Take one part Clue, mix in some David Copperfield, add a double pour of Scotch whisky and hire a Sex and the City chef. That’s a pop culture reference-loaded way to describe the unique, immersive dinner theater experience of At The Illusionist’s Table, currently in a 12-week exclusive engagement at the McKittrick Hotel in New York City.
The McKittrick Hotel is best known as the home of the Off-Broadway hit Sleep No More, which invites a masked audience to explore the 100,000-square-foot venue filled with intricate, macabre sets and an interactive cast performing a loose adaptation of Macbeth. Other spaces within the McKittrick include the rooftop Gallow Green bar and restaurant and the jazz-inspired concert hall, the Manderley Bar. Now, yet another room, The Heath, is transformed into an ethereal setting for mentalist Scott Silven’s At The Illusionist’s Table.
Upon arrival, guests were ushered into a train car (We mentioned the McKittrick sets are elaborate, right?) just outside The Heath and served cocktails or wine, as well as some elegant finger foods. The Camisa Negra cocktail, which includes “activated charcoal” as an ingredient, was a deliciously strange and unusual harbinger for the rest of the evening.
Soon thereafter, this relatively small assortment of strangers were shown to their assigned seats around a large, rectangular, candle-lit table for 28 in the center of an otherwise dark room. At this point, our magical and mysterious host introduced himself. Charming, handsome, and surprisingly young for a professional illusionist (What did we expect? Who knows…), the Scotsman immediately launched into a mind-reading trick involving the unlikely guess of one guest’s favorite number. More tricks, illusions, sleight of hand and seemingly deft feats of mental telepathy were interspersed throughout the night. Meanwhile, a gourmet meal courtesy of former Pastis chef Pascal Le Seac’h, including a whisky tasting, was enjoyed by all.
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Later in the evening, Silven correctly predicted that a guest would draw a rabbit after asking her to visualize an object during a guided group meditation. He revealed this fact after highlighting the name of the libation we’d been sipping: The Bunny.
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“Being from Edinburgh, the experience would not be complete without a Scotch pairing,” Lawrence Green, The McKittrick Hotel’s Beverage Director, tells PEOPLE. “The whisky tasting is intertwined in a number of ways and accentuates both the illusions and story Scott tells throughout the night.”
Though Silven’s alluring hocus pocus — intertwined with enchanting tales from his childhood in Scotland’s Ochil Hills — was the main event, the three-course meal was impressive in of itself. On this particular evening’s menu, seafood risotto was paired with a tiny message-in-a-bottle of broth, the roasted chicken entree was accompanied by vegetable platters served family style, and the chocolate torte for dessert was a truly magical experience.
“Our culinary team worked directly with Scott to make sure that each course of the dinner I created was inspired by the narrative of the experience,” the McKittrick Hotel’s Executive Chef, Pascal Le Seac’h, tells PEOPLE. “The meal engages the senses, adds subliminal dimension, and most importantly provokes table conversation. We also had a fun opportunity to incorporate Scott’s magic directly into the meal. You have to see it to find out how!”
By the end of the night, 28 strangers had formed an intense, albeit fleeting bond. Piled into the old wooden elevator after the show, guests took turns ribbing each other for being undercover accomplices within Silven’s routine — but it was all in good fun. Whether the interactions were real or illusory, every guest took part in the show as a bit player or as part of a larger trick. And, perhaps, the intimate nature of our collective experience was the most surprising treat of all.
Experience At The Illusionist’s Table inside the McKittrick Hotel, 530 West 27th St., N.Y.C; Book tickets, from $145, here through Jan. 14, 2018.