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Review: The Illusionists – Live from Broadway

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The Illusionists are a group of six magicians and daredevils that are appearing live on Broadway and touring spots around the country. I happened to see them in Englewood, N.J at the Bergen Performing Arts Center Wednesday night. There are different sets of illusionists at different times too.

Although they are all very good and extremely entertaining, most of their acts are old school acts you’ve seen hundreds of times like the South Korean magician who makes hundreds of playing card appear out of nowhere the same as the Korean kid who won America’s Got talent last year. There is also the quick change artists where the woman gets tied in a bag and put in a trunk while her assistant stands on top and quick as a flash draws a curtain up and down and she appears on top and he is in the bag. Although we’ve see this all before many times by other magicians it is their charm, humor and dialect with the audience members they talk to and get to come on stage with them.

The six stars, each a master in their own field, are:

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  • The Manipulator, An Ha Lim: The first place winner at Korea’s Busan International Magic Competition (2006), Italy Club Convention Manipulation (2006) and World Magic Seminar in Asia (2007), An Ha Lim was also a Golden Lion Award winner at the World Magic Seminar in Las Vegas (2008).
  • The Daredevil, Jonathan Goodwin, is widely considered one of the most creative, skilled, and frankly crazy stunt performers in the world. He is an accomplished knife thrower, archer, escape artist, fakir, martial artist, free diver, and free climber. Unlike the other performers in the show, Jonathan is not a magician or illusionist but he will leave the audience breathless with his death-defying stunts.
  • The Deductionist, Colin Cloud, one of the greatest thought readers of all time is a psychic savant known as a real-life Sherlock Holmes. Don’t play against him in a game of poker – he’s never lost.
  • Trickster, Paul Debak, is one of the UK’s top entertainers. He has performed across 6 continents, on the stages of London’s West End, and headlined his own show in Las Vegas. An accomplished magician, comedian and actor, Paul’s skills have won him critical acclaim, and Time Out magazine named him ‘a superb showman!’ Both the Magic Circle and the International Brotherhood of Magicians have recognized Paul’s talent naming him Young Magician of the Year and awarding him the British Shield. Join Paul as he reveals exactly what’s up his sleeve and delves into his box of tricks while cheekily enchanting the audience with jaw-dropping hilarity.
  • The Unusualist, Raymond Crowe, is a world-class magician, physical comedian, trained mime, ventriloquist, inventor and master of intricate shadow puppetry. In the magic world, his unusual and highly creative acts are greatly admired and have won numerous international awards.
  • The Sorceress, Sabine, has been working in magic for over a decade. During this time she worked with master magician Hans Klok and won the prestigious Silver Clown at the Circus Festival in Monte Carlo. Sabine has been described as “one of the most extraordinary and talented performers in magic” with her amazing performances, escapes, illusions and mind games.

One of the more famous members is Colin Cloud who got his start on America’s Got Talent as a Sherlock Holms influenced mind reader and he is very good at it too. In fact he’s been described as the Sherlock Holmes of entertainment if Holmes had a flair for comedy. Hes very quick witted and sharp too., He asked one woman on stage to write down the names of her parents and her last name on a piece of paper and he guessed them. He also asked her to think of a pet’s name she had and her mother’s last name and he guessed them too. My wife and a few other women met her in the ladies’ rest room afterwards and she said he was accurate and knew everything. She thought when she wrote the names down a stage hand or cameraman could have seen them and told him via his head set microphone but he guessed the names she was thinking of accurately. He also tours with his own show too.

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A particular interesting act is the daredevil Jonathan Goodwin and his female  partner Sabine known as The Sorceress. Jonathan has a crossbow that shoots arrows at 200 mph.

ImpossibleHe has Sabine stand in front of a huge round target holding a balloon over her head. He misses (on purpose) a few times before breaking it. He then has her hold a balloon in her mouth while he shoots and breaks the balloon. This is followed by him wearing a metal blindfold which he has an audience member hold and test for him to make sure there are no holes in it. He then blindfolds himself and shoots an arrow to break another balloon above Sabine’s head. It’s pretty intense to watch. As if that isn’t enough, he and Sabine then open up the target to reveal another young woman assistant curled up inside surrounded by the arrows.

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The sorceressAnother time Jonathan picks a woman from the audience to come up on stage with him and tells her to slap him. She is reluctant at first as she doesn’t want to hurt him and does it lightly. He smiles and says to do it harder. She is reluctant at first but then does it. He ushers her off stage and opens a box he previously gave another audience member to reveal a live scorpion which he places in his mouth. He then handcuffs himself from behind and ushers the woman out. She was previously instructed that when she hears a bell she is to slap him which she does several times. He then manipulates the handcuffs with a bobby pin and frees himself and takes the scorpion out of his mouth to which the woman screams and the audience laughs.

The Illusionists is good fun family show and very entertaining for kids as well as adults. Check them out if they come to a theater near you.

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About Jim Clayton

I am a retired former newspaper reporter and retail sales person. I'm a politically conservative easy going person from New Jersey. I am married to a wonderful wife and like talking and writing about movies,, concerts I attend and current events all which I write about here. I would enjoy hearing from anyone on my articles and they can write to me here.

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