Magic, Fun. and comedy are not an illusion at Hamner Barber Variety Show

Dave Hamner amazing audience as beautiful
tropical birds appear from nowhere and fly
out over them.

Branson has a variety of “variety” shows, but the “Hamner Barber Variety Show” is different in a truly “magical” and “funny” way. Its variety is straight forward magic, ventriloquism and comedy, but the way they are presented, by two masters of their craft, Illusionist David Hamner and comedian-ventriloquist Jim Barber, separates this variety show from any other in Branson, perhaps in the world.

The basic format of the show is simple, let two of the best entertainers in their respective fields do what they do best surrounded by a great supporting cast, choreography, and production. Predictably, the result is great illusions, ventriloquism, and comedy produced and presented in a manner that holds the interest of audiences of all ages.
There are relatively few shows in Branson that will hold the interest of children for the majority of the show. There are still fewer that can hold the interest of children while genuinely doing the same thing for adults. The Hamner Barber Variety Show is one of these shows. The constant rotation of the magic with the comedy and ventriloquism flows smoothly from one segment to the next keeping the audience waiting in anticipation for what is coming next and it makes no difference whether the age of the audience member is 10 or 70.

The tricky thing about writing about a magic show is not to spoil the surprise of the illusions. What can be safely said however is the magic covers a full range of illusions from the simple elegance of the “Magic of the Silver Coins” to exotic birds that fly off the stage over an enthralled audience, and illusions that “conquer” mountains, “spike” ones interest, and are of biblical proportions.

Jim Barber and Seville or is it
Seville and Jim Barber?

It is not just the variety of the magic; it is the manner in which Hamner, his wife, Denise, and their supporting cast, present that magic. Dancers A.J. Heard, Ken Brown, and Kelly Nolte, who also double as magic assistants along with Lex Pearson and Michael Maeder, have been choreographed and worked into the presentation of the vast majority of illusions. The result is some of the most beautiful, entertaining and exciting magic available on any stage anywhere.

It could almost be said that the magic doesn’t stop with the Hamner’s because some of the things that Jim Barber, master ventriloquist and comedian, does almost seems magical. The comedy and operatic duet with Seville is amazing, but when it turns into trio that’s “magic.”

Audience members might wonder why Barber opened the bag and kept the “baby,” but they will not be able to stop laughing because he did. Not to be outdone by the Hamner’s and their exotic birds, Barber works with a Chihuahua type character called “Chico Pete” and takes the audience to new levels of laughter all the while demonstrating why he is one of the nation’s top ventriloquists.

The show’s tribute to America’s veterans, living and dead, active duty personnel and their families is a show highlight that is both innovative and beautifully, humbly, and respectfully presented from the heart. In the world of illusions, performers have made people, airplanes, animals, trucks, and even mountains disappear or appear, but none has topped the emotional and patriotic size of this finale tribute illusion. It is a special blessing.


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