Robert Aberdeen’s Victorian Magic Thrills at the Tuckerton Library

Mar 27, 2019
Photo by: Pat Johnson Robert Aberdeen and ‘Honey’ bunny, which he pulled from his hat.

With a flourish, magician Robert Aberdeen pulled a rabbit out of his hat – a very animated stuffed bunny named Honey; Honey Bunny. The kids squealed when Honey Bunny began to talk! Ventriloquist Aberdeen traded puns and jokes with the bubbly bunny: “How many sisters and brothers did Honey have?” Honey looked at his watch. “Twenty-two, no, 23, oh 25, twins!”

Many of the jokes flew over the heads of the children but landed squarely on the funny bones of the adults in the audience at the Tuckerton branch of the Ocean County Library on March 25.

Merlin’s Magic book intrigued the children as it changed from a blank book to one of ink drawings and finally colored pages! “How did he do that?”

Aberdeen is not only a magician; he starred in the international tour of “The Magic Show,” a 1974 one-act musical made famous on Broadway by Doug Henning. Aberdeen is a veteran of four other Broadway plays: the original “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Billy Budd,” “Royal Hunt of the Sun” and “Citizen Tom Paine.” Off-Broadway credits include “The Seagull” and Pulitzer Prize-winning “A Soldier’s Play.”

His directing credits include “Sunday Morning Two Men Cooking,” “Tall Taxi Tales,” “Phyllis, Slave of Poetry,” “A Private Affair,” “Butterfingers Angel,” “Dead Issue,” “Terror Train,” “Man of La Mancha” and “Fiddler on the Roof.”

He starred in several films: “Houdini,” “Saturday Night at The Baths” and “The Terrorist,” plus many other parts. In “The Butler,” he played opposite Robin Williams.

He was a regular on the daytime serial “Love of Life,” and for TV was in “The Greatest American Hero,” “The Bloodhound Gang” and “Macbeth.”

Aberdeen first developed his magician character for “Victorian Magic” at The East Lynne Theatre Co., now located in Cape May. He continues to perform “Victorian Magic” with the ELTC’s touring company; this is how the Tuckerton Library was lucky enough to get him for a free performance, through the New Jersey Theatre Alliance’s Stages Festival.

Monday night, the audience in the meeting room of the library was mesmerized by the vintage rope, card and newspaper tricks, topped off by the original connecting-rings deception while Aberdeen sang “Windmills of Your Mind,” the theme song from “The Thomas Crown Affair.”

Aberdeen brought the evening to a hilarious end as two adult volunteers moved their mouths obligingly as the magician/ventriloquist had them engage in funny vaudeville patter.

It was an evening that could make one long for the good old days when live performances were the rule, not the exception.

— Pat Johnson

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