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La Gran Ilusión

  • Theatre
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

The magic revolution is here, and the man behind the curtain is Antonio Díaz. On the popular Spanish chat show ‘En el Aire’ (‘On the Air’), he teleported himself from the live set before host Andreu Buenafuente and the stunned audience to New York’s Times Square and back. And his television show, ‘El Mago Pop’ (‘The Pop Illusionist’) on Discovery Max is becoming more popular throughout the world. His new live show ‘La Gran Ilusión’ is sure to be a major turning point in his career. With a loose back story inspired by the film ‘The Truman Show’, the Mago Pop discovers that his entire life has been a lie created for a television broadcast and decides to show the world what he’s capable of. ‘La Gran Ilusión’ is his test.

The show itself has everything that you could hope for – and everything you didn’t expect – from a show where the goal is to leave the audience amazed.  For 90 minutes you can’t help but pick your jaw up off the floor over and over, unable to complete a single thought: ‘No...’, ‘But how did...’, ‘Noooooo...’. Díaz loves doing close-up magic, and the audience gets a look at his technical precision and the poetic rhythm in his work that makes all the little hairs stand on end. Even if you’re one of those trying to find the mirrors, the hidden spaces, and the holes in the ground, at some point – with his illusions of levitation, or his travels in the time machine – he’ll take your breath away.

Onstage, Díaz is intelligent and charismatic, easily engaging his audience and convincing volunteers to participate in many of his acts – if you’re too shy to do it yourself, we recommend you get someone you know to volunteer so that afterwards the sceptic in you believes. Note that the performance is in Spanish. Don't worry if you feel your language skills aren't up to it. Although Díaz makes jokes as he goes along, virtually all but one of his tricks (which he calls 'juegos') need no language in order to leave you gobsmacked. 

Everything plays into what’s happening onstage: the lights, the contemporary pop music... it all comes together to create the perfect setting for a show that's intimate yet at the same time has just the right element of tension to build up to the finale of each illusion. Díaz has a trio of lovely assistants in his act, who operate the different apparatuses with the precision of a Swiss timepiece.

‘The time has come for magic to get back to the stage, to stop thinking of it as card tricks at the pub and show it for what it always has been: a performance art. But it’s an art with an added element that makes it unique: the element of surprise.’  With this, the Mago Pop bids good-night to his audience who have gladly followed him on his journey. But ‘La Gran Ilusión’ couldn’t be considered the great show that it is if it weren’t for the final illusion where Díaz makes you abandon all ideas of magic and forget that behind all of this there’s a trick. And that is the greatest achievement of all.


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