Review- The Illusionists- Lunchbox Productions



By: Sophia Zhang


Following highly lucrative and record breaking stints on Broadway and the West End, The Illusionists arrives in Hong Kong with exceedingly high expectations. Dubbed as a “High tech magical extravaganza” by The New York Times and with claims that you be left speechless, it may come across as a bit bombastic to hardened armchair magic fans. 


Seven world class acts with pithy, superhero-esque titles: The Escapologist (Krendl), The Enigma (Sam Power), The Manipulator (Hyun Joon Kin), The Alchemist (Leonardo Bruno), The Clairvoyants (Thommy Ten Amelie van Tass) and The Master Magician (Luis De Matos) quite literally demanded the audience’s attention and gave us an extraordinary night of entertainment with exclusive illusions for the Hong Kong run of the show.


The high quality production values elevated the show as a touring production and the successful use of live feed camera brought the action closer to the audience and at times literally brought the audience into the show. But what really brought the production alive, on an experience level, was the audience interaction (be prepared to get involved, even if you are seated up in the gods!). Handled seamlessly (no cringe worthy moments), with the illusionists clearly experienced at working the “room”, they really connected with and used the plucky participants’ personalities and energy to comic playful effect.


Great pacing and arrangement of the acts throughout the show kept the energy level high and vibrant atmosphere consistent. Tense and dramatic “I can’t bear to look” stunts were followed by subtler (but still impressive) illusions eliciting “Oooohs and Ahhhs”. The usual suspects (sawn in half assistants and miraculous escapes) were all there to entertain but were elevated by the showmanship and talent of the illusionists.


My personal standout illusionists were The Clairvoyants (Thommy Ten Amelie van Tass), a mentalist duo who, without giving away too much, literally made me speechless during my own personal brush with The Clairvoyants: involving my contact lenses and the expiry date… Clear audience favourite “The Eccentric” Charlie Fry proved that the appetite for classic vaudeville is alive and well in Hong Kong. His performance brought together a good dose of slapstick, juggling, acrobatics and harked back to the era of silent movies (Charlie Chaplin and Laurel & Hardy). Yet Fry’s passion and charisma breathed fresh new life into the genre. An extra round of applause should be given to The Master Magician (Luis De Matos) for both his stellar illusions and his often self-knowing sense of humour and warmth as our guide for the night. 


With ticket prices starting at 395HKD the show makes for a pricey outing for families but The Illusionists certainly delivers on its promise of a highly satisfying, spectacular family entertainment and it does so with flair, style and great aplomb.


The Illusionists is playing through April 24th. For more information, click here.

Rate This Show: 1 2 3 4 5 Audience Rating: 4.0


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