Be prepared to be amazed and astounded by these world-renowned illusionists as they do what they do best–magic; and if you do not believe in magic you may very well believe by the end of the show. These professional purveyors of the sleight of hand, grab your attention right from the beginning and continue throughout with seven very distinct acts.
There is Dizzy the comedy magician who engages the audience both young and old with his wit, sleight of hand and silly, Monty Python-esque body antics. This leaves an eagerly anticipated excitement in the air as the master of ceremonies, Steve Valentine, bounds on the stage to literally take it over. He is a combination of good-looking P.T. Barnum with a flair of Harold Hill from the Music Man except instead of a con there is magic. Steve does a great job of engaging the audience in participation and offers candy in return, with a very funny liability clause on the big video screen behind.
Did I mention the video screens? This is a very high-tech show with video screens galore which enables the scenes to change on a dime and the illusionists walk in and out of the screens at will. The initial opening sequence is a spectacular delight for all your senses with shimmering lights, computer images coming to life and then fading into the darkness, smoke seeping in all around and sound and music complimenting what our eyes are seeing or are they?
…a spectacular delight for all your senses…
Steve seamlessly manages the show and continues his act throughout, which is mind boggling, great sleight of hand, and very funny. He is very good with the younger audience members and has some emotional moments with a 5-year-old girl.
Jonathan Goodwin as the Daredevil magician is the Houdini of the bunch and lives up to his name. Valentine Azema does a mind-boggling disappearing act, and then shows us how it is done, so we think, and then blows our minds again with a different take on the trick.
Florian Sainvet is touted as the best illusionist in the world, which suits him well in his robot suit and phenomenal sleight of hand.
Stuart MacLeod is a self-proclaimed Scotsman, and he involves an audience member for some close-up magic of turning water into wine and a Cosmo drink, which is simply awe inspiring.
Sos and Victoria’s perform their act as transformationalists, which is a fancy word for very fast dressers. I never thought that I would be clapping and cheering for a woman dressing, but there it was, and I was cheering. She would pull a drape around her and literally in seconds she would have another entire outfit on, and it was surprisingly entertaining to watch.
Vincent Schonbrodt the set designer/technical Director created many worlds from one stage and all of them were believable. Philippe Dumas as the Video designer wowed us with cinematic genius marrying perfectly with the well-timed illusions. Neil Dorward as the Director created an arena for these illusionists to shine in and they all shone brightly. It was a Broadway quality show with Vegas style and showmanship with an English, French and Scottish twist.
Steve stole the show and had a shining moment with his personal story of how he told and showed his daughter all about snow, as they were moving from California to Canada. He got a girl of 9 to join him on stage as he made it snow from his hands from water and literally nothing and then the snow engulfed the entire stage to create a shining, spectacular white Christmas illusion. If you are in town, this show is a must, and well worth the price of admission. The performances will leave you inspired and feeling all the magic of the holidays.
Running Time: Two hours with a 15-minute intermission.
“The Illusionists Magic of the Holidays,” plays through December 8, 2019, at National Theater 1321 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington DC 20004. For tickets, call the box office at 202-628-6161 or purchase them online.