Free America's Got Talent Newsletter Want to receive the latest news on America's Got Talent sent straight to your email? Join hundreds of other AGT fans who subscribe to Pure AGT for FREE!

“The Illusionists: Live From Broadway” Review

Image result for the illusionists live from broadway

I don’t normally review things on this blog other than Got Talent episodes, but this week I was fortunate enough to see a show that has a lot of tie-ins with the franchise. The Illusionists is a series of live shows who’s casts are each made up of several performers who specialize in various areas of magic. There are a few tours currently running and starting up in the future, including one travelling North America from January to June. For now there are two productions running during the month of December (one in Toronto, Ontario and the other in Wilmington, Delaware and Washington, DC) both of which feature performers who will become part of said North American tour as well as some other special guests.

The Illusionists portrays its performers as the Justice League or Avengers of magic. At the beginning and end of the show (as well as in promotional material) they all stand together onstage in a way that is very reminiscent of what you might see on your typical comic book movie poster. The superhero vibe is furthered by the fact that every performer in an Illusionists production is given a nickname that describes their “powers”. This year’s Toronto production features “The Trickster” (Jeff Hobson) “The Daredevil” (Jonathan Goodwin) “The Manipulator” (An Ha Lim) “The Unusualist” (Raymond Crowe) “The Eccentric” (Charlie Frye) “The Deductionist” (Colin Cloud) and “The Grand Illusionist” (Darcy Oake).

The cast of each Illusionists production is expertly crafted to ensure a variety of talents are represented. As the show’s emcee of sorts, Hobson got a good chunk of the stage time, much of which was used to interact (and mess around) with the audience. To be fair, his shtick did get a little cheesy at times – which I’m sure will be a delight for some people and maybe not to others – but the audience interaction added another dynamic to the act (at the performance I saw, this was most notable during a moment in which a young boy refused to give him any easy answers). An Ha Lim had the least amount of time on stage, but still made a strong impact with his award-winning card-conjuring magic. And as the only Canadian in the cast, Oake is a sort of homeland hero in the Toronto production, sharing the story of what sparked his passion for magic and amazing the audience with his signature dove trick (as seen on Britain’s Got Talent).

Fresh off his run in the most recent season of America’s Got Talent, Colin Cloud will inevitably be one of the bigger draws of this year’s tour. As someone who’s covered all of his performances on the program as well as other similar acts in the past, I’ve come to learn a lot about mentalism – his genre of choice – and that it can be controversial in more ways than one. However, as I said all summer, it’s not just the trick itself that makes a magic performance, but the presentation of it. Seeing Cloud command the stage live with his own personal brand of illusion, class, and wit was truly a treat to behold. (Being selected as one of the lucky participants in his second-act segment was just the icing on the cake. :P)

The Illusionists also goes beyond the typical conjuring, vanishing, and mind-reading typically seen in magic shows. Humorous vaudevillian segments from Charlie and Sherry Frye transports patrons back to a time where stage magic was simpler, but no less fun to watch. In addition to performing what was probably the most whimsical trick of all in the first act, Raymond Crowe’s signature shadow puppetry act (as seen on Australia’s Got Talent) was a clear crowd favorite. Doing Got Talent coverage has made me realize how difficult pleasing an audience with a danger act can be, but Daredevil Jonathan Goodwin somehow manages to have just the right stage presence to grab the audience while still maintaining a certain ominous vibe to keep the tension and suspense from start to finish during each of his segments. The audience is always acutely aware of the dangerous and painful aspects of his stunts, but it never quite gets to the point where it becomes unwatchable (except maybe for the most squeamish patrons).

Being a magic show, plenty of audience participation is inevitably incorporated into The Illusionists. (At the performance I saw, multiple illusionists unknowingly selected the same man to be involved in the show, which soon became a running joke.) If you’re not comfortable being pulled into the action, I highly suggest avoiding the front rows and any orchestra-level aisle seats when buying tickets for the show. On the flip side, without spoiling anything I am happy to report that audience members who aren’t sitting close to the stage will still have the opportunity to be part of the performance (without being unwillingly dragged onstage!).

The Illusionists will be presented across North America between December 2017 and June 2018. (For those wondering, the tour beyond the holiday season stops will feature Toronto cast members An Ha Lim, Colin Cloud, Jonathan Goodwin, and Jeff Hobson, as well as Wilmington/Washington performer Kevin James, aka “The Inventor”.)  Tickets for the full list of dates can be found on the show’s website.

