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The Houdini Experience

  • Theatre, West End
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended
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Time Out Says

4 out of 5 stars

The posters for 'The Houdini Experience' claim it to be 'The greatest illusion show on earth.' A bold statement, you might say, but this spectacular magic show can't be far off. Rather than a tribute to legendary escapologist Houdini, Dutch magician Hans Klok struts his way through an unashamedly cheesy, big-budget, Vegas-style spectacle.

Subtlety isn't present here; the illusionist sports a voluminous blonde mullet, glitter plays a key role in costume design and no prop is simply handed to Klok, it's danced to him.

The tricks themselves are corny but stunning. Many are reinventions of classic illusions: card productions, levitating assistants, water-tank escapes etc. But the sheer number of stunts and speed at which they're performed is mightily impressive, most notably Klok's repeated signature feat, the 'quick-change', where the Dutchman is locked inside a box and, a split second later, has swapped places with one of his assistants (or as he calls them, 'the Divas of Magic').

Cirque du Soleil-style circus performers break-up the conjuring segments, including pole-climbing duo Leosvel & Diosmani, who display seemingly impossible feats of gravity-defying strength, and Chinese slack-wire artist Zhang Fan, who makes riding a unicycle, with his hands, on a thin piece of swaying wire, look effortless. 'The Houdini Experience' may be stuck in the '80s, but however unfashionable this over-the-top style of stage magic may be, it's still tremendously entertaining.

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