Four years ago, a sensational team of magicians premiered their show, The Illusionists, at the Sydney Opera House, and since then they have gone on to conquer Broadway, the West End and Mexico.
Now back in Australian with their show The Illusionists 1903, dressed in period attire – circa Edwardian era 1901-1910 – and performing grand illusions, puppetry, mentalism and sleight of hand, they are amazing young and old, and proving that everything old is indeed new again.
With The Immortal (Rick Thomas), a very powerful figure on-stage, donning a rather large period-appropriate moustache and with slightly scary piercing eyes, Thomas levitates both himself as well as his assistant simultaneously, and then materialises white doves out of thin air, over and over again.
The Escapologist (Krendl) recreates Houdini’s Chinese Water Torture Cell routine, giving goosebumps to all who watch on with trepidation whilst Krendl wiggles and struggles to escape the handcuffs and ankle clamps, as he hangs upside-down in a tank of water.
Another tall, moustachioed gentleman, who is aptly nicknamed The Charlatan (Dana Daniels) shares the stage with a couple of volunteers, and proceeds to play magical tricks and gags on them with the assistance of his cheeky white dove, with a heavy handed dose of comedy.
The Clairvoyants (Thommy Ten and Amélie van Tass), leave everyone baffled by their amazing capability of guessing the audience’s most elusive thoughts, and contents of their handbags.
The Showman (Mark Kalin) and The Conjuress (Jinger Leigh) recreate another all-time favourite, the sawing of a woman in half. Kalin successfully builds up the tension in the house, that at one point you almost expect to see blood oozing out of the box, as he “cuts” into Leigh as she lay in the box.
The Eccentric (Charlie Frye) is part Buster Keaton, part Charlie Chaplin, performing card tricks, physical comedy and fabulous juggling feats, aided by a seemingly bored assistant who would rather file her nails than give him a helping hand.
And then, The Grand Carlini, a little guy on strings, manned by puppet master extraordinaire Justo Thaus, wows the audience as he performs magic tricks which would impress even if he wasn’t a puppet.
The Illusionists 1903 really brings to light the fact that magicians were once demigods, in the eyes of all who witnessed their acts of illusion. Nowadays we are a little more skeptical, a little more jaded. However, whether it is the period costumes which help “transport” audiences back to the time of naïveté, or it is the sheer talent of all involved in this production, this show will definitely appeal to the entire family, regardless of age. Catch them before they disappear.
Arts Centre Melbourne in association with Tim Lawson and Simon Painter present
The Illusionists 1903
Venue: Arts Centre Melbourne, State Theatre
Dates: 2 – 10 January, 2016
Tickets: $49 – $140
Bookings: www.artscentremelbourne.com.au | 1300 182 183