At this stage of the game, Joe Diamond is becoming quite the well-known celebrity throughout Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin.
Billed as a dream interpreter, illusionist, mind reader and/or magician, his success largely is due to his sincerity, sense of humor (“I’m not a medium; ... I’m a large”), and his great showman theatricality. And Diamond also is a very nice guy.
Born and raised in Wonder Lake, Diamond’s home base is Studio 215 at Crystal Lake’s Dole Mansion, but he frequently appears at Chicago’s Magic Room, Shady Oaks, the Maxwell Mansion, WGN and well, to be accurate, all over the country. Diamond also is infamous for driving a car blindfolded – not once, but twice: once around the Woodstock Square and once around Crystal Lake.
He holds the world record for solving the world’s largest corn maze while blindfolded and Trip Advisor named Diamond “the No. 1 perfect evening out in Crystal Lake.”
Diamond’s 200th studio show was “Mystic,” which focused on four historic personalities: American Edgar Cayce, British Tarot illustrator Pixie Coleman Smith, Ohio stage magician Howard Thurston and Alexander the Crystal Seer (a.k.a. Alexander Collin).
Besides giving historically accurate information about each, he also relates personal connections (i.e. meeting Thurston’s great niece at an unscheduled Ohio diner stop) before launching into demonstrations – card tricks, book visualizations (which I won’t even attempt to describe, but it does involve a book that an audience member brought and is quite astonishing). There’s also mind readings and the saved-for-last misunderstood Ouija Board (used in this case to reveal an audience member’s unspoken thoughts of a dead celebrity). And remember that there are no hidden cameras, no ear pieces, no planted audience members.
You can search the room. I have. It’s all Diamond alone.
Well-paced, interactive and entertainingly absorbing – I’ve yet to see an audience that wasn’t fully engaged in a Diamond show – Diamond’s studio shows are intimate, ensuring you are up close and personal to all the phenomena and his exceptional skills.
“Mystic” goes on hiatus until March 2020, but Diamond has four other shows in his repertoire, including “The 13th Hour,” running at 8 p.m. every Friday; and “Dreamcatcher,” scheduled for Halloween in the Listening Room at Lakeside Center.
His shows sell out fast, whether they’re in his studio or at Lakeside Center. They also are multi-generational (the night I attended, the range was from 12-year-old triplets to 70-year-olds), they appeal to fans and the newly curious. By the way, if you’re shy and don’t want to be involved, the Listening Room does offer an introvert seating section where Diamond promises not to pick on you.
Actor Jeff Daniels once said, “we go to the theater to have an experience and to see things we don’t normally see.”
No better definition of a Joe Diamond show.
• Regina Belt-Daniels continues to do what she loves best: teach, travel, act, direct and write theater reviews.