Photos – Joris van Bennekom
After two very successful seasons in the Netherlands, Het Filiaal Theatermakers have brought The Great Illusionist to Australia. Within five minutes of the house lights being dimmed, The Studio at the Sydney Opera House, was filled with delicious giggles. The Great Illusionist had barely begun before young and old alike responded with delight. This simple joy was present throughout and was the real magic of the show.
The Great Illusionist follows a young boy who starts on a path of magic after a mysterious encounter. However there is not just one story nor even one kind of storytelling. There is pantomime and puppetry as well as music and magic. The performers dip in and out of the narratives in a beautifully crafted show written and directed by Monique Corvers. The transitions between the stories keep you on your toes and constantly engaged.
The cast are were expressive and jocose in their performances and a pleasure to watch. Henke Tuinstra is completely captivating. She delivers slap-stick side-splitting humour in one moment and the next she is tugging at your heart strings. Her ability to convey a character or an emotion with only the slightest of props or set changes was the heart of the show.
Ramses Graus was responsible for not only his outstanding performance but also that of the Rabbit. His skillful puppeteering left you regarding the Rabbit as an entirely separate cast member. He gave the Rabbit its own personality and gestures without dropping his individual characteristics. It was a pleasure to watch.
The musical director Gábor Tarján was a constant presence throughout the show and the music was seamlessly woven into the performance. He added subtle moments of wit while behind his instruments and held his own when directly under the spot light.
The three combined to master the stage and deliver a theatrical gem. Their greatest trick was to distract us with sleight of hand and merriment and when the moment of the great reveal was upon us we found ourselves unexpectedly in love
Sydney Opera House and Het Filiaal Theatremakers presents
The Great Illusionist
by Monique Corvers
Director Monique Corvers
Venue: Sydney Opera House NSW
Dates: 21 – 29 July 2018
Tickets: $29 + $8.50 booking fee