The Illusionists machine has been playing Cape Town this week - featuring Darcy Oake, Kalin & Jinger, Den Den, Ben Blaque, Chris Cox and Dave Williamson.
I've seen 2 of their performances now - and it's been hugely entertaining. More so than I was expecting. I've been trying to put my finger on what made this rendition particularly good and finally came to the conclusion that there's a unique mix with this particular ensemble ... a sincerity of character that really shines through on stage.
Ben brings the house to the edge of their seats with his crossbow weapons act, Den Den gave the audience an appreciation for manipulation the likes of which they had never seen whilst Darcy Oake fulfills the rock-star image to a T.
However, the real stand outs were Chris Cox, Kalin & Jinger and David Williamson.
Chris Cox was entirely new for me ... a quirky, zany mindreader who disarms his audience with his unassuming, 'new best friend' approach and then fries them with the most jawdropping of revelations. Ending with a grand reveal of luminous pink spandex that had 3000 people leap to their feat in amazement and streams of laughter.
I haven't seen Kalin & Jinger perform live for years - and watching them work their magic in front of a lay audience was fantastic. They have a way about them that exudes pure charm & mystery - every line honed, every glance purposeful - all wrapped in a relationship that is clearly just as strong off stage as it is on. Wakeling's Sawing in Half has never looked better. Beautiful.
The undeniable highlight though is the incomparable David Williamson. The man is a comedy genius and owns the stage like no other. He truly is one of magic's greatest treasures - to see him enrapture an entire arena of 3000 people with nothing more than a deck of cards, a raccoon and some childhood wonder is an utter joy to behold. As someone commented - "it's his party, all the other acts are his guests."
I left the venue beaming. It was an evening of true magic. And not because of some prop or box ... but because all of these performers shared something of themselves with their audience - a little glimpse of who they are as people.
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