Thursday, December 04, 2014




THRU JAN 4, 2015

THE ILLUSIONISTS is an energetic, exciting modern take on an age-old Magic Variety Show. Featuring a mix of comedy and magic ("If you don't laugh, then it's the magic..."), audience participation (almost voluntary), high voltage (but medium decibel) music, and some costumed dancers, the show is old-fashioned and fun.

The quality of the magic varies from lame to impressive, the comedy from lame to funny. But, overall, the show is magic-ally interesting, and entertainingly funny. Some of the banter is mildly adult, and some bits are a bit scary, but older children, especially those interested in magic, would find it a great show, I think.

It's not really designed for a magically sophisticated audience, but with seven fine magicians, it does provide a tasty sampler of magical styles from card tricks to escapes to weaponry to terrorizing an audience member.

Indeed, two children taken from the audience were treated well (though encouraged to lie: "How old are you?" "Eight. "Oooh! You have to be nine to come on stage ...How old are you?" "Eight" "You have to be nine to come on stage, how old are you?" "Eight." "How old are you?" "Nine!" "Great! Come up with me on stage..."). Adults... well, were not treated so gently: A trick with a wicked looking bow and arrow, an apple, and a audience member; and another with a variant of Russian Roulette (RR) and a very uncomfortable looking audience member, both looked like they could be dangerous if they went awry. (Indeed they showed "YouTube" video clips of how the RR trick could go wrong!) But in the end no humans were injured making the show.

(Just a thought... Do real audience members who participate in actually hazardous stunts ever have to sign a release?)

The show is in the middle of a tour of the world and has received some good reviews in far away places in some earlier stops.

The magicians featured are:

• The Manipulator, Yu Ho-Jin - Impressive card manipulations!
• The Anti-Conjuror, Dan Sperry
• The Trickster, Jeff Hobson - A low-rent Liberace wannabe (?)
• The Escapologist, Andrew Basso - Interesting to see -- live -- the escape from a case of water! Took 3+ minutes holding his breath!
• The Inventor, Kevin James - He was good with a child!
• The Warrior, Aaron Crow
• The Futurist, Adam Trent - I especially liked his interaction with a video screen!

The entire show is videotaped live and simulcast on a large, but not very high resolution, screen. It only kind of worked. Probably good for people in the very back or upstairs, but it was somewhat distracting and, except for a very fine piece with the Futurist, the screen did not really enhance any tricks. I kept looking to see if it gave a sharp perspective on the magic, but it rarely provided any insight that enriched a trick.

THE ILLUSIONISTS is a fun, undemanding, entertaining, sometimes exciting, often funny, and mostly "magical" Holiday entertainment.





(Some notes about the hotel and its elevators. I got lost more than once -- and the staff was not helpful. The theater is on the third floor, most easily reached from street level by an escalator. There is no second floor. The hotel lobby is on the eighth floor. Most floors can be reached by dialing the number on a keypad and then going to the elevator they send you to. The View, an after-show restaurant on the 48th floor, is only accessible from two special (marked) elevators, that depart only from the 3rd floor.

The theater itself, by the way, is modern and comfortable, but has one of those designs that have no center aisle, so if you have a center seat, be prepared to cross a lot of knees.

Also, if you park at the hotel, when you are ready for your car, you can call them and they will tell you how long it will take to get your car, and will page you when its down. It's convenient to park in the hotel, but it is expensive.)

Weekly Playing Schedule for the Broadway Engagement:

Monday, December 1 – Sunday, December 7 (week of opening):
Tuesday and Wednesday at 7PM, Thursday at 6:30PM (opening night), Friday at 8PM, Saturday at 3PM and 8PM, Sunday at 3PM and 7:30PM

Monday, December 8 – Sunday, December 14:
Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at 7PM, Friday at 8PM, Saturday at 3PM and 8PM, Sunday at 3PM and 7:30PM

Monday, December 15 – Sunday, December 21:
Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at 7PM, Friday at 8PM, Saturday at 3PM and 8PM, Sunday at 11AM, 3PM, and 7:30PM

Monday, December 22 – Sunday, December 28:
Monday and Tuesday at 7PM, Friday at 2PM and 8PM, Saturday at 11AM, 3PM, and 8PM, Sunday at 11AM, 3PM, and 7:30PM

Monday, December 29 – Sunday, January 4:
Monday and Tuesday at 7PM, Wednesday at 2PM

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