridays & Saturdays at 7
ends on October 21, 2023 EXTENDED to December 30, 2023
for reservations ($258 per person plus fees), visit McKittrick Club Car

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