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'Cody Clark: A Different Way of Thinking' at Orlando Fringe Festival

Orlando Sentinel - 5/19/2017

May 19--This act could be renamed "The Amazing Cody."

Sleight of hand plus card, rope and coin tricks are all part of "Cody Clark: A Different Way of Thinking," but the interweaving of Clark's backstory makes the experience even more interesting, dare I say magical.

Clark was diagnosed with autism at an early age. As he was entering middle school, he discovered the magic of magic. It gave him focus. In his Fringe show, he talks about the challenges and successes, an early obsession with Thomas the Train, learning seven words from George Carlin (Clark keeps it G-rated), the perils of T-ball, earning a college degree from the University of Louisville and a foiled romance.

That's all cleverly crafted into the magical part of the act. A segment about loving his grandmother's mac and cheese turns into mysteriously pulling Velveeta boxes out of a sack.

I had imagined -- and forgive my prejudging -- that Clark would be sticking to the script, that he would be a fan of routine. But he repeatedly ad-libbed, remarking on the beauty of an audience member's beard and crowd reaction to specific jokes.

And I learned things, including that Dan Aykroyd was diagnosed with Asperger's, why kids might be drawn to Thomas, and the definition of "neurotypical."

Clark wraps up with a lovely trick and sentiment. Be prepared for an awww moment.

The Fringe Factor: Some of Clark's asides were Orlando-specific, like our proximity to Hogwarts and -- when the queen of hearts appeared in a trick -- the number of queens attending Fringe.

Curtain Call: Go for magic; leave with inspiration

Where & When: White venue, 60 minutes, $12, all ages. 7:15 p.m.May 18; 12:30 p.m.May 20; 2:30 p.m.May 21; 5:30 p.m.May 25; 1 p.m.May 27; 2:30 p.m.May 28.


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