Under the illusion that Branson doesn’t have any real magic shows to offer? If so, you probably aren’t aware of the Kirby VanBurch Magic Show. The show is packed full of so many magic tricks and acts of illusion that you won’t believe your eyes. It’s not just like any other magic show either; Kirby constantly raises the stakes of his illusions so that the acts become unique to him and his show. For example, ever seen the tried and true magic trick where the magician cuts a lady in half and then puts her back together? Kirby puts his own spin on this by seemingly splitting two female assistants at the same time and then assembling them so their two halves are switched. It’s unbelievable!
Also compounding the astounding nature of the show is the fact that Bambi VanBurch has come back this season to join the cast after touring on her own for a year. She has been awarded with several of the highest-tier awards available to magicians and it is immediately clear why. A master illusionist herself, Bambi performs acts that seem to break all laws of science. She’s able to move clear across the stage in a matter of seconds without being seen, can produce a canary from a Russian-doll type scenario of an egg inside of a lemon inside of a grapefruit, and performs an amazing act where she is blindfolded and can somehow identify objects that the audience holds up. Her graceful stage presence, incredible acts of illusion, and magical artistry make it clear why she has accumulated so many accolades.
I’ve talked about all of these amazing acts, and I haven’t even mentioned the tigers yet. What? Tigers? Yes! There are tigers, leopards, lions, and cheetahs that appear (and disappear) throughout the show. The Royal White Bengal Tigers are headliners in the Kirby VanBurch show. Children and adults alike can purchase their own stuffed animal version to commemorate the show from the gift shop or from a convenient shop window located at the bottom right-hand corner of the stage. Although these big cats might be the most spectacular, other animals are involved in the show too. Also present are a cute duck named Fred and a chicken named Ginger who perform an act of their own. And maybe most special of all? A unicorn graces the stage at one point. I’ll let you go to the show to see for yourself if these mythical unicorns are in fact real or not after all. Needless to say, the unicorn was a crowd favorite!
The show is magical in every sense of the word. From the grand, palatial appearance of the theater, to the billboards and posters inside featuring the historic pioneers and greats of magic, to the entertaining magicians that produce an unending supply of red magic balls and card tricks to pass the time before the show, to the well-choreographed and professional dance crew that helps the show move smoothly, the production is an incredible one. You’ll not only be dazzled by the vast amount of magic tricks and illusions that appear on stage, but also by the costuming, the presence of beautiful animals, and by the subtle yet effective humor of Kirby VanBurch. Both Bambi and Kirby are highly personal in the show and share anecdotes from their childhoods that inspired them to pursue magic, as well as their expression of faith that they share in the way they know best: magic.
If you haven’t had enough of a thrill just by experiencing the two hour show, there is an opportunity to tour backstage and the cat compound afterwards. One of the show’s dancers leads a group of people onto the stage so you can get a peek for yourself at the various boxes, cages, and contraptions that the magicians used during the show (I still couldn’t figure out how Kirby and Bambi achieved the illusions by looking at their equipment, but it was a neat experience to see the tools up close). In addition to getting a glimpse of life on stage, we then had the opportunity to go back and see the cats lazily napping during their free time. The cats are rotated so that only some are used in each show but by going back stage you are able to see all of VanBurch’s furry friends.
After the tour, Bambi VanBurch was still waiting patiently in the main lobby for anyone who wanted to stop by to say hello, a reflection of the audience-oriented quality that Kirby and Bambi effuse throughout the show. The show is family friendly and will have children’s jaws dropping just as much as it will cause adults to scoot to the edge of their seats to get a better look at tricks. If you decide to go see the show, my only advice is not to pack a camera. The VanBurch’s are as mysterious off-stage as they are on; your only chance to get photographs at the theater are from a professional snapping shots of guests in front of a tiger poster, and after the show with either magician who decides to greet guests in the lobby. Perhaps you don’t need a camera to capture this special show in Branson because the magic will stay with you long after you leave the theater.