Canberra Theatre until 16th December 2015
Reviewed by Bill Stephens
Currently playing at the Canberra Theatre, “The Illusionists 1903” is an elegant recreation of the golden age of the art of stage magic. Acres of red velvet, elegant costumes, a live band, and cast of highly skilled and persuasive magicians recreate famous classic illusions which continue to delight and intrigue willing audiences.
Mark Kalin, the Showman, managed to chop his lovely assistant, Jinger Leigh, in halves, then put her back together again without either losing so much as a drop of blood. Which was a relief, because Jinger had already become an audience favourite with her graceful act manipulating a floating glass ball.
Krendl, the Escapologist, demonstrated one of Houdini’s most famous feats by managing to escape from chains while suspended upside down in a glass tank of water. Charlie Frye, The Eccentric, somewhat hindered by his less-than-helpful assistant, Sherry, managed to get himself into an impossible tangle of silver hoops, then hilariously avoided impending disaster as Sherry did her upmost to sabotage his complicated juggling act.
Amelie van Tass of The Clairvoyants charmed with her ability to identify objects borrowed from audience members and held aloft by Thommy Ten, and then later both stunned the audience with a beautiful levitation act which had Amelie floating high above the stage before disappearing in a flash, right before our eyes.
The Charlatan, Dana Daniels, also received little help from his assistant, a bored dove called Dwayne, who had the audience in stitches, as trick after trick threatened to go awry. “Well it’s only a bird” Daniels had to remind his audience.
Perhaps the most charming act of all was performed not by a human but by a marionette called The Grand Carlini, who despite his strings performed illusions with all the panache of a master magician.
There were many more highlights in this impeccably produced show in which all the participants are masters of their art. Each has honed their skills over years of performing.
“The Illusionists 1903” is a graceful reminder of the power of the eye to deceive the mind, and is thoroughly recommended for every member of your family.