May the Force of the Magic Parlour Be with You

At the Palmer House Hilton Hotel - The Magic Parlour starring Dennis Watkins, photo by Rich Hein
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Magic, an ancient art, has a way of both delightfully blowing your mind and creating skeptical thought chains that perplex and mystify, defying reality before your very eyes. You love the shocking surprises and hate the way you’re fooled at the same time! Catullus, a Roman poet, succinctly captures the emotions of a magic fan’s turbulent affair;  “I hate and yet love. You may wonder how I manage it. I don’t know, but feel it happen, and am in torment”. Such intensity is characterized throughout the one man show, the Magic Parlour, playing weekly at the Palmer House Hilton Hotel and produced by the House Theater of Chicago. Third generation magician and mentalist, Dennis Watkins, brilliantly stars full of energy, extremely impressive magic, mind reading, and perfectly placed humor. 

The Magic Parlour starring Dennis Watkins photo by Rich Hein

Under the tutelage of his magician grandfather, Dennis Watkins learned the tricks of the trade to make you squirm in your seat as he beguilingly performs. The Magic Parlour is set in a large corner room of the Palmer House with soft, blue walls, elegantly ornate trimmings and 44 seats. On this occasion, the audience was smaller, with 30 guests who were left stunned, mesmerized and inexplicably at a loss for words over Dennis Watkins’ feats of magic. 

Sitting in the front row ensures close up observation of a variety of angles to try to catch his famous sleight of hand techniques. ‘Try’ being the operative word as he pulls off card tricks, mind-reading that leaves your jaw on the floor, and other stunts that are suitable for young kids to watch, yet leave everyone in the room with eyes wide open. This show is interactive and what’s that question you’re pondering? Why, yes there is alcohol available. Perhaps to help drown out some sights like at least seven razor sharp blades appearing to disappear down Dennis’s throat. 

The Magic Parlour starring Dennis Watkins, photo by Rich Hein

Creating magic based on several of the audience’s choices, this event is unique and strangely satisfying. Tingling sensations manifest as the electric magician imaginatively pulls from his past an image of his grandfather leaning over him saying “it feels like magic” after successful completion of a magic trick and a few new routines.  Feelings of awe and curiosity fill the room as guests utter phrases like “I can’t explain any of it” and “physically cringing”. 

The Magic Parlour starring Dennis Watkins – photo by Rich Hein

Most people say they long to learn how magic is performed yet fail to realize that once they are told, a sense of loss occurs as magic may then become mundane. Some things are worth keeping in the dark. The magic formula is to come get entertained with work that has also been seen on FOX, WGN, ABC, and the A&E network. With over 1,200 shows performed in the last 8 years, this talented illusionist know what works to shock you to your core. 

he Magic Parlour starring Dennis Watkins photo by Rich Hein

Check out for more information and make sure to grab a ticket before they all magically vanish! Also, prepare ahead of time to pay online for your parking prior to avoid paying exorbitant downtown Chicago parking prices.

The Magic Parlour starring Dennis Watkins — photo by Rich Hein


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