If you’re looking for something unique and really extraordinary to bring your family to this week, The Illusionists at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre definitely fits the bill. Moreover, its contemporary, cosmopolitan feel will give you a means of escape from all the green, fiddle-dee Irish stuff that will surely get tiresome rather quickly this week and holiday weekend.
The Illusionists is a thrill from start to finish. The use of screens, flashing lights and live music bring it to life and give it a very cool sense of modernity that both young and old will appreciate. Some of the tricks will be familiar to audiences, from their own experience of magic shows whether seen live or on television over the years, but these are presented in new, flashy ways, and there are definitely tricks that audiences will not have seen before.
The seven members of the team, who include the Master Magician (pictured above), the Escapologist, and the Weapons Master (who bears an uncanny likeness to the Winter Soldier in Captain America) to name but a few, come from a range of international backgrounds. While their respective acts are richly diverse, they are all very charismatic (and quite attractive, which is a plus), and whether speaking to the audience or creating magical hand gestures, they share in common the ability to createdrama, suspense and excitement, which is of course essential to this kind of show.
For fear of giving too much away, for it really is best going in with as little knowledge of the show as possible, it is sufficient to say that the tricks will involve, among other things, a wine glass and a goldfish, a water tank, a throne-like chair, ropes and chains, and a cross bow and arrows. The Master Magician is truly a master when it comes to stage presence and engaging his wide-eyed spectators. The audience participation segments are particularly good fun.
Two of the stand-out performers audiences can look forward to are the quiet but confident Manipulator (aka Yu Ho-Jin, who hails from South Korea), who performs card tricks the likes of which you have never seen, and then there’s the Unusualist (Aussie Raymond Crowe), who initially appears to only be there to provide comic relief, but then shows he’s got incredible technical skills all his own when he breaks out a shadow puppet routine.
There's a good balance between all seven leading performers and clocking in at just under 2 hours in length (including an intermission), the show feels just about right in terms of running time, particularly given its audience members include young’uns. Still, it all moves at a breath-taking pace and you’ll find yourself demanding more even after the curtain falls.
The Illusionists is showing from today until Sunday, 19th March.