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Paulanne Simmons

“Bullet Catch” Presents Magic and More

Bullet Catch
Directed by David Overend
59E59 Theaters
59 East 59 Street, between Madison and Park
From April 6, 2013
Tues. thru Thurs. at 7:30pm, Fri. at 8:30pm, Sat at 2:30pm & 8:30pm, Sun. at 3:30pm & 7:30pm
Tickets: $25, (212) 279-4200 or www.59e59.org
Closes April 21, 2013
Reviewed by Paulanne Simmons April 7, 2013

L-R: Rob Drummond and an audience member. Photo by Carol Rosegg.

We all feel a certain shiver going down our spine when we see feats of physical daring: a tightrope walker making her way across a thin high wire stretched between two poles, acrobats tumbling through the air, gymnasts forming a human pyramid. But we are equally thrilled by feats of mental or magical prowess: mind readers guessing our innermost thoughts, numerologists predicting the future, magicians making cards or rabbits appear from out of hats or the thin air.

L-R: Rob Drummond and an audience member. Photo by Carol Rosegg.

Glasgow-based playwright, and performer Bob Drummond’s “Bullet Catch,” part of Scotland Week at 59E59 Theaters, combines physical prowess and magical stunts with a dash of theatrical storytelling. Aided by director David Overend and an assistant drawn from the audience, Drummond brings the audience into a magical world in which he sees through paper bags and into the human mind.

All the while Drummond tells the story of the various people who have attempted the famous “bullet catch,” a feat so dangerous, he claims, that even Houdini cautioned against attempting it. He ponders over what would make a person want to engage in such dangerous sport and what can and has gone wrong.

Rob Drummond. Photo by Carol Rosegg.

With the help of lighting and sound effects, the show builds to its inevitable climax, the extraordinary feat itself. But the audience must wait until after the assistant reads and signs a waiver, the authenticity of the firearm is proven by breaking a plate, and the assistant is correctly positioned and taught how to shoot. By this time nothing short of the resurrection will satisfy some members of the audience.

The problem with this show is that Drummond relies too much on the actual coup de grace at the end and does too little to amaze the audience along the way. What’s more we all know that 59E59 Theaters is not some outdoor fair in the middle of nowhere. It’s a theater in New York City, where it’s highly unlikely live bullets are used. Just think what a crazed audience member might do!

“Bullet Catch” is fun to watch if you leave all skepticism at the door. But even the most willing will need a little more wonder to make this wonderful.


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