20
Jan
13

The Illusionists

The Illusionists

 

The Illusionists

Tim Lawson, Simon Painter & QPAC

Concert Hall, QPAC

18th – 27th January 2013

 

Reviewed by Meredith McLean

 

I could talk of magic and believing. It’s all a very common trope; believing is seeing and all those sentimentalities. I could go on about how magic transports us and takes us on a journey to something we might not have imagined before. But I’m too dry for that. Magic or not, The Illusionists is a stunning show.

 

The whole time I was conflicted. Part of me wanted to scrutinise and deduct the secret to every illusion and trick. Some of which were easy enough to figure out. But another part of me really wanted to believe in the magic of science (something I’ll mention more of later on) and illusion. I just wanted to believe in the magicians, some of whom were more endearing than others.

 

I’m lying though; I wasn’t conflicted the entire time, per say. Beforehand I was lucky enough to attend with other guests, the pre-show dinner at the Rooftop Function Room at the Cremorne Theatre. I was quite content to enjoy the delicious hors d’oeuvres and a flute of champagne. There was no conflict there at all.

 

When the grand show did begin it was The Trickster, originally Jeff Hobson, who introduces us to what’s in store. He was consistently my favourite from the beginning until his sign off at the end. What I loved most about him was that he didn’t need some of the large-scale illusions that The Inventor Kevin James or The Grand Illusionist Brett Daniels had to offer. He reminds us great showmanship is in itself a magic trick. There was no flames, no abracadabra, but he willed an entire audience to adore him.

 

I would’ve liked to see more of The Escapologist, Andrew Basso in the show. His brief time on stage was nothing you haven’t heard or seen before. But his accent and biceps certainly enchanted me and the other ladies in the crowd. The diversity doesn’t end with Basso though. Jinger Leigh, or The Enchantress, was the only female figure on the team. Though she does hold her own against the boys I was a little disappointed. I expected her to have her own act but she was ultimately just the sexy assistant to Mark Kalin The Gentleman. As a duo they were fantastic and witty, their act has made the rounds on television and international tours. One of their better-known acts was making a jumbo jet disappear. Unfortunately, that won’t be seen at Concert Hall. Jinger always has a cheeky remark if Mr. Kalin steps out of line. But as I said, I was expecting something a bit more unique from her and this was not to be so.

 

Someone who was very unique presented us something that is becoming more and more popular at the moment. Kevin James The Inventor specializes in what is described as magic inventions and groundbreaking illusions. The man has crafted inventions for prolific magicians like David Copperfield. This is not to say he can’t hold his own on the stage. He is certainly the most family friendly of the seven illusionists. With his old-fashioned suit and gruff, southwestern accent he reminds me of a grandfather figure. Each illusion comes with a gently told story or a comedic sequence of mimes and music.

 

Believe me, I haven’t forgotten to mention two other performers in this troupe. Last but not least The Anti-Conjuror and The Grand Illusionist himself both have their place in this cornucopia of magic. But I feel I should say as little as possible about these two so as not to give away the shock and awe of seeing them perform. If you have seen them before then you will already be aware that they manipulate things in a way that is stunning.

 

I guess it’s up to you in the end. Will you watch the show with skepticism and a calculative mind? Or might you try to suspend your disbelief and have faith in magic for a night? The Illusionists is an amazing opportunity to see seven very different but highly accomplished performers together in one show. Take the chance to get back a little bit of that feeling of wonder at QPAC before the show disappears……

 

The Illusionists

 

 

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