“The Magic Duel” is a live competition, usually between Mark Phillips and Ryan Phillips (no relation). The latter is on a stint with the “Mindplay” creative team (see above), but in the meantime, his slot is filled by a rotating cast.
For the first half of the show, the stars ask the audience members to choose, at random from a set of cards, a type of magic to be the theme of each of three rounds, including mentalism and comedic magic. During intermission, the audience votes on its favorite of the two magicians. In the second half, the audience “does the magic,” says Mark Phillips. Crowd members selected to participate are guided to, seemingly, perform the tricks themselves. “We’re just up there assisting them and helping them look like the stars.”
While a few kids might attend an early 5 p.m. show, Phillips says the performance is “PG-13” and aimed at an older audience. “We’re trying to keep an atmosphere of adult sophistication,” he says. One with just a little bit of humor about toilet plungers.