The IllusionistsThere's magic in the air - and in the audience - as this very talented group of mind-boggling masters of mystery demonstrate the fascination of the apparently impossible, and hold the audience spell-bound for a good two hours.

These seasoned performers are truly seven wonders of the world of illusion. Each has an established world-wide reputation and huge experience in baffling people, and keeping the wonder alive. And they certainly don't disappoint in Adelaide, where standing ovations actually have to be earned, and don't come easily, but a standing ovation they got, and deserved.

There are a number of old favourite tricks, most of us may well have seen before, like Jeff Hobson's egg and bag gag, and his three ropes trick. But this time they are presented with a high camp patter which adds real comedy and a new dimension to some familiar classics, which still remain very puzzling at the hands of such an artist of the sleight.

Not only does Brett Daniels show the levitation of his beautiful assistant, but he makes her appear from nowhere, and disappear back there as well. He is also a master of the large scale illusion, such as vanishing on a large motorbike with a lot of noise, and reappearing in the middle of the audience a matter of seconds later.

Mark Kalin and his gorgeous assistant and partner Jinger Leigh do another astounding levitation feat, closely watched by a member of the audience, and he later appears to impale her with swords and slice her in two as two others from the audience hold on to straps which were tying her down. It certainly looks easy, but don't try this at home!

Another feat not to try without serious training is escaping from the Houdini "Water Torture Cell", in which Andrew Basso was handcuffed and padlocked upside down in the water tank in full view of the audience. Using only a bobby pin, he managed to escape, holding his breath for a full three minutes. This was not magic: this was sheer physicality, athleticism, dexterity and self control, but none the less as mystifying.

Dan Sperry, with his tats and gothic makeup and hairstyle mystified with some bizarre, tense-making and macabre procedures, such as excising a lifesaver through his throat, apparently chewing up razorblades and extracting a string of them whole from his mouth, and doing extraordinary things with doves he conjured from nowhere whilst babbling a manic, but amusing patter.

The ability to woo an audience is a hallmark of Kevin James' performances, as wide ranging as chain-sawing a person in half (and stapling him back together), and gently wowing a bemused and fascinated little girl with a paper flower that danced in the air. Finally he wowed everyone with a snowstorm he conjured from a paper napkin as the finale.

Throughout, the artistes were accompanied by nicely coordinated music (for tension building, climaxing etc.,) from "Z" - a 4-piece rich, jazz/rock/hip-hop on-stage band, which, combined with recorded music in places, maintained the excitement and atmosphere, ably assisted with dramatic lighting by Mike McCain, and a troupe of gothic dancers directed and choreographed by Neil Dorwood.

Levitation notwithstanding, this is an uplifting night at the theatre with the world's best illusionists, perfect for the holidays. Incredible, astounding, amusing, mystifying, perplexing, and challenging - all in all this is a magical, mystery tour de force. Be prepared to be amazed!


THE ILLUSIONISTS

Venue: Adelaide Festival Theatre, Adelaide
Dates: 31 December 2012 – 12 January 2013
Tickets: $99.90 – $59.90
Bookings: BASS 131 246 | www.bass.net.au



Most read Adelaide reviews

Gaslight is an entertaining, non-convoluted, engaging and superbly written piece, so that it...