Rob Drummond in Bullet Catch

Is free will just an illusion?

Glaswegian Rob Drummond has a special show lined up for this year’s PuSh Festival. Bullet Catch, now on at the Arts Club Revue Stage, makes for an intimate evening of trust, friendship, and some pretty awesome magic tricks.

Drummond has performed across five continents, his 85-minute show culminating in a death-defying, nail-biting bullet catch (in the teeth!) as a volunteer stands before him and pulls the trigger.

Rob Drummond in Bullet Catch

The story unfolds on stage as a volunteer is rounded up from the audience to help tell the tale of William Henderson, a magician whose life came to an end after he attempted to perform the bullet catch in London, even after being strongly advised against it by none other than Harry Houdini.

There are three thoughts that go through a person’s mind when they first meet someone: fight, flee, or love. Hence, three large boards are prominently displayed on stage: Kill, Save, Love. Through a series of connections (and based on one or more of those three themes), the magician works his talent on both the volunteer and the audience, connecting on a human level, while performing some mind-blowing stunts.

The true thrill is in guessing how the heck Drummond manages to correctly answer some of the questions he poses to the volunteer. There comes a time in the show when he offers to reveal one of his trade secrets. I won’t spoil the outcome, nor the audience reaction, as each performance is unique, its unfolding entirely dependent on the type of volunteer that winds up on stage with him.

Rob Drummond in Bullet Catch

Sitting in the audience, it’s hard not to wonder when the bullet catch will happen. Drummond is not intent on making a fool of either his volunteer or the audience, and by the time the stunt’s about to take place, you already feel comfortable enough knowing that it will turn out OK (and knowing that he’s performed this show numerous times without a disaster doesn’t hurt either). Whether or not William Henderson ever existed, we’ll never know. What matters here is the trust that Hammond bestows upon his volunteer.

At times, it was hard to understand Drummond due to his thick Scottish accent. The audience would catch a joke and I felt as though I’d missed the punchline; I was unfortunately not the only one in the audience who experienced this.

Suffice it to say, so much of Bullet Catch resonates with the audience, garnering Drummond a well-deserved standing ovation during last night’s media opening.

Written, performed, and co-directed by Rob Drummond, Bullet Catch continues at the Revue Stage through February 7.

Photos by Megan Verhey.

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