It is a healthy time of magic in London at the moment. Derren Brown is opening at the Palace theatre, Dynamo at the Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith and The Illusionists are at The Shaftesbury Theatre. We will be adding relevant reviews as they appear, here is one for the Illusionists, now with Jamie Raven!
“The Illusionists” show has finally arrived in London after playing in more than 70 cities around the world. You want to see “The Escapologist,” Andrew Basso, cheat death by seconds, as he clambers out of a glass tank full of water – just before drowning upside down?
Take a trip to London’s Shaftesbury Theatre to watch the glitzy, in-your-face show that is The Illusionists, and you could very much be forgiven for thinking so. This is not the Paul Daniels school of bunco booth trickery – this is high octane magic, as big, as slick, and frankly as sexy as it comes.
It plays from Bogota to Beirut, from New York to Dubai. It has even been to Wolverhampton. Having begun life in Sydney in 2012, The Illusionists is now a smash-hit, big-budget magic franchise that seems hell-bent on playing every major conurbation in the world before this time next year.
After last summer’s locally-produced magic variety package Impossible comes an Australian-born but already internationally franchised show, The Illusionists, for its first West End run. It opens here contemporaneously with its second consecutive Christmas run on Broadway, while other editions are also opening in Dubai and Mexico.
Shaftesbury Theatre, London Until January 3 2hrs Rating: It’s a pity that no amount of magic can make that draughty old barn of a theatre, the Shaftesbury, into a cosy space ideal for a show of now-you-see-it, now-you-don’t. Here, director and choreographer Neil Dorward smothers his line-up of seven male illusionists in naff, glitzy, vulgar, Vegas-style trappings.
The Illusionists: Witness The Impossible is billed as a “magic spectacular” and here gets its first West End outing, having toured more than 70 other cities around the world. Each of the seven performers has his own segment (yes, they’re all men) and these veer from Las Vegas-style glitz to the sort of chummy routine that might grace an upmarket children’s party.
Astonishingly, this is the second imported magic spectacular to hit the West End in four months. But, while it is very much a male-dominated affair, it has little of the overt sexism of Impossible, which implied women were put on Earth to be bisected, concealed in cabinets or shot at by muscular blokes.
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