Saturday, December 8, 2018


Canberra Theatre to 16 December

Reviewed by Len Power 7 December 2018

Watching ‘The Illusionists’ gives you back that intense childhood sense of wonder you thought you’d lost.  Their performances are slick, colourful, spectacular and incredibly involving from start to finish.

The show tours internationally with eight magicians.  They perform a full range of magical illusions, some classical and some new.  While children will love it, it’s not aimed specifically at children.  Some of the humour is quite adult but nothing to be concerned about.  All of the performers are vocally confident and they are all obviously at the top of their game.

There is a lot of participation by members of the audience.  As the show progressed and it became clear that the participation wasn’t threatening or embarrassing, many audience members showed their keenness to take part.

Jeff Hobson, known as ‘The Trickster’ in the show performed as an amusing Liberace-style compere and performed some amazing tricks himself.  ‘The Daredevil’, Jonathan Goodwin, does the most edgy performances of all.  His thrilling strait-jacket escape is a fiery and fitting tribute to the great magician, Houdini.

Jonathan Goodwin - 'The Daredevil'

Illusionist, Kevin James, introduced as ‘The Inventor’ in the show, involved children delightfully in two standout items, one involving a rose and the other concerning snow.  His work with the children created immediate trust and will probably result in more than one of those children wanting to be a magician when they grow up.

Kevin James - 'The Inventor'

Korean magician, An Ha Lim performed the most magical and complex card tricks and Chris Cox was extraordinary and very entertaining with his mind-reading act.  Mark Kalin and Jinger Leigh performed brilliant illusions, especially disappearances from boxes and a trick involving rings from audience members.  Robyn Sharpe gave us an exciting act involving sharp spikes and a performer inside a cardboard box.

Production values for the show are very high with an attractive set and a large projection screen so that even the most intimate illusions can be clearly seen from anywhere in the theatre.  The lighting design is excellent as are the well-chosen dramatic music and sound effects.

This show really delivers an evening of incredible magic and this rave review is no illusion!

Photos by Mark Turner

Len Power’s reviews are also broadcast in his ‘On Stage’ performing arts radio program on Mondays and Wednesdays from 3.30pm on Artsound FM 92.7.