The Amazing MaxThe holiday season is one of the best times of the year to visit New York City. Now, thanks to The Amazing Max and the Box of Interesting Things, it’s also a magical time. The Amazing Max and the Box of Interesting Things, on stage now at Manhattan Movement and Arts Center in New York City, is a modern update on the traditional children’s magic show. 

In this interactive, high-energy show, gifted magician Max Darwin pulls off the most amazing trick of all — enthralling children while also entertaining adults.

The show is perfectly tuned to the sensibilities and attention spans of the four to eight-year-old set. Max doesn’t rush through tricks; instead, he draws them out so that little kids can follow the action.

Besides the magic, there’s plenty to keep even the squirmiest kid happy. A grown man acting silly? Check. Wacky sight gags and on-stage pyrotechnics? Check. Jokes about poop and snot. Yuck, er, I mean, check.

When he’s not wowing the crowd with incredible sleight of hand tricks, Max keeps the audience laughing with his family-friendly humor. Adults will enjoy the hip references to pop culture while kids will giggle at Max’s goofy gaffes. Even my reserved “too cool for magic shows” eight-year-old howled with laughter at Max’s antics.

Half the fun of the show is listening to Max’s playful banter with his pint-sized volunteer assistants. During the show, Max invited five to six different kids up on stage to help with his tricks. Judging by the enthusiastic hand-waving and cries of “Me! Me!” there were a lot of wanna-be assistants in the audience.

Max DarwinAnd it wasn’t just the kids who got excited. I’m pretty sure I saw some adult hands go up too (present company included).

Hats off to Max for making everyone feel part of the experience. I’ve been at other kiddie shows where the performer doesn’t seem to look past the front row. But not Max. He did a great job of choosing a mix of ages and personalities and of escorting his helpers to the stage. In fact, at the performance we attended, he plucked an enthusiastic volunteer from the top tier of seats.

Bottom line? If you’re looking for a fun family-friendly holiday outing, check out this show. With its physics-defying tricks, silly humor and crowd-pleasing improv, The Amazing Max and the Box of Interesting Things is just the ticket.

To see the performance schedule or to purchase tickets, visit the show’s website:

Learn more about Max Darwin at

FTC Disclosure: I received complimentary tickets to this performance but was otherwise not compensated for this review. All the opinions expressed here are my own.

Justine Ickes writes about culture and multi-cultural families at