the illusionists

I’ve always been fascinated by magic. In elementary school, I decided to teach myself a magic trick for a class assignment (a disappearing penny, for the record), and even today I’ll suffer through often painful episodes of competition variety shows in hopes of seeing a great magic act. But I’d never seen a large scale Vegas-style magic show in person…until now!

kevin-james-the-inventor

The Illusionists is filled with amazing tricks. There were definitely times I gasped aloud (and also times that I covered my eyes). As impressive magic is on TV, there’s always that layer of separation…even though you know it was performed live, you can’t reallyyyy be sure. Seeing it live was definitely a thrill, and I’d love to see another big magic show.

The show is made up of seven performers, each with their own specialty. I was curious to see how all these distinct acts would work together in a single show, and the answer is……a little bit oddly? There really wasn’t an act that I disliked, but there were definitely intense tonal shifts between the gothy gross-out tricks of Dan Sperry (The Anti-Conjuror) and the wacky Liberace-esque gladhanding from Jeff Hobson (The Trickster). Add in some cute kid-related illusions made to make you go “awww,” pretty assistants in strappy leather gear, mind-reading, breakdancers, and a guy dramatically descending into a water-filled cage of death, and there’s definitely a lot going on. I know that set-up and timing probably limits how the show can be put together, but I would have liked to rearrange some of the acts for a different flow.

My favorite performance of the night would have to be the first act by Yuho Jin (The Manipulator). His performance was so much quieter than the rest of the show, but no less enrapturing. I was also appropriately mystified by the discoveries of Colin Cloud (The Deductionist). That kind of “mind-reading” magic is one of my very favorites…I know that there are tons of different devices and stage tricks that go into other magic, but when it’s something as simple as knowing~ someone’s thoughts, I’m always desperate to figure out how they’re doing it!

Seeing The Illusionists was a ton of fun, and it would be a great night out for a family (although the humor does get a little raunchy at times).

The Illusionists runs now through February 19 at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts.

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