Last night I had the pleasure of attending the opening night of The Illusionists – Live From Broadway at the SHN Orpheum Theatre. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but came away from the show fully entertained by these masters of illusion.
There are 7 illusionists: The Anti-Conjurer, The Manipulator, The Inventor, The Escapologist, The Trickster, The Weapon Master, and the Deceptionist. Each has their own specialty and performs roughly 2-4 times during the course of the show.
For us (my husband and myself) there were two standouts of the night – the Anti-Conjurer (above left), and the Trickster (above right). Total opposites, the Anti-Conjurer was a dark, gothic character, performing the most shocking of illusions that night. I had to look away at some parts during one of the Anti-Conjurer’s tricks and was literally screaming about what was happening on stage, exchanging looks of shock with my husband. But he was by far one of our favorite acts, so the “eek” factor was worth it. And the Trickster provides levity for the show, acting as the M.C. for the night in an array of flashy costumes and fall-out-of-your-seat-funny tricks and humor. He steals the show with his audience involvement and jokes – I never expected to laugh that much at a magic show!
If you are going to spend the money to see this show, I would recommend trying to book close seats. Even sitting in row R, we wished we could have been closer in to see some of the tricks better. They do have a giant screen on stage that projects the action live for those further away, but it’s always more fun to watch the real action in front of you.
There were only two small letdowns – The Manipulator never made an appearance last night (maybe he was sick?) and the much-touted full view water torture escape by The Escapologist never happened. I would likely chalk it up to opening night technicalities, and would hope both will join the show for the remainder of the SF run. I will note that the Escapologist was there and performed an upside-down straight-jacket escape that was impressive, just not the water escape.
Overall, a night of awe and laughter, recommended to those with a love of magic and illusion – or just for those wanting to try something new.
If You Go:
When: February 16-21, 2016
Where: Orpheum Theatre, 1192 Market Street in San Francisco
Cost: $45 – $212
Running time: 2 hours, including one 15-minute intermission
Age Recommendation: Appropriate for all ages (no children under 5 allowed)
What do you think, does this show sound like something you’d go to?