On 12th January 2012, at the Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Australia, seven magicians put on a show of such a mind-bending, ostentatious, and skilled calibre that it would go on to become the best-selling show in the history of magic. They called themselves The Illusionists.
These were no ordinary magicians, though. Internationally acclaimed and recognised for their exceptional skill, practiced hands, and flawless visual deceit, the seven magicians’ abilities have landed them appearances on live television shows such as America’s Got Talent, Britain’s Got Talent, NBC’s Today Show, and the Ellen DeGeneres Show.
The Illusionists have travelled the world, sold out shows, and smashed box office records and on Wednesday 7th February, they made their debut on South African soil in the most exuberant style at Grand West Casino and Entertainment World. It was here that we had our collective minds blown by the nuanced sleight-of-hand trickery, bold disappearing acts, comedy and drama, daring feats of weaponry, and mind reading.
If seeing is believing, prepare to be seriously deceived by your eyes!
The Illusionists show and cast
The Illusionists show consists of acts performed by seven different magicians, each of whom holds widespread acclaim for their advanced proficiency in a range of magic spheres, from the more classic disappearing acts, daredevil feats, and stage illusions to mind reading (mentalism), sleight-of-hand, cheeky trickery, and mind-bending manipulation. What they all have in common is their demonstration of illusion of the highest order of skill and sophistication.
Each act elicited a cacophony of exclamation, laughter, applause, and utter disbelief from the audience – “How did he DO that?” – who fruitlessly tried to figure out the method behind the magic. One of the great aspects of The Illusionists show is the variety of the performances and the different personalities you encounter on your thrilling two-hour ride:
There’s the award-winning Den Den “The Manipulator” whose serene countenance and slow, graceful hand movements are powerful juxtapositions to the mind-jarring illusions he creates with paper – creating an origami bird from a single sheaf of paper with one flick of the wrist and, with another, turning the entire bird from white to red. Den Den’s performance was as beautiful to watch as it was completely befuddling.
Mark Kalin “The Showman” and his gorgeous and elegant partner-in-illusion, Jinger Leigh “The Conjuress”, showcased classic magic acts with a modern approach that had us as thrilled, entertained, and a little horrified (when he cut her in half). The duo made history when they nailed the largest stage illusion ever by making an American Airlines jumbo jet disappear during a performance at the Reno Hilton (USA). If only the Grand Arena were able to accommodate a passenger jet.
The handsome Darcy Oake “The Grand Illusionist” of Britain’s Got Talent fame charmed and astounded us with his sophisticated illusions, disappearing acts, and sleight-of-hand tricks while Ben Blaque, the broody Weapon Master, delivered a hair-raising show of daredevil feats using a crossbow and an obviously very trusting fishnet-stocking clad assistant.
Then there was Chris Cox “The Mentalist” whose energy and comedic, charismatic performance had us in stitches and whose mind-reading feats had us all exclaiming aloud in absolute wonder.
And finally, my personal favourite for his comedy and audience interaction: David Williamson “The Trickster” who is not only an award-winning magician but also a television show host and author.
To see all of this incredible talent and skill together on stage – and further enhanced by a visually astounding light show and music – was a real treat. To know that these magnificent magicians have been seen and enjoyed by millions of people in countries all over the world made the show all the more special.
Few of us ever get to see magic performed live and, of course, seeing it with your own eyes makes for such a different experience. With the television or computer screen removed, you are confronted by the impossibility and majesty of it all: it cannot be a trick of the camera because there is no camera. As much as we knew that what we were witnessing was fundamentally illusion, we drove home from The Illusionists show touched and perhaps just a little seduced into believing that magic exists.
It’s not an illusion, tickets are selling fast. Book now at Computicket by calling 0861 915 8000, visit www.computicket.com or your nearest Computicket service centre.
GrandWest: Thursday 08th – Sunday 11th February 2018
Montecasino: 14th February – 11th March 2018