By Jo Ann Holt, Special NDG Contributor
When you see The Illusionists be prepared to be amused, bewildered, and thoroughly entertained at this latest Dallas Summer Musical (DSM) production as they continue celebrating their 75th anniversary. The Illusionists presents a smorgasbard from seven different but uniquely talented magicians from around the globe, onstage now through April 19 at the Music Hall at Fair Park.
Each of them a world-class magician in his own right, the seven Illusionists are:
The Manipulator Yu Ho-Jin, the first Asian to win the Grand Prix at the Federation Internationale des Societes Magiques (known as the Olympics of Magic). The young magician’s sleight of hand card tricks left most of us totally amazed.
The Anti-Conjuror, Dan Sperry, has been seen on the TV show America’s Got Talent, but his macabre appearance and wicked sense of humor are even more fun onstage. He brought a lady from the audience up to participate in a game featuring elements he borrowed from Russian Roulette…except this game would only result in a badly injured hand. Not to give away any secrets, but luckily the lady escaped unharmed.
The Trickster, Jeff Hobson, is a hilarious emcee who dresses like Liberace (for those who remember the over-the-top showman) and spends a lot of time interacting with the audience, coaxing several members onstage to assist in assorted tricks. His non-stop banter and mischievous attitude were the glue that held the show together.
The Escapologist, Andrew Basso, is an Italian who’s a Houdini-style escape artist. He performed the notorious Water Torture Cell escape with no cover. A cover was always used to protect the audience from watching Houdini’s death struggles if the escape didn’t happen in time, we learned. This was definitely the most nerve-wracking part of the show, and no one in the audience was shuffling their feet, coughing or even breathing as we counted down the time for him to escape.
The Inventor, Kevin James, provided some of the most baffling and unbelievable illusions of the show. Most amazing to this viewer was when he sawed a man in half and wheeled different parts of the body all around the stage in different directions before finally putting him back together. This was only one of several of the Inventor’s mind-boggling tricks.
The Warrior, Aaron Crow, is Belgium’s most famous magician and was a first place finisher at the World Championships of Magic. While he doesn’t speak, his actions speak louder than words. After having a happily married couple brought on stage to renew their vows, he performed several gasp-provoking feats of prowess using his crossbow and arrow to recover her wedding ring from an apple. Hard to explain, so go see for yourself.
The Futurist, Adam Trent, is a charismatic young man who took the audience on a magical journey into the future of magic. By fusing technology with more classic techniques, his illusions were (to quote a young audience member seated behind me) AWESOME!