Wednesday January 17th 2018

“The Illusionists” Live From Broadway.

illusionistHighly Recommended **** Today was a magical day. This morning, I was able to take a picture with the World Series Trophy that my “loveable winners, The Cubs” earned in 2016, and then this evening, Jane and I came back to the city to be entertained by “The Illusionists” at The Oriental Theatre. While this was a return trip by these amazing men, on the first visit, our grandson, Adam, attended with me.. Jane stayed home. Tonight not only was Jane awed by this remarkable show, she made a “guest appearance” when  Dan Sperry, The Anti-Conjuror asked for a female audience member to hold up a quarter. Being in Row E on the aisle, My Janie was brought up on stage and for 15 minutes, in front of over 1,600 patrons, assisted with an amazing work of magical art. The funny thing is that this was in the second half of the show, after she had spoken to Adam, at home, and he said that all the audience “aides” were probably “set-ups”. Only minutes later, she found out, “it ain’t so!”.

The show is very close to what came in back in 2015. Two hours of magic and comedy. Yes, lots of comedy, thanks to the brilliance of “The Trickster”, Jeff Hobson, a sort of cross between Robin Williams and Paul Lynde (only old-timers will know that name). He is hysterical and plays the audience with just the right touch. Even when he does his slight-of-hand right in front of you, one cannot catch him. He defines what a great emcee should be, but he is also an Illusionist himself.  The Manipulator, An Ha Lim, is from Korea and his masterful card handling is indeed mind-boggling. Many years ago, I fell in love with magic, and not being able to do this myself, learned to concentrate on each movement of the “magician”, in order to see what his or her deception was. Years later, I am still seeking the answers. I know they are only Illusions, but they sure feel as if they are real.illusion5

The Daredevil, Jonathan Goodwin is more of a stunt performer. In fact, he does no magic nor does he do Illusions, but does do some cross-bow “magic” of his own. His marksmanship in a small area is what they call “death-defying” and the two ladies involved are as gutsy as can be. Of course, they had no “blood” in their act, unlike my Jane, who ended up with a bloody quarter and blood on her shoes, but I know that they knew what to expect, whereas Jane was not expecting anything but a night at the theater.

The Deductionist, Colin Cloud, is a “thought reader” who proved to be a true psychic. He called off things people were thinking, rattling them off, rapid fire. The Escapologist, Italy’s Andrew Basso, pulls off the great Houdini’s “Water Tortureillusionist.2jpg Cell” in amazing style. Of course, Chicago theater audiences have been able to watch our own legend, Dennis Watkins handle his version in “The Death and Harry Houdini” presented by The House Theatre, every few years. Basso, does it a little differently, but amazingly, we get to watch every second of the under 4 minutes escape, with only a paper clip!

The seventh performer is The Inventor, Kevin James. He is very special in his use of the human body to create his illusions. Taking body parts and creating a Charlie Chaplin (mini-style) that walks off the stage. He also does a bit where he slices a man in two and the two halves each do their own thing, until he staples the parts back together and the man dances off the stage. James also works with a young person from the audience trying to teach him a great trick. Using a bottle and a half-dollar, we watch him put the coin into the bottle through the side- no opening. He also has it come out and does this over and over, while in this case the 7 or 8 -year-old littleboy watched, eyes wide open, mouth agape. At the end of the trick, the coin was gone, the bottle as well, but the little boy was given his own magic show kit.

If you believe in magic and enjoy watching masters do their creative thing, this is a show that will please you. It is great “family Fare”. Yes, there are a few moments when Hobson and Sperry get a bit “off-color”, but I found nothing offensive, just some fun. If you have had a bad day (or month), this show will certainly change your mood. Come in glum, leave smiling! Here is the only problem with this offering from Broadway In Chicago, it is only here thru February 26th with performances as follows:

illusion8Wednesday  7:30 p.m.

Thursday  7:30 p.m.

Friday  7:30 p.m.

Saturday  2  and 8 p.m.

Sunday  2 and 7:30 p.m.

Tickets range from $16-$80 and let me tell you, it doesn’t matter where you are seated. There is a giant screen projecting each and every illusion, so nothing gets missed.

To order your tickets call The Broadway In Chicago Ticketline at 800-775-2000, visit any of the Broadway In Chicago Box offices, all Ticketmaster outlets and online at

The Oriental Theatre is located at 24 West Randolph Street (between State Street and Dearborn)illusion3

To see what others are saying, visit , go to Review Round-Up and click at “The Illusionists.

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