There are few things I remember from my childhood as vividly as I do my 10th birthday when my parents hired some amateur magician to perform at my birthday party. I remember being enthralled by having a quarter pulled from my ear and seeing a worn down rabbit being pulled out from a top hat, I may have stopped believing in Santa Claus at that point but I certainly believed in magic after that glorious afternoon.
So you can imagine the thrill I felt of both nostalgia and outright excitement at seeing the performance of not one, but seven magnificent magicians all at the top of their game this past Tuesday night as “The Illusionists: Witness the Impossible” made a memorable appearance at Capitol Theatre as part of a 9 show run that ends on June 28th.
“The Illusionists” brings a Broadway style, Las Vegas influenced spectacle to Capitol Theatre that incorporates the talents of seven of the best magicians in the world including Andrew Basso (as The Escapologist), Aaron Crow (The Warrior), Jeff Hobson (The Trickster), Yu Ho-Jin (The Manipulator), Dan Sperry (The Anti-Conjurer), Adam Trent (The Futurist) and Kevin James (The Inventor). Each magician brings a unique set of talents to the stage that far exceeds the standard magician fare of cheap coin and rabbit tricks.
It would be as treat in itself just to have one of these seven skilled illusionists perform much less a venue that showcases all of their talents on one stage which is truly a sight to behold. While it might seem like a challenge to find a way to fit all those egos and talents into one cohesive performance perhaps the true magic of their show is how they are able seamlessly incorporates one magician after another, trick after trick without missing as beat.
Each magician brings a unique skill set and personality that makes the nearly three hour performance flies by in a New York minute. From the moment the charismatic Trent appears on the stage with his engaging dialogue and his useful ability to project himself across the theatre all while wearing a Go Pro camera it’s quite evident the audience is in for as magical evening. It’s impossible to be bored at the sight of the delightful Hobson who manages to pull off wearing ruby red slipper and giving a nearly spot on impersonation of Robin Williams while dancing whimsically across the stage while winking (sometimes lecherously) at the audience.
Some of the Illusionists charm with their voice while others don’t even use their voice at all like that of Crow whose imposing silence and intense gaze is matched only by his ability to shoot a arrow through an apple from across the stage while spinning in a circle and that is only half of what make his performance an impossible feat and well worth the cost of admission alone. Ho-Jin doesn’t say a word during his two performances but he doesn’t have to as his logic defying feats with a scarf and playing cards set to a thematic musical score is perhaps the best magic of the evening.
Sperry stands out as arguably the most entertaining magician with his gothic teen angst persona that translates into an incredibly funny routine that could stand alone on comedic value alone yet still involves the spectacle of Russian Roulette with a unsuspecting audience member and birds that magically appear and disappear from both flames and hanker chefs. If that isn’t enough to pique your interest I still haven’t mentioned the insanely creative talents of James who pulls off the mad scientist routine in both looks and his ability to cut what appears to be actual people in half and then have the amputated body parts move all on their own before putting them back together again.
You may have seen a few good magicians here and there and perhaps you have even made the trek to Las Vegas to see the likes of David Copperfield but there is nothing like the spectacle of seeing seven of the most creative and dynamic magicians in the world perform together on one stage. By the end of the evening the ten year old in me was alive and well thanks to an incredible collective performance that left me believing in magic once again.