Review: The Illusionists – Turn of the Century Celebrates the Golden Age of Magic

The Illusionists – Turn Of The Century is a Broadway show in New York City that celebrates the “golden age of magic.” Showing in The Palace Theatre, a historic venue that opened over 100 years ago, The Illusionists – Turn Of The Century is staged in the same theater where Harry Houdini himself once performed.  Headliners for The Illusionists – Turn Of The Century include The Clairvoyants (Thommy Ten and Amélie van Tass), runners-up in NBC’s 2016 America’s Got Talent competition.  Continue reading for our review of The Illusionists – Turn Of The Century.

The Illusionists

No, you won’t learn how to do magic/illusions, but you will be treated to a sort of timeline of magic, from the hey days of magic, an earlier form of escapism than movies and television. From their costumes to their performing styles, everything on stage is designed to transport the audience back in time. Each act is an homage to an illusionist act of a time gone by over a hundred years ago.

The Illusionists

There are eight performers, who share the stages, sometimes, simultaneously, with acts that combine the talents of the artists (or, especially in the case of the silent performer, to introduce the act). Each Illusionists act begins their performance with an explanation of the type of act and its history, which was my favorite part of the show. The show features the Clairvoyants, who came in second on America’s Got Talent earlier this year.

The Illusionists

I won’t reveal too much about the acts. The balance was very good, with more comedic acts distributed throughout the evening, so the show didn’t get bogged down or too frivolous. In fact, one of the comedy acts was so funny, I nearly laughed myself into an asthma attack! I could not stop laughing!

The Illusionists

As I mentioned above, the acts are designed as homages to The Illusionists of yore and my favorite of those was in honor of Harry Houdini, one of the most famous illusionists of all time. When the performer, Jonathan Goodwin (the Daredevil), told us that he would be recreating one of Houdini’s acts on a stage Houdini himself had performed on (the Palace), I got goosebumps. I can only imagine how inspiring and fulfilling those performances must be for the Daredevil.  Another classic act is, of course, sawing a woman in half, and the sawn woman made her appearance here, as well, with audience members brought on stage to assist.

The Illusionists

My favorite act of the night was the Grand Carlini. The cleverness of the concept and the deftness of the performer are a true testament to the illusionist behind it. Imagine having not only the idea of a marionette magician, but also having the ability to bring it life.

The Illusionists

The Illusionists – Turn of the Century is a great family show, but there are quite a few risque comments (nothing too raunchy, though), which your younger children definitely won’t get, but your teens, especially older teens might. That said, special designated family performances take place at 11:00am. Be aware that audience participation is key in several of the acts and children are invited on stage, too. Speaking of audience participation, while it’s generally safe to avoid being called on if you’re relatively far back in the theater, the Clairvoyants do go fairly far back.

The Illusionists – Turn of the Century is playing in New York City at the Palace Theatre (1564 7th Avenue and West 47th Street) for a limited engagement and is expected to close January 1st, 2017, so get your tickets now, while you still can.

The Illusionists

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About George Gensler

George Gensler is a copyrights specialist during the week and a runner on the weekends. She lives in New York City now, but has lived in five countries on three continents. She grew up traveling the world, but her official residence was in Southern California and every visit home included a trip to Disneyland. She has also visited every Disney Park around the world and sailed on board two Disney cruises. She threw in a visit to the Disney Family museum in San Francisco for good measure, and has had the Premier Disney Park Pass since its inception.