Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

May 7, 2018

REVIEW: The Bushnell, The Illusionists-Live from Broadway

The Bushnell, Hartford, CT
through May 8, 2018
by R.E. Smith

Despite the “Broadway” in the title, there’s no singing or dancing in “The Illusionists” but that doesn’t mean there is a lack of showbiz spectacle on display. This shiny take on classic magic, with a dash of side-show derring-do, manages to entertain and delight adults and children alike. 3 magicians, 1 daredevil and 1 “deductionist,”, neatly encompass the idea that illusions can take many forms and that card tricks or a bed of nails can be equally entertaining.
Colin Cloud

“The Illusionists” have been to the Bushnell before, but the cast varies with every tour. The major addition, and worth the price of admission alone, is Colin Cloud. Cloud made it to the finals of “America’s Got Talent” and his act is one of a kind. He makes a point to say that he is not psychic, but rather a master of deduction. His ability to pick someone out of the audience and deduce not only their pet’s name but their birthday is something even Sherlock Holmes would proclaim as “magical”. Dressed like Dr. Who and moving with the speed of street busker, his revelations come at a rapid fire pace. Yes, jaws drop.

Seasoned Las Vegas performer Jeff Hobson, “The Trickster,” offers close-up tricks with comedic flair and a “fabulous” spin. You can feel the audience light up every time he returns to the stage. An Ha Lim is a card “manipulator” often named “Magician of the Year” by his peers, whose sleight-of-hand ability never ceased to elicit “how does he DO that?!” reactions. Kevin James. “The Inventor,” takes some old guard tricks, like sawing someone in half, and keeps them simple enough for the kids to appreciate but dresses them up with some “weird science” pizzaz for the adults.

Certainly, people have seen many of these types of acts on television but they are truly acts best appreciated live. The audience interaction with Jonathan Goodwin, “The Daredevil” as he demonstrates “pain tolerance,” or escapes from a water torture chamber while in mortal danger, gives an intimacy that amplifies the thrills.

“The Illusionists” makes for a unique evening of entertainment that the audience will talk about for a long while afterwards.