Gateway magic show continues to enchant

See how, and why, this family of entertainers continues to delight family audiences at the Mall 205 theater. There’s a show every month …

The show’s stars – Mark Benthimer, Amber Catlin, Scott Davis, and Angela Davis – say they’re “up” for another great show performed before a full house.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

The “All American Magic & Comedy Show” has never played in a Las Vegas show room, but it has delighted thousands of adults and kids, since professional entertainers Mark Benthimer and Scott Davis first presented the family-friendly show at Janzen Beach more then ten years ago.

“After they demolished the mall building at Jantzen Beach, we found a new ‘home’ for the ‘All American Magic & Comedy Theater’ in outer East Portland at Mall 205,” Benthimer beamed.

Assistant Angela doesn’t look convinced that Magic Mark’s idea of “Modern Art” is to her liking.

Usually presented once-a-month, the matinee show has been created to appeal to the entire family, adults and kids alike. Children are invited to sit on the floor, in front of the stage, if they like, while adults settle into the upholstered chairs in the auditorium.

“Using both adults and kids as volunteers make for great audience reactions,” Benthimer told East Portland News. “And, the comedic genius of Scott Davis is a highlight of the show, as he presents polished ventriloquism, magic, and, yes – balloon-twisting routines.”

That big fella, audience member Aaron Gross, has just become part of Scott Davis’ uproarious ventriloquist act.

Having worked as a professional illusionist and close-up magician for decades, Benthimer presents stunning large, Las-Vegas-style illusions, as well as comedy magic, during his turns in the show.

“The best part is seeing the people in the audience respond to the show,” Benthimer said. “Many of them have never seen magic performed live; some haven’t really seen a magic show at all.”

Although the basket is solid on all sides and the bottom, somehow Amber has escaped all of the steel swords thrust through it.

The “showroom” is an empty store in the mall. On the faces of the adults, one can initially see puzzled looks, as if unsure why they’ve brought their family and friends to the performance.

But, when the lights go down, and the professional stage lighting and sound comes up, the space transforms into a magical land of enchantment. The raised stage gives the entire audience a good view of the show.

Benthimer and assistants fill the stage in this mysterious, colorful production.

By intermission, the audience members have clearly been “hooked”, as they walk out to the lobby for $1 popcorn and treats.

“It’s really fun; surprisingly so,” commented Kellie Gerkitz from North Portland. “It’s great to see the kids laugh and have a good time. This is a great way to have fun in the afternoon.

“Plus, the magic and comedy compares to anything we’ve seen on TV,” Gerkitz said.

During intermission, the audience stretches their legs outside the theater.

During intermission, Bill Garrison commented, “I’m really pleased at the high quality show we’re seeing here. The comedy is ‘slap-your-knee’ funny, and the magic is mind-blowing. These are very professional entertainers.”

When the room lights goes down and the overture to the second half plays, folks scurry back in to see more comedy magic and baffling illusions.

Scott Davis is almost in control of his Dodo bird.

After the show is over, cast members mingle with audience members.

Scott Davis is happy to stand for photos with the recipients of his life-size balloon creations. “The best part, for me, about doing our show is entertaining the kids, making them laugh like crazy. It’s great feeling their energy, and it’s a welcome change from my work-a-day life.”

The cast of the All American Magic & Comedy Show takes a well-deserved curtain-call bow.

All American Magic & Comedy Show plays every month
All of the shows are 2:00 p.m. afternoon matinee performances – just right for families. Played in Portland’s only magic theater, the incredible two hour family show almost always sells out.

See when their next show is playing, get tickets online, and see the special family-pack deals at their website: CLICK HERE. Or, call 503-995-7379 for more information. The theater also boasts Portland’s best snack bar deals with cotton candy and popcorn for a buck, plenty of free parking, and an on-site Magic Shop. It’s all inside at Mall 205.

© 2016 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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