There is nothing more rewarding than performing a live show; be it for children or adults. The most challenging part of performing a live show is bridging the gap between performer and audience member and bringing them into the show, the act and the performance. The art of a great performer is making a stage show personal and intimate for each and every member of that audience.
Of course time limits the number of people who can be brought up on stage for that pure one-on one performance piece but everyone should leave the hall, theatre, or performance feeling that they have connected with the performer or performers thus making their individual experience more wholesome.
For me, watching live show is just as exciting as performing a live show. For me, of course magic is my love so going to see fellow entertainers perform indulges my hobby and passion and helps me grow creatively as a performer.
Watching magic on TV sadly is a different emotional and visual experience and detracts from the impact and emotion of seeing a live show.
I wanted to review a couple for live shows I have seen in the last year:
The first show, I thoroughly enjoyed was the Illusionists – this has now become such a successful franchise that this has spawned ‘The illusionists 1903’ with a new set of magicians and completely different set of tour dates and countries. Back to the original, Illusionists.
The show itself was meant to feel like a Las Vegas show and together with the high energy, American accents, stage set up and lights and pyrotechnics, certainly delivered wholeheartedly on that front. Hosted by up to 7 experienced stage performers, The Illusionists assaults the senses and explores the art of magic with escapology, manipulation, mind games, comedy magic and stage show illusions….
When I went to see the show, some the artists showcasing their skills included:
The speciality of shock illusions, Dan Sperry otherwise known as the anti-conjuror. His act included a mixture of the dark, macabre and bird manipulation and other more stomach churning effects. I was a little disappointed with his skill but performance wise, he has created a niche in his field and held the stage well with a real lesson in building a character.
The troupe resident escapologist was Andrew Basso – whose underwater shackle escape, reminiscent of Houdini’s famed escapes, brought this particular illusion up to date and was an exciting piece of theatre.
One of the most respected and revered names in the troupe is Kevin James, whose stage name is ‘the Inventor’ – his act was the most awe inspiring for me….. Having consulted and created illusions for the world’s greatest illusionists such as David Copperfield and Criss Angel, one of his signature pieces was unbelievable and well worth a google of his material on YouTube, and ill no doubt leave you covering your mouth in awe.
The troupes’ ‘front man’ was the naturally funny and well-polished stage performer – Jeff Hobson, whose comedy routines have graced other stage show performers routines for years and his act was a master class in the delivery of comedy magic. The audience certainly found him very funny but his style was ‘not for me’ but his act was a polished one and was another lesson in building a strong character…
The only British member of the ensemble was the well-spoken and sublimely confident – Phillip Escoffey. I know of Phillip and his skills in the field of mentalism but to be honest was a little underwhelmed with his contribution to the show in a somewhat convoluted routine which I felt did not showcase Phillip at his best.
There were two other performers with stage names of ‘the Gentleman’ and ‘The Enchantress’ but left such little impact on me, cannot remember their contribution to an otherwise excellent show – threaded together with the terrific music of a live funk band.
Even my non-magic friends who came with me thought it was excellent and now having run for several years and new variations being spawned from that original show, is keeping magic popular, fun, contemporary and exciting and bringing magic back to the stage which is where it originally found its feet before the advent of TV.