The Illusionists | Cadillac Palace Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

The Illusionists New Review (Theater and Comedy) The Short List (Theater) Closing (Theater and Galleries)

When: Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through March 22 2015

This lowbrow attempt at high-octane spectacle—think underfunded Fox special—rarely lets up on thumping music, flashy lights, overdesigned costumes, and big-screen projections. Director-choreographer Neil Dorward's zealous attempts to amplify mostly small-scale sleight of hand backfires; too often the shock-and-awe campaign overwhelms and diminishes what might otherwise be captivating. Each of the seven featured magicians, touring through 30 U.S. cities, has an overthought nickname, ample shtick, and several astonishing tricks (along with a few duds, including Andrew Basso’s suspense-free reenactment of Houdini's bit in a water-torture cell). The pacing is deadly slow throughout act one—followed by a debilitating 20-minute intermission—and the comedy hit-and-miss. Still, every time someone pulled a bird or a deck of cards from thin air, I swooned despite my better judgment. —Justin Hayford

Price: $95-$204


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