IMPOSSIBLE The Playhouse Theatre TUESDAY 15th March 2016 Review


“Impossible” bills itself as “The UK’s biggest magic spectacular” and that is always going to be something to live up to and deliver to an audience.  Does the show deliver?  Well, judging from some of the daredevil stunts, tricks and illusions tonight and the audience’s reaction to them the answer is yes.

“Impossible” as a show is a mixture of many things – Daredevil stunts (Jonathan Goodwin), close up card magic (Magical Bones), Mind Reading (Chris Cox), plus illusions, sleight of hand,  and magic on the small and larger scale from Josephine Lee, James More,  Ben Hart,  Lee Thompson and of course some assistants.

Staging a show like this is always going to be a compromise as you have the problem of combining close up magic tricks that even with monitors must be difficult to do in a large theatre and still retain any intimacy, and the big spectacular set pieces that need a big theatre like The Playhouse to work properly in, and overall the balance is right. 

This show is a modern take on those old “magical” pillars of distraction, mis-direction and re-direction and it is done with a really polished presentation throughout.  Some of the tricks and illusions tonight may be tried and trusted magical show standards, but they are all done in style and prove that it is often not  just the trick but the presentation  that makes the show.  What also gives “Impossible” a nice little edge is that the whole show is presented as a sort of potted history of magic and magical tricks and we move through time with our magicians with the help of some good visual effects.

Writing a review for a magic show is in itself a bit of a trick because you want your readers to get a flavour of the performances and hopefully go to the show when it is good (this show is at the Playhouse 15 to 19 March), but you do not want to give too much away on a show like this as an audience should really never know what is coming on a magic show.

I think that in an age of television and movie special effects we may have all become a bit blasé about “magic shows”, but a trip along to this show should re-ignite your belief in magic and the impossible.  All of these shows watched on television can seem a bit distant and unreal and that is because you miss the interaction between a performer and audience that only live theatre can give you.  These shows, tricks and illusions belong with a live audience whether that be “street magic” to a small crowd, close up one to one magic, or huge spectacular tricks.

I’m giving little away on this review I know, but there is a lot to see on this show.  It runs for roughly two one-hour parts with a break in the middle, and there is a lot packed into it.  There is just no way to review any of these acts really without giving away the end result of the performance and that spoils it for anyone going to see the show.

Although many of the performers here are very experienced already, they are still young enough to have long careers ahead of them, so it will be interesting to see what “new magic” they develop as their careers continue.

I enjoyed the illusion of the “Impossible” here and it is just simply a great evening out.

Review by Tom King

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