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The Illusionists

The latest magic spectacle promising to amaze London is the Broadway hit ‘The Illusionists’: a magic package show, featuring seven acts (not just illusionists, but mentalists, close-up magic and more), all performing different conjuring genres.  The Illusionists is all held together by compere and comedy magic specialist Paul Dabek, who steals the show with his quick wit and impressive skills – we were laughing out loud over his interpretation of the Lion King with clever use of his hands.

But a big surprise, beyond some of the illusions, comes in just how little the five interact with each other. Given solo opportunities to shine in this 2+ hour show, there is a lost opportunity for the quintet to come together for one giant illusion at the end.  Instead they perform solo and each has their own individual style!

Jonathan Goodwin – The Daredevil

As seen recently on Britain’s Got Talent, we were told there are no tricks involved in what Goodwin does, but even if you take that statement with a grain of salt, there is no denying he is fearless.  Having one of the night’s best stage presences, he is as likeable as he is wacky.  We found the scorpion act where an audience member has to slap Jonathan’s face while he is holding the scorpion in his mouth highly amusing.  Whereas his illusion with the take on the Houdini water tank with gravel instead of water was heart stopping to watch and almost felt the need to rush the stage to pull the chord to release him!

Adam Trent – The Futurist

Adam plays well to the live cameras which follow the magicians through their segments – we liked this touch as you get to see the action up-close via a handheld camera. Adam mixes things up a bit from the more traditional illusions with the use of technology, bringing the Future of magic into his act.   Stand out for us was as he jumps between large video screens in a blink-of-the-eye.

ILL19_Q1_05_Cast_Hero_Jonathan_Goodwin
ILL19_Q1_05_Cast_Hero_James_More

Yu Ho-Jin – The Manipulator

Yu’s skills with manipulating cards are indeed impressive and his stage presence as slick as a Vegas magician. Not saying a word, he pulls deck-after-deck of card miraculously out of thin air, changing the colours of the cards and their size.  No doubt this is down to his amazingly long fingers!  It is graceful and quite beautiful to watch.

James More – The Showman

James is an enigma from start to finish. His speechless presentation really capitalises on his Illusionists moniker with dancers, large set pieces and heavy music, offering a really nice change of pace from the other acts.

Enzo Weyne – The Unforgettable

Enzo is an impossibly cool continental who does a disappearing trick, then does it again with a twist just for the clever clogs who think they have worked out how it is done – we have to admit we still do not understand how he ended up on the other side of the stage.

Chris Cox -The Mentalist 

Chris does mind reading which went well with the audience thanks to his zany personality and boundless energy – like a Duracell magical bunny!  You are greeted by Chris on the large screens as you enter the auditorium asking you to fill out what you would like him to do on stage.  This is placed in a sealed box, hung above the stage for all to see throughout the show until he brings it down.  The evening we were there he managed to work out the audience members names, where they lived etc. all by licking the envelope that was in the sealed box.  Impressive and funny!

And a big round of applause for the “glamourous ladies”! This was one downfall for the show – it was a shame not to see women magicians as per previous shows in London, but we have been informed that for their next trick they will be adding females to the line-up.

We have also heard that each show can offer different illusions where the magicians get to shine with other performances which means you may get a different show each time.

ILL19_Q1_05_Cast_Hero_Chris_Cox

Running until September, it’s a West End attraction the entire family can enjoy.  We thought this was a good night out and we are still discussing “how was that done?” and “how did they get there?!”  But then again, it is all an illusion.

The Illusionists is on at the Shaftesbury Theatre until 1 September 2019.

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