Shaftesbury Theatre, London – until 1 September 2019
The Illusionists are back in London for the summer season with their mix of illusion, thrilling feats, humour and family fun. Seven illusionists with seven different styles of ‘magic’ from the nail-biting and seat squirming to the awe-inspiring and gasp-inducing make up an exciting and varied evening’s entertainment.
And while you won’t find rabbits being pulled out of a hat there is still a lot that is familiar – sleight of hand, female assistants sliced up in boxes, objects disappearing and death-defying escapes.
But The Illusionists has the slickness and gloss of 21st century sophistication –Paul Daniels’ magic show this isn’t – mixed with a new style of ‘magic’ making the most of digital technology for something that you may not have seen before.
Each illusionist has a name which represents their style of magic. The Daredevil, for example, performs nerve-jangling feats, The Mentalist has incredible mind-reading skills and The Manipulator takes card tricks to another level.
It is the latter who particularly stands out, proving that sometimes it is the simplest tricks that are the most impressive, his hands moving with almost liquid-like dexterity.
Live camera work and big screens mean those sitting towards the back of the auditorium can get a close-up view of the ‘smaller’ illusions with a couple of illusionists even incorporating handheld cameras into their acts for extreme close-ups.
This show isn’t David Blaine-style grand illusions, rather each individual act is relatively short and the changing styles and tone gives a nice pace to the evening – there isn’t time to get bored.
There is also a good dose of family-friendly comedy and humour, a rather impressive piece of shadow puppetry and some audience participation, just to keep everyone on their toes.
I pity the poor man on the front row who just happened to get picked on for two different acts.
If you are looking for a thrilling and fun night out over the summer then The Illusionists is suitable for families and grown-ups alike and I’m giving it ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.
It is 2 hours and 15 minutes including an interval and is at the Shaftsbury Theatre until 1 Sept.
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