Conception: Simon Painter
Director: Neil Dorward
Reviewer: Dan Humphries
The Illusionists are back in town and this time they’re sticking around. After a few years of short runs, The Illusionistshave unpacked their top hats for a Christmas run at The Shaftesbury Theatre, filled with all the glitz and glamour of Vegas, with live musicians and dancers galore.
The show opens, however, in a much more mild-mannered style with Colin Cloud aka The Deductionist, to give him his official Illusionist name, doing what appears to be a simple maths trick. It would be easy for the attention to drift at this early point but the payoff is fantastic.
Throughout the night we’re treated to a vast array of tricks, some mind-blowing and some simply interesting, but by far the most impressive is that of Japanese magician Den Den – here dubbed The Manipulator. Den Den’s set is initially intriguing due to the lack of distraction and glitz. Where his fellow magicians filled the stage with dancers, set pieces and clutter, Den Den is alone on stage, utterly spellbinding and without gimmicks and this where the show really comes alive.
Alongside magic and illusion, we’re also treated to death-defying acts of escapism and archery, though these aren’t for the faint-hearted. If you are a viewer who would rather watch these types of risky acts at home on YouTube under the safe guarantee that everything turns out all right in the end, your heart is likely to be in your mouth at several moments.
The Illusionists offers a glimpse at the extraordinary, and if (like many) you missed out on tickets to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, The Illusionists will provide a much more affordable alternative.
Runs until 3 January 2016| Image: Alastair Muir