Review: The Illusionists 2.0

Artist: The Illusionists 2.0

Venue: The Civic Theatre, Auckland, New Zealand

Date: 06/09/14

The famed group of magicians known as The Illusionists returned to our shores this September, and after missing out last year I was fortunate enough to attend their new show running until the end of this week here in New Zealand; The Illusionists 2.0.

First things first; before the show even started we were involved with a pair of 3D glasses and a mysterious envelope marked DO NOT OPEN awaiting us on our seats. Intrigued I automatically wanted to open it, but not wanting to spoil the magic, I somehow restrained myself.

Then the show began; and it began in style! Flashing lights and upbeat music graced us as a handful of dancers appeared on the stage, rocking a very modern upbeat groove. Next came the magicians; we were introduced to them one by one as they took their turns at impressing us with their speciality.

I was delighted by the variety of these seven illusionist’s talents. The Master Magician was a delightful host; his wit had us laughing and excited to see each performer wielding their craft. The Warrior and The Deceptionist performed some dangerous opening feats for us; cutting various objects held by members of the audience while blindfolded, and balancing on a sword before impaling himself yet escaping unharmed, respectively. We had The Futurist and The Manipulator performing card tricks that had us scratching our heads in confusion, while The Trickster and The Unusualist had us in absolutely stitches, combining their witty and ridiculous antics with some interest little classic illusions.

As the first act drew to a close we hit my favourite point of the evening; we opened the forbidden envelope. Inside were four postcards with a different member of the troupe on each one; we shuffled them, ripped them in half, shuffled and shuffled, stuck one in our pocket, shuffled and shuffled, threw all but one away and at the end the two remaining (the one in hand and one in pocket) were a matching pair… I still can’t get my head around it. Their audience involvement hit new heights with that, and I love being a part of it.

The second half kicked it up a notch, with The Futurist popping through giant monitors and The Deceptionist being impaled by flaming spikes before re-appearing on the balcony. I was sorry to see the show end; although we were treated to a very nice encore performance by The Manipulator who transformed blank cards into playing cards, back again, then into a sign spelling out The Illusionists 2.0 with the grand finale being transforming them into the New Zealand flag. Bonus points for playing to the crowd gents!

I left the theatre wishing that the two and a half hours had lasted longer, though I was very pleased to spot both The Manipulator and The Warrior taking photos and signing autographs near the exit. I was fortunate enough to slip in and grab a photo with The Warrior. Thanks for being a good sport!

All in all the show was an amazing combination of wit, humour and illusions so crazy that I still can’t comprehend half of them. Well worth the time and money, an excellent trip as either a family or with friends; I’d highly recommend checking them out!


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