I received an invitation to pop along to London’s Hospital Club which is a very classy, beautiful venue.
Upon arrival, rather than getting into the lift and going up to any one of the various floors, I was asked to go down 2 flights of stairs. I’ve never been down stairs before (obviously I mean in the Hospital Club, not literally never!)
The final destination looks like we are in a vast warehouse underground. The sort of place that dodgy dealings might take place or hostages may be held. Of course, I’m no hostage and there are about 40 other people there and a bank of cameras pointing at a stage. There are also people handing out wine and beer! Phew! On closer inspection too, the corrugated iron walls are actually padded, black silk. Clever lighting and some industrial bars make the illusion complete. Of course, the subtitle of what we’re seeing is NOTHING IS QUITE AS IT SEEMS.
IMPOSSIBLE, the biggest magic show in decades is set to thrill audiences in London’s West End in the summer. The show will feature the very best magicians and tricksters from around the world.
In the past, I have witnessed close up magic. Sleight of hand, card tricks etc and, admittedly have been impressed on more than one occasion. When it comes to giant illusions though, I have only ever seen them on TV and the cynic in me assumes that some camera trickery is at foot. I will say now, this is definitely a show for the cynics to go and see. Obviously we were getting a pared down show. It was a very elaborate advert if you like. It started gently with BEN HART. He is a cute young man who is a master of sleight of hand. With the help of an audience member he does a trick where he cuts a rope and joins it back together again. With his comedy banter and very clever trickery he does please the crowd. Then we have MAGICAL BONES. Dubbed as the world’s best break-dancing magician. Probably because he is the only one! He performed a card trick and a back flip. I won’t put out and spoilers but it was indeed an impressive feat.
Then the action gets ramped up a notch. JAMIE ALLAN is a 21st century magician. He performs some beautiful “tricks” involving ipads. It is actually more like seeing an interactive art piece. Then, up another level. The good old sawing a woman in half. Two lovely assistants join Jamie on stage and wheel on the bench that is to become a resting place for one of them. The girl lies down and then, she is covered with boxes. Now, this is the spooky bit. The boxes are clear perspex. We can still see her. Her head sticks out of one end and her wiggling toes out of the other. The rest of her body is totally visible. Then with the insertion of two large “blades “, she’s in two pieces. Wide enough apart for Jamie to walk through her. At no point was a curtain draw around her. She was visible the entire time. The cynic is now saying “how on earth…? ” Of course the glamorous assistant is rejoined and walks off stage with nary so much as a limp.
The finale: ALI COOK is a modern day Houdini. He gets handcuffed and placed in a glass chest full of water. He is manicled to the bottom by his neck. The lid is locked and padlocked down. The man could die. Another glamorous assistant stands atop the box. This time there is a curtain involved bit literally for a second. In that time the pair have swapped places. The box is still locked so they have to rush to save the girl from drowning and quickly release her.
Seeing illusions like that performed at close proximity is amazing. I have no idea how it’s done. Of course not. It’s magic! All of these performers plus many others can be seen for 5 weeks only from 24th July to 29th August at the beautiful Noel Coward Theatre. Definitely one to go and see.”
By Dickie Neil
Noel Coward Theatre
Running Time: 2 hours
Booking From: 24th July 2015
Booking Until: 29th August 2015
Evenings: Monday to Saturday 7.30pm
Matinees: Tuesday and Satuday 3.00pm
Important Info: Latecomers may not be permitted until a suitable break in the performance.