BWW Review: Variety Returns To The Palace With THE ILLUSIONISTS - TURN OF THE CENTURY
The Twentieth Century was only in its teens when playing Times Square's Palace Theatre was established as the pinnacle of success for vaudeville artists, so it's very appropriate that the latest Broadway offering from THE ILLUSIONISTS, titled TURN OF THE CENTURY, is playing the Palace.
Unlike last year's holiday visit, which was packaged by director Neil Dorward with a slick boy band feel, TURN OF THE CENTURY is indeed styled as an evening of old-fashioned vaudeville acts, with each performer possessing a fun, individual style.
The featured act of the evening, The Clairvoyants (Thommy Ten and Amélie van Tass), open the show with a large screen teaser of things to come, predicting which playing cards will stick in audience members' memories after a quick flip. Later on, Ten travels through the house selecting random items offered by customers that the blindfolded van Tass successfully identifies from on stage.
The most charismatic of the bunch is Jonathan Goodwin, billed as The Daredevil, who assures us that, while his colleagues deal in illusion, everything he does is real. His first bit involves lying on a long nail while an audience volunteer uses a sledgehammer to smash a concrete block placed on top of him. His other feats include escaping from being dangled handcuffed above a bed of spikes from a burning rope and cracking a flower from the mouth of an audience member with a whip (while blindfolded, of course).
There's some traditional hocus pocus charmingly performed by The Grand Carlini, a marionette controlled by Justo Thaus, and some nifty juggling by The Eccentric (Charlie Frye), who tangles himself within a chain of linking and unlinking rings.
Billed as The Charlatan, DAna Daniels gets a great deal of comic mileage with his inept balloon twisting and the continual failure of his parrot partner to pick the right card to make a trick work. "It's a bird!" he repeatedly shouts to the audience as an explanation.
Rick Thomas, The Immortal, acts as host of the evening and has better luck with his feathered companions, making doves disappear and reappear.
THE ILLUSIONISTS are all accomplished pros who have been working at their craft for years and their magical antics are sure to delight the kids and baffle the adults.