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Hamner Barber Variety Show   
3090 Shepherd of the Hills Expressway
Branson, 65616
Branson Reviewed rated
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" There are no great claims of the worlds greatest this-or that. No boasting, bragging or circus-like promotions that have come to confuse the Branson ticket-buying public. And even though the trophy case inside of the Hamner-Barber Theater is jammed-full of awards, statutes, plaques, citations (the good kind) and authentic show business honors, Dave Hamner, his lovely wife Denise and Jim Barber just go about doing what they do best- they entertain. And I do mean entertain! The Hamner-Barber show is two-solid hours full of family-friendly magic, comedy and production. Opening with their show-stopping bird act, Dave and Denise (The Hamners) produce real oohs and genuine ahhs seconds after the curtain rises. While most other performers start slowly and build, the Hamners start out soaring. The term “off to a flying start,” takes on real meaning when Dave Hamner takes the stage.

Now how in the world do you follow an opening that’s strong enough to be a finale at any other theatre? Well, that’s simple. Simple if you’re Jim Barber, that is. The award-winning ventriloquist, of Late Night with David Letterman fame, takes over and immediately owns the stage. His first set is a show-within-a-show and itself well-worth the price of admission. No really-his act is that strong! Now the test of a good ventriloquist is whether the audience thinks of the dummy as a separate personality or just an extension of the performer. Where most others ‘dumb-down’ ventriloquism, Barber ‘dummies-up,’ turning the genre on its head, and, not to give away too much, let’s just say that he allows himself to become the sidekick. It is a clever move that sets him apart from every other act working today. A ventriloquist who can create authentic on-stage personalities and cause back-row belly laughs and all the while keeping it sounding so fresh is one who can be truly called great. Jim Barber is one of the greats. Why do audiences return year-after-year? Well, they come back for real talent, and Jim Barber is just that. He is real talent!

“We’re here to have fun!” That’s what master magician Dave Hamner announces as he returns to the stage for the first of several narrated illusions. Now THAT really sums it all up. No world’s records are going to be attempted, no death-defying nonsense or other over-the-top fakery, either. Dave Hamner is the kind of entertainer who puts his audience (and their intelligence) first. The Hamner-Barber Show is big on audience participation and Dave interacts in such a friendly manner that it’s almost easy to forget that he’s also one of the best close-up magicians working today. And his larger illusions are every bit as spectacular as anybody’s, but what makes this show so special is that Dave Hamner, his wife Denise and Jim Barber do their thing in a way that lets their audience feel special. They put their God-given talents to great use and more than a few audience members, in describing how they liked the show, used the word, “Blessed.”

The Hamners and Jim Barber were awarded the Merlin Award the night BRANSON REVIEWED! checked them out. But it’s just another award for the lobby; these guys are too busy entertaining to spend too much time on such things.

" - Branson Reviewed

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