Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Seattle

The Illusionists—Witness the Impossible Mesmerizes at 5th Avenue
National Tour

Also see David's review of Slaughterhouse-Five

The Cast
The Illusionists is a slam-bang, thrill ride of a show featuring seven master artistes in the art of illusion, or simply put one hell of a magic show. I saw David Copperfield in my college days, and this impressive effort was my first return to a live performance of the form since. There have been multitudinous advances in technical production and use of mass media in the intervening years and many are employed in this show, but the magic man being up to his old tricks is just as fun. The seven stars are all good, but there are stand-outs.

Yu Ho-Jin ("The Manipulator") wasn't named Magician of the Year by The Academy of Magical Arts for nothing. His focus is on card tricks, performed in a very Zen and hypnotic manner, and he is quite spellbinding. Jeff Hobson ("The Trickster") is part Jack Cassidy, part Paul Lynde and, mixing humor with magic, quite a show-stealer. Adam Trent ("The Futurist") does wonders incorporating modern multi-media with his magic, and gives the freshest take on the form in the show. Andrew Basso ("The Escapologist") honors the master, Harry Houdini, with his thrilling and nerve-wracking Water Torture Cell. Intermission follows this act and a good thing, too, as it will leave you breathless and in need of air yourself!

Aaron Crow ("The Warrior") uses devices like swords and crossbows to weave his spell; Kevin James ("The Inventor") mixes comedy with his unique creations; Dan Sperry as "The Anti-Conjuror," a Marilyn Manson-esque figure, is the most macabre of the artists. The production surrounding these performers is top-notch, with effects, costumes, and lighting plus dancers and musicians thrown in for good measure. The packed house at the 5th Avenue was more the sort you would see in a huge arena, but luckily there was a sizable video screen onstage to make the tricks easy to watch and marvel at.

The Illusionists was a welcome change in my itinerary of reviewing, and kids, parents and mingling singles should enjoy it thoroughly. Limited run in Seattle, so beware, now you see it, now you don't!

The Illusionists runs through June 21 at , 5th Avenue Theatre, 1308 Fifth Ave., Seattle; $33-$129 at 206-625-1900 or For more information on the tour, visit

Photo: Joan Marcus

- David Edward Hughes

Privacy Policy