Review: The Illusionists — Live From Broadway

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A wide-eyed wonder experience that leaves a burning question: "How the heck did they do that?"

 

Broadway at TPAC presents:
The Illusionists — Live From Broadway
Feb. 16 – 18; All ages
TPAC’s Jackson Hall
505 Deaderick St., Nashville
615-782-4040 • tpac.org
Remaining showtimes: Sat 2 & 8 p.m., Sun 1 & 6:30 p.m.
Tickets: $30 – $70

Put a dose of magic in your family’s weekend festivities with the dazzling wizardry of The Illusionists — Live From Broadway. This crowd-pleasing extravaganza features the handiwork of five talented artists: Colin Cloud (The Deductionist), Jeff Hobson (The Trickster), Kevin James (The Inventor), An Ha Lim (The Manipulator) and Jonathan Goodwin (The Daredevil).

Your family — especially your children — will marvel at a variety of sleight-of-hand tricks, illusions and stunts that leave one question at the forefront of your mind: “How the heck did they do that?”

It’s a fun two hour journey into an arena combining magic, comedy and big-scale stunts. The show is definitely more Vegas than Broadway per se, with dramatic music and lighting enhancing and heightening each act.

DO YOU BELIEVE IN MAGIC?

Flamboyant Jeff Hobson serves as the show’s emcee. He’s over the top and delightfully charming whether he’s telling a clever tale or performing a few tricks of his own. He’s steals the show as he mingles with the audience between acts. One of his finest moments is when he interacts with a young child from the audience on stage while attempting to make a balloon animal.

The artists bring a good bit of humor into their scenes, from Cloud’s mind-reading performance to James’ mind-boggling trickery. Goodwin’s daredevil antics are a favorite, whether he’s pulling off a Houdini-esque escape in the nick or time or showing off his precise sharpshooter skills with a crossbow.

The show does encounter its fair share of pacing problems (and one technical malfunction at the beginning of one of James’ tricks). There are obvious high points followed by an occasional lull. However, you won’t find anything dull about An Ha Lim’s  jaw-dropping card tricks. He alone is worth the price of admission, even though he gets the least amount of stage time. His “Manipulator” moniker is succinct. It’s mesmerizing to watch 1,000 color-changing cards appearing out of nowhere from his fingertips as he sends them flying through the air. It’s no wonder he took first prize in an international magic competition for this grand act.

Lots of audience interaction makes the experience all the more fun, in particular when children get to participate up on the stage.

Sure to captivate the youngsters in your brood, The Illusionists makes for a festive family outing, and it just may inspire your child’s own magical journey.

Chad Young is the managing editor and arts/entertainment editor for this publication.

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