Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Review: The Illusionists at the Shaftesbury Theatre

The Illusionists
Shaftesbury Theatre
Reviewed on Monday 16th November 2015

Having played in 71 cities across 17 countries, The Illusionists has opened at the Shaftesbury Theatre to play its fifth West End engagement. The show brings together seven magicians from across the globe who each take to the stage a couple of times throughout the evening.

The Illusionists is the campest show of 2015. Perhaps ten years ago The Illusionists would have been exciting, but its overall identity feels lost and dated. There are a handful of impressive moments, but the skeleton of the show is poorly put together. I didn't feel as if I was watching the best of the best. 

Several acts seemed to find their choreography a little awkward. Each time the seven came together to form their V pose (as seen on all the artwork) some were unsure whether to give a goofy smile or their best James Bond impression - it was cringey. Whilst the gothic dancers are extremely odd, it is good to see some of the music being performed by live musicians positioned in the boxes.

Back in July I enjoyed rival show Impossible which recaptured some of the magic of variety. I thought the acts each had flair and complemented each other nicely. However, I think it is utterly shocking that neither The Illusionists or Impossible feature female performers in their main line-up - this is something which clearly needs rectifying in the world of magic. 

As expected The Illusionists features a couple of heart in mouth moments and jaw droppingly brilliant surprises as well as some fun audience participation. I didn't witness anything I hadn't seen before and thought the show was crying out for a 2015 makeover. 

Reviewed by Andrew Tomlins (Editor)

The Illusionists runs at the Shaftesbury Theatre until Sunday 3rd January 2016.
Please visit www.theillusionistslive.com for further information and tickets.

Photo Credit: Alastair Muir

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