THE ILLUSIONISTS: DIRECT FROM BROADWAY | London, Shaftesbury Theatre

Broadway’s biggest-selling magic show has returned to the West End, with a sensational line-up of seven of the world’s greatest magicians. Some of them have been part of this show for a long time, including FISM Grand Prix champion Yu Ho-Jin (South Korea), who dazzles yet again with his award-winning 2012 card manipulation act.

But let’s start with the stage illusions. American Adam Trent’s mission-impossible style body-switching with an audience member is a particular wow moment, as is Enzo Weyne’s highly visual melting through a solid steel plate. Yes, we might have seen magicians switch place with their assistant in a box before, and get impaled with fiery spikes before, but James More handles these classic illusions masterfully.

Apart from these, most of the illusions in the show are actually pretty small scale, but nonetheless impressive. Paul Dabek comperes with well-honed hilarity and amazing magic: pulling a signed card out of a piece of toast is as impossible as it sounds. Mind reader Chris Cox is able to discover multiple audience members’ darkest hidden secrets in a series of remarkable and inexplicable feats.

There are some weak moments. Jonathan Goodwin’s escape from a little tank filled with popcorn kernels is not wildly impressive. There is a rather baffling finale where Adam Trent talks about his childhood dreams and his aunt dying. It’s also a shame to see yet another all-male magic show. These little quibbles aside, this is two and a half hours of world-class magic that is guaranteed to entertain all ages.

The magic continues in London until 1 September 2019.

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