December 15, 2017 I Written By

I’m obssessed with the entertainment industry, especially offbeat and nerdy things as well as those that involve live performance. The only thing I love more than geeking out over the things that entertain me is sharing in my excitement with others who share the same passions. America may have talent, but Canada has an up-and-coming blogger who is ready to take the internet by storm!

AGT Season 12 Contestant Updates (including Darci Lynne’s Ellen appearance!)

Looks like Darci has been doing the press rounds this week. She has appeared on a few shows since her win on Wednesday, including yesterday’s episode of Ellen! Check it out below.

As longtime readers will know, I love that America’s Got Talent welcomes all kinds of performers and gives many of them a career boost. I’m a big fan of the TV dance world and the people who cover those shows are always encouraging fans to support the dancers in their other projects and live performances. Likewise, I’d like to start doing this for some of our AGT alumni on here. They’ve shared their talents with us, so I’m only too glad to support/promote them when I am able! Yesterday I shared some info about the upcoming AGT Planet Hollywood show in Las Vegas featuring Season 12 finalists Darci Lynne Farmer, Angelica Hale, Light Balance, and Preacher Lawson, but I’ve been looking to see where else some of the contestants will be performing next as well. Here’s what I’ve found so far:

I know we have a lot of Pure AGT readers who became fans of acrobatic dance group Diavolo over the summer, and I have some good new for you guys: they’re going on tour! They’ll be heading to nearly 20 US cities between now and March 2018. This is the 25th anniversary celebration for the dance company, so this show is sure to be an extra special one!

Image result for diavolo dance

Preacher Lawson may be part of the AGT Vegas show in November, but that’s far from the only place he’ll be performing this fall. He has a list of show dates on his website, which currently lists shows for Oklahoma, Alberta, Alabama, Washington, Arkansas, and New York before the end of the year.

Image result for preacher lawson

I know a lot of AGT fans were disappointed in the lack of magic acts this season, so I wanted to tell you guys a bit about a show called The Illusionists. Some of you may have heard of the show or even seen a performance before, but for those who are unaware it is the world’s biggest touring magic show, and has several versions going on at once around the globe. Each production has a handful of various performers – mostly magicians – each with a different skillset in the art of illusion and title to match it – ex. “The Grand Illusionist” or “The Daredevil” – making for a show featuring a wide variety of magic.

Several alums from various Got Talent programs have appeared in this show, like how last year saw Season 11 runners-up The Clairvoyants pop in for a stint in the Broadway production. Another AGT contestant who is no stranger to this show is Season 12 Semi-Finalist Colin Cloud (aka “The Deductionist”) who has toured with the show to several continents over the past couple of years and is set to appear in quite a few of the 2017-18 North American stops (and I believe South Africa as well). I was very disappointed to miss this show when it came to Toronto last year (which might have turned out to be a good thing for Pure AGT, since I’m pretty sure if I had seen Mr. Deductionist before he was on AGT this would have become a Colin Cloud stan blog for the season. :P) but I am delighted that it’s coming back this holiday season and if I am able to go I might just review it for you guys! 😉

Image result for the illusionists 2017

Finally, Season 12 fourth-place finisher Mandy Harvey has quite a bit of music available for purchase, as well as some upcoming tour dates across the US. Most of them are set for Winter-Spring 2018, but she does have a couple shows in California and Indiana this October.

Mandy has also written a book that can be pre-ordered here. It’s her autobiography which focuses on coming to terms with her loss of hearing while figuring out how to realize her musician dreams. I’m really excited to read about her journey when the book is released in just a few days on September 26.

Image result for mandy harvey sensing the rhythm

That’s all for now, but if I see any more noteworthy updates from AGT alumni I’ll be sure to inform you guys! And don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about the top Season 12 performances countdown, I just really felt like it deserved its own post, so that’ll be coming up very soon! 🙂

September 23, 2017 I Written By

I’m obssessed with the entertainment industry, especially offbeat and nerdy things as well as those that involve live performance. The only thing I love more than geeking out over the things that entertain me is sharing in my excitement with others who share the same passions. America may have talent, but Canada has an up-and-coming blogger who is ready to take the internet by storm!