The Man Behind the Curtain is a hard show to review. Inspired by magic, the show is cramped, unpredictable, and uncomfortable, but it’s also fast-paced, hilarious, and intense.
The venue is set up in the apartment of co-writer and director Sam Jameson. Anyone who feels squeamish about attending a performance in someone’s home is missing out on a great show. Productions Presents describes the show as:
“A series of fantastical vignettes that are all tied together by the theme of magic… The show consists of the performance itself, the physical space around you, and the how the physical space changes over the course of the show. “
The Man Behind the Curtain stars Erik Leisinger and is directed by Sam Jameson who met on themet on the set of Glam Gam’s Fringe Production, Peter Pansexual, when Sam was director and Erik was a performer. They worked together again last year on Glam Gam’s Greasy: A Lesbian Love Story – currently the highest grossing Fringe play of all time.
In 2018, Jameson and Leisinger founded Productions Presents, a company for the work they produce together. When I had the chance to speak to them, the question on my mind was whether Jameson or Leisinger were actually magicians, given the show’s magic theme.
“Neither Sam or Erik are professional magicians, and quite frankly can’t really do magic to save their lives. Fortunately, Erik Leisinger’s childhood friend, Erin the Magician is a hotshot magician from the west coast and has helped us throughout the process.”
You will see magic tricks in this show, but they’re nothing spectacular, and as a viewer, you really won’t care because you’ll be too busy laughing. Unlike the classic theatre setup where audience and performance spaces are separate and distinct, The Man Behind the Curtain is immersive theatre, a type of show where “the entire performance area is a part of the show, and the audience has far more freedom to interact with the performance environment and the performers themselves.”
As audience members you won’t be picked on by the performers, but you will be expected to participate a little. That said, the venue has extremely limited space, with a maximum capacity of ten people.
Shows are often sold out so get your tickets in advance. You won’t be disappointed!
The Man Behind the Curtain runs through June 15. Tickets available at montrealfringe.ca