I just returned from seeing The Illusionists, an incredibly talented magic act finishing up its six day stop in Seattle on its North America tour. I've always loved magic, though I can't really remember seeing much of it as a kid. In 2005, when America's Got Talent came on the air, that's when I really remember getting a taste for magic. I've watched the show every year, and the magic acts are always incredible. Last year a magic act even won the one million dollar prize for the first time. It's a good time to be a magician, and The Illusionists boasts seven of the world's best.
All the magicians on the tour go by stage names. Most memorable might be The Anti-Conjuror, Dan Sperry, if only because his face was done up like he'd tried to be a member of KISS and failed miserably. His hair is a mess of tangled black strands, and his clothing style can't decide if it wants to be emo or punk. His demeanor is fun and charismatic though, almost making the watcher forget how shocking he looks. His talent is undeniable, and while his act with the birds was impressive, I found my greatest respect for him in how he handled an audience member who wouldn't quit yelling during one of the segments. One of the very first things we saw him do onstage was a trick with a LifeSaver and some floss, a routine which threw me back in time to 2010, the first time I'd seen him do the trick. I didn't remember until that moment, but I'd watched him perform on America's Got Talent back in season 5. He didn't win back then, but I'd say he's doing pretty well for himself these days!
The best entrance of the night goes without a shadow of a doubt to The Warrior, Aaron Crow. He entered the stage through a cloud of smoke, his larger than life shadow advancing before him with epic music behind him. Not only does the man have the most chiseled jawbones I've ever seen, he also pulled off a fantastic act with a bow and arrow without speaking a word to either the audience or his two volunteers. He's a renowned performer from Belgium, and fascinating part of The Illusionists.
The Manipulator, Yu Ho-Jin, is a breathtakingly beautiful man with an astonishing amount of fluidity and grace. With fantastic style and an elegant musical backdrop, he astounded the crowd with the technical prowess he possesses. I've seen card tricks before, but not with such charm and poise. He's clearly a master of his craft, and his smile brightens the entire stage.
The biggest sets are put on by The Inventor, Kevin James. He's another face I realized I'd seen before on America's Got Talent, though he's mostly remembered by his particular tricks, not his shocking appearance. He's designed magic tricks for magicians all around the world, and he was able to charm and amuse the audience with a variety of clever contraptions.
Despite their best efforts, the audience was unable to hold their breath quite as long as The Escapologist, Andrew Basso. The Italian escape artist got out of a straight jacket while dangling in the air early in the show, then returned later on to escape from the water torture chamber Harry Houdini is famous for. I can only hold my breath for forty-five seconds if I'm lucky, and the escape I watched tonight took three minutes and seventeen seconds. Needless to say, the crowd was impressed.
I'd thought about doing my makeup before I headed up to Seattle, but I decided not to bother with all the effort. It's a good thing I didn't though, because The Trickster, Jeff Hobson, had me laughing so hard I was crying in no time at all. He exudes charm and confidence, and successfully won over the entire audience seemingly without even trying. Every time he came on stage he left us laughing, making him easily one of the most memorable parts of the evening.
Last but not least was The Futurist, Adam Trent. Charm, technical skill, and humour caused him to be both my mother and brother's favourite part of the show. His illusions were a stunning look into a technological fusion with magic, and he kept everybody laughing whenever he came out to entertain. One particular moment he shared with a six-year-old boy that clearly didn't understand the joke was especially entertaining. The trick that followed was impressive, and thoroughly heart-warming due to his interactions with the audience volunteer.
I've always loved magic, and now that I've gotten to see it live and in person, I'm more in love than ever. Beauty, humour, charm, confidence, and skill rolled off that stage in waves, and created a spectacle that anyone would enjoy. Thank you to The Illusionists, for a fantastic performance. Job well done.