Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Cleveland & Akron

Champions of Magic
National Tour
Review by Mark Horning | Season Schedule

Sam Strange and Richard Young
Photo courtesy of STARVOX Entertainment
One would think that with temperatures in the single digits and a threat of the dreaded "lake effect snow" that the citizens of northeast Ohio would hunker down and await more favorable conditions to venture out in. This, however, is Cleveland and in spite of the first extended cold snap in seven years, I recently found the 2,800 seat Connor Palace at Playhouse Square to be sold out—and with good reason.

The event was Champions of Magic, which had left the cloudy but much warmer clime of London's West End to tour our country. Two more performances have been added and the show will be on stage here through January 6, 2018.

Champions of Magic is made up of five performers (four gentlemen from Great Britain plus a young lady from the United States): They are: Visual Magic Expert Edward Hilsum (voted "Stage Magician of the Year" by the International Brotherhood of Magicians); Master Mind Reader Alex McAleer, Grand Illusionists Richard Young and Sam Strange, who began performing together as teenagers; and Queen of Close-up Magic, Kayla Drescher.

Each segment of the show features grand illusions, stage magic, sleight of hand and mind reading demonstrations that, along with being very family friendly, are absolutely confounding to the audience members.

It is a great show, but the sparkling personalities of the performers are the real reason for Champions of Magic's success. They are extremely likable and funny. It is easy to surmise that every member of the sold out audience would just love to sit and have a cup of tea and a biscuit with each performer. Throughout the two-hour show, the performers repeatedly break the fourth wall, recruiting members of the audience to be their assistants, and they perform close-up magic in the aisles while keeping a continuing banter with the audience.

No matter how much magic you have seen, you will find yourself saying over and over, "Wow! How did they do that?" From the astounding grand entrance through an entire catalogue of demonstrations to the epic finale, your dazzle light will blink on time and time again.

This show is geared for all members of the family and is squeaky clean. It would make a wonderful post-holiday gift for anyone.

From huge grand illusions that cover the entire stage to intimate close-up magic, and everything in between, Champions of Magic has it all. It is an experience that you and your family will fondly remember for years to come. With the possibility of each show being a sell-out, it's best to reserve tickets early.

Champions of Magic, in the Connor Palace at Playhouse Square through January 6, 2018. Tickets for the show may be purchased online at, by phone by calling 216-241-6000 or at the Playhouse Square ticket office located in the outer lobby of the State Theatre. Tickets start at $19.99. For more on the tour, visit

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