Entertainment Hive 2018

The Illusionists 1903

Adelaide Festival Centre until January 25

Review by Honey B

The Illusionists 1903 pulls back the velvet curtains on the grandeur and the old world glamour of the Golden Age of magic which spanned nearly 60 years in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This latest version of the highly popular Illusionists productions showcases the origins of some of the greatest illusions, stunts and sleight-of-hand tricks ever performed. The creative team behind the show have created a beautiful nod to this magical era from the video screen that looks like a vintage mirror to the detailed costumes and historical research surrounding the magicians of the time. Creative Director Mark Kalin (The Showman) and his wife Jinger Leigh (The Conjuress) share a passion for the art-form and those who have come before which is easy to see. The pair were the most entertaining as they performed a classic and highly dangerous bullet catch routine - in which Kalin and Jinger detailed the deadly history of those who had tried the stunt before. They also lightened the mood with a double cutting in half routine with a man and a woman in which Jinger joked that back in the day it was the men who were always cut in half. Their version of the illusion was fluid and funny as they put the pair back together with the wrong bottom halves. Tommy Ten and Amelie van Tass were a deliciously intriguing duo as The Clairvoyants. The mysterious Tass was sweet and beguiling with her mind-reading skills as she guessed items in people's bags, including knowing how many cigarettes were left in a packet right down to the serial number on a $20 bill. Charlie Frye (The Eccentric) brought the old-school vaudevillian routines to the show and he was superb juggling balls, hats, canes and various items as well as a wonderful ring routine which even saw him attached to a chair. The crazy member of the troupe was Jonathan Goodwin (The Daredevil) who is a highly skilled escape artist and he detailed one of Houdini's greatest escape tricks - that of escaping from a straight jacket. But Goodwin upped the ante as many magicians have done over time and he hung upside-down in a straight jacket as a lit fuse raced towards his fuel soaked pants to set him on fire. He even had to put the flames out himself! There were so many memorable moments in this show, but Armando Lucero (The Maestro) was mind- blowing with his deft card tricks. His hands were so quick and fluid and you are left wondering how he does it, which is a true hats off to any magician. Rick Thomas (The Immortal) definitely brought the classic illusions to the stage with his classic dove act, a wonderful vanishing act and the all-time high levitation routine. With a wonderful narrative, gorgeous set and costumes and such high-skilled, entertaining and truly astonishing performers this is one magic show that you don't want to disappear before you've seen it.
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