A magic show usually leaves the audience wondering how the tricks were performed, but “The MAZE” uses magic to challenge the audience to go beyond the question, “How did he do that?”
In a society that lives in the midst of numerous manipulations of the truth, Jim Munroe hopes to uncover the one he holds to be true, all the while delighting the audience with astonishing illusions and an emotional recollection of a trying time in his life.
The lower level of Morris Dailey auditorium was filled last Thursday night before the show even started.
Munroe is funny, endearing, captivating and well-spoken, which plays to his likability — a critical factor in his presentation.
He's a post-modern magician who does not dress in capes and top hats, but more like somebody who dresses to go out on Friday night.
You'll find no rabbits on stage and cards aren't used for typical "pick a card, any card" routines.
Laughter ensued from Munroe's interactions with participants in the crowd chosen by tossing Coco the teddy bear around the auditorium.
A collective “awwwww” came from an empathetic audience when Munroe performed a trick based on how he proposed to his wife — it was a romantic setting with the Eiffel Tower in the backdrop that was defiled by a gruesome act that involved a nail, hammer and his nose.
The show takes a dramatic turn halfway where Munroe warns the crowd about what they would be in for,
urging some to leave if they don't want to hear about Christianity, but assures it will be worthwhile for those who stay.
A short intermission was taken for those who have been repelled by this sudden change of pace.
Brian Powers, said he and a group of friends were leaving because of the religious aspect of the show.
“I think if you really believe in what you believe in, it's okay if you disagree with people, just be respectful about it,” Powers said. “So we're just leaving because we're not really interested in possibly being converted.”
Munroe returned to the stage and the real show began.
His message is based on his experience with leukemia linking with his salvation.
The story is told with the same humor and compassion, allowing his personality to continue to shine and made it the highlight of the show for some.
“I liked how he used his story to explain something further,” said Griselda Jimenez.
Munroe's account of overcoming the odds is fascinating, if not inspirational, and while the show may not convert you into a believer in Christ, it has a good chance of converting you into a bone marrow donor.
There were opportunities for people to sign up to be entered into the database of potential marrow donors for the Be the Match program at the end of the show.
In the end, Munroe is an advocate of Christianity and the whole reason for the show is to spread the gospel.
Alan Esparza enjoyed Munroe's creativity in intertwining magic and his message.
“He used magic in a way that you don't know how he does the tricks, you don't know what the tricks are about and you can't tell what the truth in it is,” Esparza said. “We realize that religion is looked at like magic sometimes — we can't see further, we can't see the truth just because it's not that clear…”
Some people may think that the biggest trick may be the one that got them into their seats, but how else is someone supposed to share a topic as sensitive as Christianity without setting up seminars where they end up preaching to the choir?
A student who remained anonymous left the show halfway and said, “I just looked up something online that said it was kind of misleading — they're just doing a magic show and they're going to now talk about Christianity or something. It didn't seem that interesting.”
But no matter your religious orientation, The MAZE has enough thrills in the illusions and Munroe's personality is enough of a driving force to entertain.
Although religion is the purpose, it makes up the smallest portion of the show and is not forced upon anybody.
The MAZE will come back to the Bay Area will be on March 15 for the 6th Annual Laugh for Lives Comedy Benefit in San Francisco according to the official website for The MAZE.