The Great Tomsoni & Co.

Las Vegas Review Journal

Great Magic Hokum...

Peering at the "Great" Tomsoni goofing his hocus pocus with expertise in the Sands "Sizzle" revue, one is reminded of another Will, last name Shakespeare, who's exposition of greatness lingers most in the mind. He said, "some are born great; some achieve greatness; and some have greatness thrust upon them."

As a "Great" who chooses Polish accents, Tomsoni obviously has been born and thrusted. Whether he will ever achieve his added title without the quotation marks is difficult to surmise. Nevertheless, he and Company, which is wife Pamela Hayes, have been presenting one of the funniest magic acts for years on world stages. He is ex-harmonica player/actor John Thompson and he found his partner Pamela, a student of Lee Strasberg, while she was playing legit theater.

I remember him performing in Vegas years ago tootling away with Jerry Murad's Harmonicats. Then in the `60s he gravitated back to magic and couldn't keep it serious. He does mystify, however, with his covey of white doves fluttering from scarves and even a transparent plastic square. All of this while he is fumbling around while Pamela acts as the dumb blonde gum-chewing assistant.

Finally, as the last dove arrives from nowhere and departs, Tomsoni switches from pantomime to standup comedian with adept sound effects in a funny phone monolog. The "Babushkas of Warsaw" finale discovers him pulling dozens of scarves from a hollow silver tube, knotted and going on forever until he bunches them together and - presto - finds a bowling ball.

Okay, hand it to Tomsoni. He's got a "great" finish and "great" polish.

Bill Willard's entertainment column appears in the ReviewJournal every Sunday and Friday.