This entertaining and well choreographed show has plenty to offer everyone of all ages.
There is nowhere in London that is so appropriate for a show celebrating magic and illusion than the Palace Theatre, the normal home to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. It is clear that the magic can certainly be continued in the absence of that show with Wonderville, a show featuring an impressive line up of acts all of whom whose joy in what they do is clear.
For me, what makes shows such as Wonderville so fascinating to watch is the way in which each act add their own personality and style to their performance. It is as much about the build up as it is the magic or illusion that they are performing and with this cast, each performer certainly do a wonderful job of keeping the audience engaged.
Directed by Annabel Mutale Reed, the show is filled with mind boggling tricks that will genuinely amaze no matter what your age. Whether it is Chris Cox’s amazing mind reading skills used to great effect on audience members young and old (although I found the mind reading act he did on a young girl particularly impressive) or the way in which Josephine Lee managed to escape a variety of different contraptions – it is a well rounded show.
With every act that appears on Justin Williams’ authentic set design that evokes the feel of an old music hall, it feels as though we are also taken on a journey through the history of magic and illusion acts. This is particularly reflected through Edward Hilsum’s wonderfully traditional opening act that is wonderfully choreographed in time with the music (although I did wonder just how many birds he was going to keep making appear!). Hilsum has a soothing and calm approach to his act that is mesmerising to watch unfold, while the way in which he later on engages with a young budding magician is equally charming.
Elsewhere, the way in which Josephine Lee’s act makes references to witch hunts means the show does take a slightly darker tone but it is an equally empowering performance, while Young & Strange’s acts highlight the bigger spectacle of illusions that you can see in places such as Las Vegas. It is a show that feels as though it covers the full spectrum of magic and illusion.
The whole show is presented with great energy and enthusiasm by Chris Cox who really gets the audience thoroughly excited to see what is going to happen next, always keeping the audience guessing. But it does have to be said that towards the end of the show, some of the energy seems to disappear and leaves the ending feel a little flat – despite the impressiveness of the final performance.
This being said, the more you watch and try and figure out how each trick is performed the more drawn into this magical world you are. It is a fun and entertaining way that budding young magicians will enjoy from start to finish.
By Emma Clarendon