Went to the Princess of Wales theatre yesterday afternoon (New Years Eve day) to see The Illusionists. We had excellent seats near the front of the second balcony and anyway, it wouldn’t have made all that much difference because they had a screen which brought you the action as if on T.V. At any rate, it was all a bit underwhelming. First of all, the music was completely too loud and distracting. The little boy in front of us – about 4 years old I’d guess – was so frightened that his parents actually covered him up and gave him earphones. I don’t know why live entertainTment has to be so loud all the time. Or am I just showing my age? Jeff Hobson who acted in a way as M.C. was probably the best. His magic was his comedy. One especially funny moment involved a child picked apparently at random from the front row of the audience who turned out to be the best part of the entire show. But Hobson was funny in his own right.
The Korean “Manipulator”, Yu Ho-Jin was also mesmerizing as he made his scarf into cards which then seemingly disappeared into thin air and back into his scarf once more. He came back at the end with more hand/card tricks that were delightful. Could have used much more of him.
Andrew Basso, “the Escapologist” escaped from the “water torture” tank in full view of the audience within three minutes and it was suspenseful, but I’ve seen it before and it’s a bit “old hat”. He was only on stage for the one “trick”.
Darcy Oake, the one Canadian who is billed as “the Grand Illusionist” was okay, but the fact that I really can’t remember one of his illusions says something I think about the performance.
Dan Sperry billed as “the Anti-Conjuror” did some rather disgusting tricks – like placing a toonie in his eye and then cutting it out of his arm. I thought his performance could have been avoided altogether.
Kevin James, “the Inventor” was actually boring. He too chose a child out of the audience, but she was stilted, seemed scared and he did very little to settle her or help her perform.
Colin Cloud, the Scottish “Deductionist” was similarly unimpressive. The tricks were fairly obvious.
Altogether I enjoyed watching the illusionists and magicians on America’s Got Talent more than I did the show at the Princess of Wales. Perhaps T.V. just lends itself better to that kind of show, but really, The Illusionists at the live theatre was a disappointment.