The Illusionists comes to Manchester, bringing with it seven of the most talented magicians, escapologists and mentalists; this is magic on a grand scale. The staging is fantastic and helps to give the show a ‘stadium' feel and opens it out to the crowd. The magic, however, is what the show is all about.
It's a shame, then, that what should be the star of the show fails to live up to the staging and the hype. The magic all has a dated feel and there is little that hasn't been seen before. Andrew Basso recreating Harry Houdini Water Torture Cell is impressive, but the rest of the tricks are all well used.
Birds are materialised out of thin air, women are sawn in half and the ubiquitous ‘pick a card' tricks are all present, but there is nothing truly captivating or original.
Even the grand finale, which should leave the audience breathless, is a damp squib. An undramatic, well worn, magic trick which leaves you feeling a little disappointed.
Don't get me wrong, this is an entertaining night out and the show is enjoyable, but there is that nagging feeling that you have seen it all before. I wanted to come out in awe of what I've seen, unable to explain the tricks and marvelling at the skill of the performers.
Instead, I came out knowing how most of the tricks were performed and feeling like it could have been so much more than smoke and mirrors.
- Geoff Hodge