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IMagician: The Evolution of Magic – Harrogate Theatre

Reviewer: Rosie Revell

iMagician: The Evolution of Magic explores the work of history’s greatest illusionists and magicians demonstrating how modern technology can make them even better. Magician Jamie Allen brought his new show to Harrogate, the first stop on his new UK tour forming an interesting blend of illusion, card tricks, sleight of hand and modern technology including iPad, Twitter, Facebook and lasers. Allen has one mission, to make magic more accessible and to help adult audiences regain their sense of childlike wonder. It achieves this in spades and it is no mean feat making what could be cheesy old fashioned magic tricks modern with masses of audience participation. Although it was hampered by a few first night technical problems and a bizarrely placed laser show that served no magical purpose, the show is thoroughly enjoyable, and head scratchingly “how did he do that?” like any good magic show should be.

The first half of the show focuses on the history of magic and revisits some of the greatest tricks, from great magicians such as French magician Robert Houdin and the world famous Harry Houdini. Utilising film clips on big screens, Allen manages to make the tricks relevant and accessible to his audience who may be unaware of magic’s rich and varied history. The performance shows that magic can still be relevant and awe-inspiring even in this modern, and much more cynical age.

Going into detail would spoil the surprise of the magic, but needless to say it is thoroughly entertaining, emotive, thought-provoking and great fun. There were some truly astounding card tricks, one especially memorable one using the Sting song ‘Shape of my Heart’ as its cue and soundtrack. Allen clearly has honed his craft, showing off top notch stage craft. There was also a lovely tribute to Apple founder Steve Jobs, using a simple wooden puzzle set against an inspiring recording of Jobs’ voice. There were some much bigger more astounding illusions that no doubt thrilled the inner child in all of the audience. The show really does end on a high, as it recreates a dangerous escapist illusion that Houdini himself never completed.

Allen has a great stage presence making jokes and talking easily with the audience, educating and astounding them in equal measure. His passion for magic is clear and infectious to the audience.

Reviewed on: 11th February 2015

Reviewer: Rosie Revell iMagician: The Evolution of Magic explores the work of history’s greatest illusionists and magicians demonstrating how modern technology can make them even better. Magician Jamie Allen brought his new show to Harrogate, the first stop on his new UK tour forming an interesting blend of illusion, card tricks, sleight of hand and modern technology including iPad, Twitter, Facebook and lasers. Allen has one mission, to make magic more accessible and to help adult audiences regain their sense of childlike wonder. It achieves this in spades and it is no mean feat making what could be cheesy old…

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The Yorkshire & North East team is under the editorship of Charlotte Broadbent. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.