Performing in a fashionably nostalgic parlor room at the Palmer House Hilton downtown, magician Dennis Watkins—star of the House Theatre’s wildly popular “Death and Harry Houdini”—presents an intimate night of misdirection and sleight of hand. Aside from a series of mind-boggling (and occasionally mind-reading) tricks, the one-man show follows a storyline wherein Watkins discusses his familial history in legerdemain, presenting favorite routines of his grandfather’s, discussing his introduction to Harlan Tarbell’s books on magic and reminding the audience that his number-one job is not to fool us but to make us feel like kids again. Luckily Watkins, a charming performer, manages both, keeping the audience fully engaged by involving a number of volunteers and insisting that everyone treat the space as their own “parlor”—rising or moving to get a better view of any bit they can’t see and getting additional drinks (included in the price of the ticket) when they feel the need. (Zach Freeman)
The House Theatre of Chicago at the Palmer House Hilton Hotel, 17 East Monroe, (773)769-3832. $75. Friday nights at 8pm and 10:30pm.