When my parents told me they were taking my siblings and I to a magic show downtown I immediately presumed I would be seeing the bunny in a hat trick and slight of hand card tricks.
I was happily surprised.
The magicians knew my presumptions and put on a show that forever changed my idea of magic. The Illusionists, “Witness the Impossible,” is a Broadway in Chicago show that made me believe real magic was the only possible solution for some of these performers.
The Illusionists are a group of seven magicians from all over the world with different areas of expertise. For example, Andrew Basso, known as the Escapologist, is Italy’s star escape artist and Yu Ho-Jin, called the Manipulator, was named Magician of the Year in 2014 by the Academy of Magical arts. This South Korean also won first place in the manipulation category and was the Grand Prix Winner in stage magic at Federation Internationale des Societes Magiques World Championships of Magic, all at the age of nineteen.
Some of the illusionists talked while performing, providing laughs for any age in the audience while others were completely silent but left the audience captivated, such as the Warrior, Aaron Crow. Each magician was different from the next but they came together to create an amazing show that highlighted each of their talents yet unified their abilities to show what they believed magic to be.
Humor is an important aspect of any live show to keep the audience intrigued and the Illusionists went above and beyond. The Trickster, Jeff Hobson, made more jokes than magic tricks but I do not think anyone in the audience was disappointed. However, sitting next to my sister, a 6th grader, helped me to realize that many of the jokes I thought hilarious went right over other peoples’ heads.
These jokes may have been inappropriate, but the Trickster crossed the line and came back so fast that the youngsters in the crowd did not have time to process what was said before the next trick was being laid out. If you enjoy raunchy humor and even if you don’t, the Trickster will leave you laughing.
Along with humor, another major aspect of this show was audience participation. Not like ‘raise your hand to answer the question’ participation but more like ‘a strange magical man is going to pull you out of your seat, drag you on stage, and use you to show his magic abilities to the audience along with embarass you’ type of participation.
If you like that, you might get lucky and be selected to be a magical guinea pig. However, if you’re like me, you will slide down your seat to try to make yourself seem as small as humanly possible. Now, the magicians know that and will still pull you up on stage. Fortunately, they passed me by numerous times so I sat back and experienced second hand embarrassment for the participators.
When dealing with different audience members, the magicians had to play along and use each participant’s personality to benefit the show. The Anti Conjuror, Dan Sperry (who happens to be one of the top 10 most Googled people), selected a mother from the audience who happened to a kindergarten teacher. He used this information about her to make his act, a form of Russian Roulette, even more interesting. The Futurist, Adam Trent, dealt with a sassy five and a half year old girl (an age she specified more than necessary). Every trick or comment the audience participants threw at the magicians, they successfully used to make their show even better than it was. The performing and improvisational skills these already talented magicians possessed truly wowed me.
Another ‘wow’ factor of the show was the back up dancing. Kevin James, the Inventor, had his own laboratory on stage that was used to create and/or disassemble humans. Obviously, he could not do this alone so he had a few assistants who doubled as dancers. These dancers appeared at the beginning and the end of the show as well as in the lab. This was one aspect of the show that I did not entirely appreciate. In my opinion, they did not do too much to benefit the show. However, they presented the Vegas-style feature of the performance that I’m sure would have been appreciated where it belongs.
The magic tricks and every other aspect in the show were mind blowing and I could not do justice explaining them. You’ll just have to go witness the impossible for yourself.
For more information on the many illusionists, videos, and tour tickets visit this website: