So what do you need for a good magic show? You want to be amazed, you want to be gob-smacked and you want to come away saying: well HTF did they do that?
Impossible ticks all those boxes – in spades, if you’ll excuse the deliberate pun. Magical Bones is the card-sharp in this crew and whilst he is truly magical I’m really not sure he’s got any bones after he did a mid-air 360º back-flip amongst the pack of cards that he had spray-chucked in the air, somehow retrieving the one that had been previously designated and landing, like a cat, on his feet. We were gobsmacked. We were so gobsmacked that we just stared in amazement. Bones had to politely enquire whether that was worth a clap at which point the audience burst into applause. Bones honed his craft as a street magician in Peckham. I adore street magicians – I use to stalk Nick Nicolson every year in the Royal Mile at the Edinburgh Fringe. If, though, I’d said to him after a trick “Now do a back-flip” he’d have said: “Don’t be daft”. Bones is pushing the limits and breaking the boundaries to a back-beat of hip-hop and a cheeky Sarth Lunnon confidence in his own abilities.
Glamour is provided for the occasion by Sabine Van Diemen and Josephine Lee with big set-piece illusions of a watery kind or accompanied by a spectacular laser show. Guest star is Lance Corporal Richard Jones, uniformed and straight from his winning appearance on BGT 2016 – the first magician to take the honour in BGT’s 10th season. He thanked his regiment for allowing him to take time off for the Impossible Tour (Call of Duty: Black Ops takes on a whole new meaning) and proceeded to wow us with prestidigitation of the fourth-dimensional kind.
Chris Cox provides the mind-blowing experience of the evening – literally. Cox reads your mind. He likes to touch you (lightly on the nose), smell you, or hold something you have held and he proceeds to tell you your name, your home town and what you had for dinner. With his impudent, naughty-schoolboy persona he keeps up a jocular patter whilst revealing audience members’ inner thoughts: it’s funny and just slightly disconcerting.
The big guns arrive in the form of Jonathan Goodwin – or should I say the big crossbow. He’s a daredevil and he’s an escapologist in the long-standing Houdini tradition and his set pieces are spectacular. I’ve always slightly worried about people who are prepared to set fire to themselves and then try and escape form a strait-jacket whilst hanging upside down: you’ve got to be a bit mad, haven’t you? I don’t think I’m giving anything away to say that he of course makes his escape – but it’s hairy. If for a future performance there are only six magicians then perhaps that’s the cue to note that Goodwin didn’t make it one night. When he starts firing his crossbow from ten paces at a balloon… on his wife’s head, I got the feeling there were husbands in the audience hoping that mind-reader Chris Cox wasn’t still lurking.
Finally enter Master of Illusion Ben Hart. He goes for the big stuff – the big props, the big action, the Mighty Illusion. Having recruited a lady from the audience he proceeds to make her disappear… and re-appear. On re-appearance her hair was slightly dishevelled and at the interval other audience members were asking her what happened: I don’t know, was her reply. This set-piece, leading up as it did to the interval, was the real deal, the big-time attention grabber, the true How The F*** Did He Do That?! moment.
It was the biggest moment in a night of very big moments from seven consummate entertainers, seven outstanding magicians. The late, great Muhammed Ali’s watchword was “Impossible is nothing”. In this show I think we can truly say “Impossible is really something!”
Review by Peter Yates
Impossible, the breath-taking magic spectacular thrilling audiences worldwide, is back by popular demand, returning to its home in the West End for a strictly limited season.
Featuring the world’s greatest illusionists live on stage in a daring, jaw-dropping display of magical artistry Impossible will electrify and amaze theatre-goers of all ages.
Guest starring the winner of Britain’s Got Talent 2016, Lance Corporal Richard Jones, the line-up also includes Explosive Street Magician Magical Bones, Daredevil and Escapologist Jonathan Goodwin, Cutting-edge Conjurer Sabine van Diemen, Grand Illusionist Josephine Lee, Boundary Breaking Magician Ben Hart, and Mind-blowing Mind-reader Chris Cox.
Fusing death-defying stunts, technological trickery, grand stage illusions and close-up magic, Impossible reinvents the biggest and best illusions in history in the greatest magic show on earth. This family-friendly live entertainment has to be seen to be believed!
Whatever you do, don’t try this at home!
Booking Until: 27th August 2016
Important Information: Latecomers may not be permitted until a suitable break in the performance. The Producers of Impossible cannot guarantee the appearance of any particular artist, which is always subject to illness and holidays. Performers, times and prices subject to change without prior notice.
Noel Coward Theatre
85-88 St Martin’s Lane, London, WC2N 4AU