Derek DelGaudio, writer and performer of his magic show “In & Of Itself, slyly directed by Frank Oz, does more than dispense trickery. He is a superb actor as he affably spins his web of storytelling and quickly has an audience mesmerized. His pacing, timing and ability to connect is extremely seductive, which leads audience members to follow his every word, pause and gesture.
Yes, this technique can be used as a magician’s way of distraction from what he may have up his sleeve. But DelGaudio is not that kind of an artist. He incorporates the odd setting he has in the background into the story he tells about his personal life and a key encounter that he experienced.
In the process he demonstrates his wizardry with playing cards, projected on screen for all to see and marvel at, when with nimble dexterity he can make cards turn up in remarkable fashion and combinations.
One can admire how DelGaudio incorporates part of an audience into his act, such as choosing someone to come to the stage and be amazed to find what is in a letter, or someone to come back the next day to attest to what he or she has experienced but initially missing the ultimate display of bafflement.
I don’t want to give too much away but it involves audience participation on the way into the seating area by choosing a card from the wall, a card that designates a character trait--for example, perfectionist or hedonist. Then one turns in the card to the ticket-taker.
What DelGaudio does spectacularly as a follow-up leads to people trying to figure out how it can be achieved. I have figured out one possible way, but that doesn’t mean I’m right. DelGaudio is a master at what he does, and he makes his show much different than anything others perform, sometimes far more lavishly. DelGaudio hooks you with the spell he weaves as the framework within which he dispenses his magic. That partly explains why his show has achieved popularity. At the Daryl Roth Theatre, 20 Union Square East (facing the Square) at 15th Street. Tickets: 1-800-982-2787. Reviewed August 9,2017.