‘FASTEST’ FUN IN THE WEST: After his grandfather gave him a box of tricks as a boy, Excalibur magician Hans Klok found his calling
A medieval-themed property with a castle façade seems like the appropriate place for magician Hans Klok to be staging his new Las Vegas show.
After all, Klok was officially dubbed a knight earlier this year in the Netherlands, his home country.
“I’m the only (real) knight in that whole castle,” he quips during a chat about his new production, Hans Klok: The World’s Fastest Magician, which opened in late July at Excalibur hotel-casino.
The show also includes a plethora of swords, several contraptions that look like medieval torture devices (such as the “Slicer”) and — because it’s the Strip and not actual medieval times — plenty of sparkly outfits, worn by Klok and his “Divas of Magic” dancers.
Klok, known in part for his flowing golden locks, has been performing magic for decades and understands the importance of spectacle, especially in Las Vegas, where he’s no newbie. In 2007, he starred in The Beauty of Magic, a much-hyped, limited-engagement show at Planet Hollywood that featured Pamela Anderson. (Yes, that Pamela Anderson.)
When the show ended, Klok traveled the world, performing everywhere from China to Dubai to Mexico to Russia. “My main business was always Germany,” he says. “But it’s a huge country, and I had to travel a lot. After a while, I had a dream to come back to Vegas, where I could have a normal life.”
Then he chuckles at the idea of moving to Vegas, of all places, in pursuit of a “normal” life. “I love Las Vegas,” he says. “It’s nice to be a part of this city of headliners. I feel very welcome here.”
And this time, he hopes to stay put.
“The good thing is there’s always an audience here,” he says. “People come from all over the world. You have a better chance to make it here.”
Of course, in show biz — as in life — nothing is guaranteed. “It’s not easy,” Klok adds. “You have to fight to get every ticket sold.”
His fast-paced, 70-minute show features a number of physically demanding feats that place the 50-year-old magician in precarious situations. In one, he dangles high above the stage while seemingly impaled on a giant spike, like a man-sized skewer.
“We always have a lot of bruises,” he said. “It’s a very physical show.”
The production also has its moments of levity. At one point, Klok has to escape from plastic wrap after being securely bound like so many leftovers.
“That’s a wrap!” he triumphantly deadpans upon freeing himself.
The show takes place in Excalibur’s 425-seat Thunderland Showroom, also home to Thunder From Down Under and The Australian Bee Gees Show. The cast of the latter performs at the same time Klok is preparing for his own show.
“When I do my pre-sets, I hear all the songs of the Bee Gees,” he says. “I’m a big fan of the Bee Gees.” He jokes, though, that this fandom might not endure if he has to hear the band’s music performed every night for years to come.
Klok’s Vegas production depends less on a particular storyline than did those he performed in Europe, where “storytelling is the style.” But the show does feature a lot of dream imagery. (A seemingly asleep-and-dreaming Klok even gets wheeled out on a bed at one point.) If the show is about anything, he says, it’s about “having a dream.”
This, too, seems appropriate for a man living the dream he began pursuing four decades ago in Holland, after his grandfather gave him a simple box of magic tricks. Klok fell in love with the art of “mesmerizing” people by “showing them things that are not possible.”
From then on, he says, “I always dreamt of becoming an illusionist.”
After chasing that dream around the world, he followed it back to Las Vegas.
Hans Klok: The World’s Fastest Magician is performed six nights a week (dark Fridays) at 7:30, plus 4 p.m. matinees Saturdays and Sundays inside the Thunderland Showroom at Excalibur hotel-casino. Tickets range from $44.95 to $104.95, plus taxes and fees. They can be purchased at any MGM Resorts box office or online at hansklok.com/tickets.
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