When watching director Ingmar Bergman’s films, I usually think, “This is really beautiful. And I am really bored.” Unfortunately, the National Pastime Theater’s production of Bergman’s “The Magician” does nothing to change my thinking about the director’s work. First staged 1947, “The Magician” tells the story of a band of gypsies who peddle their potions and supernatural acts in small towns. One town’s skeptical leadership detains the troupe, hoping to disprove their magic on scientific grounds. Director Laurence Bryan’s problematic adaptation lurches unevenly as characters appear and disappear and liaisons develop at lightning speed. The production takes advantage of the charm of The National Pastime’s space, a former speakeasy. The show’s basic optical illusions are competent. The cast does its best with the leaden script; standouts include Sean Patrick Leonard as the boorish police chief and Claire Wedemeyer as his shrewish wife. But overall, the surprises promised are not delivered. (Lisa Buscani)
At National Pastime Theater, 4139 N. Broadway, (773)327-7077. This production is now closed.