'Impossible' review or 'For my next trick, I'm going to make this woman disappear!'

Noel Coward Theatre, 30th July 2015 
Written for Time Out 

Levitating women! Burning men! Disappearing cars and reappearing helicopters! Shrinking cards, disappearing cards and cards that’ll change colour as if by bleedin’ magic. Saws, cross bows, beds of nails and water-tank escape jobs. Every traditional trick you can imagine is crammed into magical extravaganza ‘Impossible’. It isn’t original and it certainly isn’t politically correct (so many women in so many tiny costumes!) but it’s still a glittering, occasionally gobsmacking night out. 

There are six principle magicians in ‘Impossible’ and each is a pro at one of the eight principles of magic, including escape, transportation, penetration (behave) and levitation. Some of the magicians, such as Jonathan ‘Daredevil’ Goodwin (I prefer to call him nutter) are full-on showmen, here to dazzle us with fearsome physical feats. Others are more low-key, such as geeky mind-reader Chris Cox and impish ‘boundary breaker’ Ben Hart.

It’s great to have such a smorgasbord of showmen but it does make for quite a jolting production. A huge set piece – such as Goodwin setting himself on fire whilst dangling upside down in a straitjacket – is followed up by a subtle sleight of hand number. The intimate tricks suffer by comparison, which is a shame because they have a delicate wonder all to themselves. 

Master Illusionist Luis de Matos purrs with charisma and has the audience eating out of his silky smooth hands with a stunning card trick performed on the entire room. These interactive moments work brilliantly (magic always feels more magical when the crowd is involved) and are far more effective than the fancy set pieces, which feel too big, too remote, too much.

There’s is something pretty depressing about the constant use of beaming girls in barely-there costumes, but you grow strangely immune to it by the end. ‘Impossible’ doesn’t break new ground but it’ll bend your mind and make you gasp and giggle.


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