Palace Theatre, London – until 30 August 2021
The art of illusion and magic has arrived at the Palace Theatre as Wonderville takes to the stage. Normally home to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Wonderville has taken up residence for the next six weeks. Acts including Chris Cox, Young and Strange, Edward Hilsum, Kat Hudson, Symone and Emily England superbly mesmerise and wow the audience.
Press night certainly delivered an energetic and fascinating evening’s entertainment with a tremendous variety of magic tricks, acrobatics and impressive illusions. The inclusion of audience participation bought us closer to the magic at times.
Host Chris Cox has a “wonderville” presence on the stage and larger than life charisma. The act in the second half in which he selects audience members to become part of his mind-reading set is light-hearted and engaging. Without any obvious tricks, he converses individually with each one and appears to accurately tell them what they are thinking. I am not sure how he did it but it’s fascinating watching him in action. Cox is the perfect choice for this role.
Critically acclaimed magician Edward Hilsum is joined by a flock of magically summoned doves who appear only too content to be on stage. At one point in his act, he brought a young apprentice onto the stage from the audience to assist him in his act. The young man chosen was Dev. Unphased by the lights and audience he followed Hilsum’s lead brilliantly. Demonstrating a possible future career on stage with a big smile and natural bow.
Due to an injury, we sadly didn’t see the world’s leading female illusionist, Josephine Lee, which is a shame and I wish her a speedy recovery. However, we were treated to performances by Kat Hudson of Britain’s Got Talent fame and Las Vegas’ headliner star from Absinthe and Star, Emily England. I am still none the wiser as to how Hudson didn’t spill a pint of beer in her bag turning magic act.
Director Annabelle Mutale Reed creates a fast-paced magical/illusionist extravaganza which has been complemented by an excellent collection of costumes by Penn O’Garh. England’s Harlequin outfit especially caught my attention and I thought she looked stunning.
If you are searching for a superb and captivating show with a host of incredible entertainers then look no further as Wonderville is suitable for all age groups and a perfect show for a family theatre trip. Prepare yourselves to be astounded and enthralled. We know it’s magic but what many of us don’t know is how the illusion behind the magic works. For me, I am happy for it to stay that way and completely suspend my disbelief and let the magic take over.