Impossible (Noel Coward Theatre)
Making magic cool again.
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‘Digital Marvel’ Jamie Allan seems to be offering the most modern kind of magic in the show - so modern, that he’s brought four iPads with him. As well as offering some beautifully visual ‘digital’ magic, his laser act is jaw-droppingly astonishing and was my favourite part of the show.
Ali Cook conjures up some big illusions and a Harry Houdini-style water tank escape. Although I was still entertained by them, Cook seems to be more at home when he is working close-up with a volunteer one-on-one, relayed onto the many screens dotted around the theatre.
The ‘mind-reader who can’t read minds’ (I don’t understand why he’s called that either) Chris Cox, shines as a playful mentalist who even lets one audience member create their own clothing line! It’s hard not to smile whenever Cox is on-stage.
Ben Hart and Luis De Matos both work closely with audience members, often generating the biggest reactions in the show. Hart’s rope routine in act two is a spectacle and his ‘black and white film’ act is a nice idea but doesn’t appear to be fully realised. De Matos’ interactive card trick with the rest of the audience is sure to fool you, it had me scratching my head for long after. Jonathan Goodwin, is most likely to shock you with his stunts (I can’t think of a time when ‘do not try this at home’ has been more important!). Catch ‘Street Magician’ Damien O’Brien in the bar before the show for some captivating illusions up close.
The structure of the show is a bit disjointed, with the magicians taking it in turns to perform their next trick, often leaving you with no time to take in what you have just witnessed. I did wonder how the next act would top the last. One major flaw hangs over the premise: the show starts with a young boy reading about magic in books, before being visited by the magicians who tell him that he must continue the tradition or it will become extinct. Where were the women? Apart from the age-old ‘glamorous assistants’ , the show felt like it was still representing an old-boys’ club. Unfortunate, because there are female magicians out there. The show feels like it doesn’t wish to promote the fact that magic is for everyone.
With a slickly designed set by Andrew D Edwards and dynamic lighting from Tim Lutkin, Impossible makes magic ‘cool’ again.