BWW Review: DAVID BLAINE, Eventim Apollo
Warning. This review contains details of the tricks in David Blaine's show. It never reveals how they are done, but it does speak about them in detail.
David Blaine is arguably the best magician currently living on this planet. But he isn't just a master of stagecraft; he is also an illusionist and stuntman. Rounding off his first-ever UK and Ireland tour, he performs to a packed out Eventim Apollo.
In order to get some context, we'll start at the very end. As he takes his final bow, Blaine tells us that this is one big experiment. At any point things can go wrong. He also states that this is the final term this type of show will ever be performed by him. It's dangerous - perhaps too dangerous to pursue again?
This confession makes the audience feel privileged to witness such history. We are experiencing something that only a handful of people ever will. Two hours in length, the entire evening is a triumph right from the first minute. One could say that Blaine starts off easy, but in this show easy means him sewing up his mouth with a needle and thread.
It's both gruesome and terrifying, but above all else, it's totally thrilling. The audience that are brought up on stage are grossed out by what they see. Their reactions make us laugh alongside the horror. At the same time as the conjoining of the lips, Blaine performs a card trick that blows our mind.
However, this proves only to be the warm-up act, as David goes from strength to strength. He demonstrates the psychic bond between two strangers, swallows and then regurgitates a precious ring, and swallows Kerosene to set something on fire; before putting it back out again with the seven-plus litres of water he's just drank in front of us.
It's all very incredible and the audience roar with excitement. As well as being a superb trickster, Blaine is a natural in front of crowds. This should come as no surprise as he's been in the game for many years. Amidst the gore there's humour; he riffs off people's quirks and puts everyone at ease.
The main event happens after the interval. Before breaking, we are told that Blaine needs to prepare for his most dangerous and intense trick. We feel like we have an idea what's coming, and are thrilled to be proved correct. Up goes the curtain and David sits above a huge tank filled with water.
A clip plays detailing the history of the trick. The aim is for Blaine to hold his breath past the point of time where a doctor would pronounce him brain dead. He tried this years ago and nearly died in front of millions of people. I remember watching the TV horrified at what I was seeing.
Harry Houdini managed to last 3 minutes and 30 seconds. The previous world record was around the seven-minute mark. As Blaine is a magician, surely he can find a way to fool the audience into believing that he his holding his breath? He could do that, but chooses not to; instead we watch him plummet into the tank without a gimmick in sight.
We continue to watch as he stays under. Time seems to pass so slowly. Anxiety fills the auditorium. The whole event feels unnerving, yet so exciting. Members of the audience shout 'Go on David' and it's mixed with cheers and applause. In the end Blaine manages 10 minutes and 27 seconds. Everyone is on their feet.
It is such an achievement and no one can believe what they've just seen. We see Blaine's body gyrate and pulse as he attempts to recover from his impressive feat. He is clearly going through it and the effort is apparent. As this happens, Blaine sits and talks to us. He explains his actions and relaxes back to his usual state.
As a special last-show treat, Blaine treats us to a final trick. It's one that's incredibly new and not been done much before; for that reason I won't reveal anymore. Everybody leaving the auditorium tonight is in awe of this man, and in no doubt that they have just witnessed something truly remarkable.
The evening feels like a once in a lifetime experience. If Blaine ever performs again, beg, borrow or steal to get a ticket.
Photo courtesy of David Blaine