Punch your card for magic with ‘The Illusionists’

by MIKE CHAIKEN

EDITIONS EDITOR

The great thing about the stage show “The Illusionists,” which materialized at The Bushnell in Hartford this weekend is that it notches several punches into your magical entertainment card.

If you want a lot of laughs with your magic tricks, Jeff Hobson kept the audience in stitches every time he stepped out from behind the curtain with his flourish of energy and humor.

If you want to be flummoxed and amazed, trying to figure out how he figured everything out, Colin Cloud kept you pondering his verbal and numeric trickery long after you left the theater.

If you wanted to be entranced by otherworldly stunts, An Ha Lim’s card tricks, which were almost like watching ballet with kings and queens and aces, was mesmerizing.

If you wanted your magic with gadgets and gizmos, whose mechanical secrets kept you guessing as to their operation, Kevin James had you in awe.

And if you wanted on the edge of your seat action, the possibly life-threatening stunts performed by Jonathan Goodwin had you wondering if he was ever going to make it out alive and would that night’s show make the wrong kind of headlines the next day.

I’m going to avoid giving away too much detail about the tricks performed in “The Illusionists,” so I don’t spoil them for you.

But I will tell you the entire show is polished, entertaining, and all involved clearly have taken the time to take magic acts from the old stages of vaudeville and retool them for a modern—and skeptical– audience.

Also, I will say there was never a dull moment as the cast rotated in and out of the spotlight.

And I will say audience participation in this show is one of the highlights of the evening. (So if you should be picked out of the crowd to join the cast on stage, go for it. It will be a moment you will be sharing with family and friends for years to come.)

After the show, I kept thinking about how this trick or that trick was done. And I couldn’t quite figure it out. However, that is part of the fun of magic.  And that is part of the fun of “The Illusionists.”

I give “The Illusionists” four out of four stars.

“The Illusionists” continues at The Bushnell, 166 Capitol Ave., Hartford, tonight, Saturday, May 5 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, May 6 at 1:30 and 6:30 p.m.

For more information, go to www.Bushnell.org

Jeff Hobson of ‘The Illusionists’