Hamners’ Unbelievable Variety came highly recommended by the online community, so we figured we’d give it a shot. After all, it sounded perfect for the family. Magic, acrobatics, singing — something for everyone!
Like with the Amazing Acrobatics of Shanghai, we were a little surprised to find that the show took place on a stage much like any other theater. However, as time went one, we discovered this is just the way it is in Branson. All of the shows occur on a traditional stage.
The show started with Johnny Lonestar warming up the crowd. He and his son performed some lasso tricks that were a lot of fun. Lonestar had a great sense of humor, brought up an audience member or two for a few tricks with his whip, and included his son who did a great job.
Eventually Dave and Denise Hamner took the stage as well. Dave performed some cool card and coin tricks and also made his magnificent birds appear out of thin air. Everything about his opening act was top-notch. However, it’s obvious that Dave’s best days are behind him. While his personality shined, his physical movements seemed labored, almost as though he was in pain. With thousands of physically demanding performances under his belt, it’s likely he’s got quite a few aches and pains built up over time.
We were next astounded by Mariya Serykh’s aerial act. Serykh performed a silk performance that literally had us mesmerized. Without the aid of a net, mat, or safety rope, she climbed, twisted, spun, and turned nearly as high as the ceiling. Best of all? The silks hung down right in front of the stage near the front row. A very young woman, Serykh seemed at the top of her game. She was graceful, fluid, and executed her moves perfectly.
Next, Jeff Brandt took the stage. Like Hamner, Brandt appeared to be pretty seasoned. He’s said to be a master imitator of singers, which certainly proved to be the case. He imitated, among many others, Tina Turner, Neil Diamond, and even — virtually at once — Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis, Jr.! Brandt definitely knew how to work the crowd and got everyone rocking and rolling.
Anthony Soumiatin soon appeared in the Cyr Wheel. This is one of those giant hoops that the person hangs onto with their feet and hands as they spin and slide along the stage. A young man, Soumiatin really did prove a master at this specialty.
Of course, the Hamners are performing magic and illusion acts between all of these other acts as well. Many of them are grand, impressive tricks with lots of big props, music, and lighting. The production really is something to see.
Of course, there were a few other performances, too. There was some singing, a dance, some slapstick comedy, and even a memorial video montage paying tribute to a deceased cast member. You get your money’s worth with Hamners — that’s for sure!
Dave Hamner then took a moment to invite everyone back to the theater because he’s also an ordained minister and they hold services on Sundays. This caught me a little by surprise, but, as I soon learned, everyone wears multiple hats in Branson. I appreciated that he didn’t come on too strong with this offer, especially because it seemed sincere.
Near the end, Hamner and his cast came out and saluted the veterans before performing one last patriotic trick that will blow you mind.
Yes, I’ll admit it — the cheese factor was pretty high throughout most of the show, but it was the good kind of cheese. Hamner struck me as being in on the joke. He knows the product he’s offering. Don’t make any mistake, though, while much of the cast are on the back end of their career, it’s a great time with some truly impressive feats. Both of my kids had a wonderful experience, and so did my wife and I. Though I wouldn’t make viewing this show a top priority, I would definitely consider it among my top ten attractions at Branson. Like I said, it’s nice because it’s got a little bit of something for everyone.
You can visit the Hamners’ Unbelievable Variety website by clicking HERE.
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