Director: Lloyd Wood
Reviewer: Matt Forrest
It seems the world of magic and illusion are very much back in vogue at the moment. Magicians like Dynamo and Derren Brown are seldom off our television screens, battering our brains and leaving us in awe at how they have achieved their latest trick. However, more recently magic has gone full circle and returned to the stages and theatres where it began life, and this is the setting for Impossible.
Opening with a brief introduction into the history of magic, we are treated to an explanation into the origins of magic, and the various styles that conjurers and tricksters have used throughout the centuries. The show kicks off with each of the Impossible team giving a brief taste of what they can do: Josephine Lee, as the Grand Illusionist, and Ben Hart with some more tradition displays of magic, as he manages to link three audience members rings together, helped along when one of the audience members who can’t recognise his own ring (I’m guessing he’ll wish he could make himself invisible when he gets home.)
The show really get going with even more audience participation: we have the introduction of sleight-of-hand maestro, Lee Thompson, who manages to relieve one rather reluctant audience member of his possessions several times, and the arrival of escapologist, Jonathan Goodwin who draws the first major gasp of the night as he manages to bend a spanner with his teeth.
Up next is likeable mentalist Chris Cox, who describes himself as “a mind-reader who can’t read minds”, he imposes a huge amount of fun into the show, and has a natural flare for comedy and an extraordinary talent for reading people. It’s a highly entertaining, fun segment, which seems to relax the audience. The final act of the first half sees Hart dressed as the Victorian showman, as he aims to transport one audience member from one of the stage to the other: top marks to Andrew D Edwards whose set design really adds to the trick and makes it look hugely impressive.
Following the interval we are treated to some stunning set pieces, Goodwin, performs a daring act of escapology as he manages to escape a straight jacket while set on fire, which certainly raised the tension in the room, and a few cheers from the ladies in the audience as he removed his top, it may not be just Goodwin who needs hosing down following the trick!
There is the magic stalwart of sawing a lady in half, which may be as old as time, but is still as impressive today as it was the first time any of us will have seen it performed on TV. Thompson returns with an impressive display which sees the theatre perform their own magic trick, which draws the loudest gasp of the evening and biggest cheers, thus proving anyone can do magic. (Or you can if you can remember the sequence which alas I cannot!) There is more from Cox, whose next feat of mind-bending is a pure joy with a hugely entertaining pay off, as he lets the audience control his actions.
The show’s finale, showcases the talents of hip-hop street magician, Magical Bones. Striding on to stage with some pretty mean dance moves, the way he glides across the stage, beggars’ belief by itself. Bones, performs a musical card trick that is staggering and a joy to see.
This is a great show, and a hark back to more traditional times, sure you may have seen some of the tricks but that doesn’t mean they won’t thrill and certainly doesn’t make them as any less entertaining. Cox and Thompson have a gift for comedy and entertainment, Goodwin has a commanding stage presence, while Bones and Hart are what every magic show needs, good solid showmen. The show is not without flaws and some points it can feel like a bit of a poor man’s Las Vegas cabaret act, but these are minor quibbles for what is overall good solid family entertainment. One word of caution, after witnessing the final trick of the night you may never eat a chocolate bar the same way again!
Runs until 26March 2016 | Image:Helen Maybanks