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“THE ILLUSIONISTS”
Accomplish the Impossible

By Iride Aparicio


Photos by Joan Marcus

L-r Aaron Crow, “ the warrior,” Kevin James, “The Inventor,” Jeff Hobson (The Trickster) Dan Sperry (The Anti-conjuror) Andrew Basso, (The Scapologist) Adam Trent (The Futurist) and Yu-Ho-Jin (The Manipulator
L-r Aaron Crow, “ the warrior,” Kevin James, “The Inventor,” Jeff Hobson (The Trickster) Dan Sperry (The Anti-conjuror) Andrew Basso, (The Escapologist) Adam Trent (The Futurist) and Yu-Ho-Jin (The Manipulator)

SAN JOSÉ, CA.  “THE ILLUSIONISTS, Witness the Impossible,” the  Broadway San José, a Nederlander Presentation show that is being presented at  the Center for  the Performing Arts in the city, is a unique spectacle in all respects.  The only proper adjective to describe it, is “Magical” It displays the wizardry of seven world’s masters in  the Art of Magic who  describe themselves as:  “warrior,” “inventor,” “Trickster,”  “Anti-Conjuror,” “Scapologist,” “Futurist,” and “Manipulator.” During the show, each one of them performs such unbelievable tasks in their acts, that it  makes the audience believe in magic.

The show was opened by “Futurist” ADAM TRENT, on opening night. TRENT is one of the most dynamic, multi-talent artists working today. He is also a comedian, a dancer a magician and a television star. On that night, after greeting San José, he asked a woman in the audience what was important to her, and when she said “love” he asked her to associate “love” with a date. She selected l988. At the end of this act, he gave the woman a little box, with a  Chinese fortune cookie inside, and when she opened the fortune cookie, written on its “fortune slip” were the words:  Love, l988.” His best act of the night,  however, and it most visual, was a Hi-Tech act using tall rectangular framed screens standing in the back of the stage. He starts this act by creating moving pictures each time that he slaps the different screens. At the end of his act, walking on the stage, from one screen to the other, he  “enters” the other screen on its side, and when he does, the audience sees him walking inside the screen as a projection.  When he leaves that screen, he continues walking on the stage as a person walking to the next screen, where, again, he becomes projection.

DAN SPERRY, the “Anti-Conjuror”  is able to create birds (pigeons) from thin air at an unbelievable speed.  One sees nothing in his hand, and a second later, he opens his hand and there is an orange pigeon. He does this several times. He even  sends the pigeons to fly over the audience, and cages them when they return to the stage. After he puts the pigeons on a cage, he converts them into a white cockatoo that he sends flying over the audience heads. In the ghastly side of his act, he swallows a while thread, and pulls it out, from the insiwde of his right eye.   

DAN SPERRY, the “Anti-Conjuror” 

JEFF HOBSON’s (the Trickster) who calls the womem "pretty" and the men "ugly," makes the audience laugh with his many “tricks” with cards, which include tossing his play cards from the stage to the balcony (on the second floor of the theatre) and tossing a hammer to the audience making them scream with fear. (It was made out of rubber, but we thought it was real)   His most amazing “trick” on that night  was his final, when he took a square piece of tissue paper the size of a paper napkin, folded, it twice, and by removing pieces of paper from it, shaped it into a paper snow flake. After that, wrapping the paper snow flake into his hand, he tossed into the air as snow flakes started spouting from his hand, going up, up, up, into the stage before converting into a snow storm, and start falling over those sitting on the front rows.

AARON CROW “The Warrior” from Belgium, performs his act in complete silence. He doesn’t say a word as he uses his weapons: a machine gun, and a bow who expels a thin ray of green laser light instead of arrows. CROW fuses mentalism, and illusionism to execute his dangerous stunts. On that night, he used a man and a woman from the audience. With both man and women sitted on chairs on the stage, he removed the woman’s wedding ring and placed it inside a whole in the center of a green apple, cutting the apple in two. Later on into his act, he uses the green color laser beam of light to carry the woman's ring back into her hand.

One of the most puzzling acts on that night was performed by KEVIN JAMES “The inventor,” considered one of the most ground-breaking and innovative illusionist of the time. His act was so unreal, that even to describe it in writing, sounds fantastic.  He took a head made out of plastic with a hat on,  the trunk of a person, wrapped in a white cloth, and  both his legs and lay them on a table. He then put  all the pieces on a box and when he opened the box a midget man (formed with the three pieces put together) came out of the box and walked on the stage. As if that was not shocking enough, he presented the torso of an Afro-American man, his face covered by a medical mask, over a metal table. Both his legs, stretched vertically behind him (see picture below). JAMES asked a woman, from the audience, to come to the stage and touch a man’s hands. When she did, the man grabbed her hand making the woman scream. At the end of the act, JAMES put this man together. Unbelievable!

KEVIN JAMES, center shows a man who had been cut, on top of a table
KEVIN JAMES, center shows a man who had been cut, on top of a table

YU HO-JIN may be described not as “The manipulator,” but as “The Master Manipulator.”  What he does with a deck or playing cards and at the speed he does it, is unbelievable. His cards appear on his hands out of nowhere. Cards start flowing from his fingers. They change to different colors or turn white. in a second. He uses his decks of cards to make fans. According to his bio, he has the ability to turn anybody into a royal fan. including children, their parents and  his own colleagues. JO-JIN was named “Magician of the Year,” in 2014, by the Academy of Magical Arts (AMA). He was already so good a manipulator at at age 19, that he took the first prize in the manipulation category. He is also the  “Grand Prix Winner in Stage Magic” at Federation Internationale des Societies Magiques (FISM) a competition considered the Olympic games for magicians.

Yet, perhaps the act that got the most reaction from the audience was the one presented by Italy’s star Scape Artist ANDRE BASSO, who calls himself “the Scapologist"

ANDRE BASSO inside the water tank where is summerged in padlocks
  ANDRE BASSO inside the water tank where is submerged in padlocks

BASSO, whose hero is  the late HARRY HOUDINI ( l874-1926) another escapist, is becoming himself one of the World’s famous Illusionists. Yet in spite of being a top illusionist, BASSO  does not use illusionism in his act. His act is real. When he is placed inside a cold-water tank, with both his hands handcuffed and his feet attached by locks, to the tanks top, he frees himself  by using a pin. As he tries to free himself, because he is in water, he is holding his breath. So, every minute he spends submerged upside down in water, trying to unlock his hands from their handcuffs and then his feet, he is not breathing, which means he is actually risking his life. That is the reason why on that night, staring at the tank, the audience was gasping, and completely silent as a tall, lighted time clock on the stage  marked the seconds. We all knew that for BASSO every second counted. A person can only stop breathing for four seconds before losing consciousness. On that night, BASSO beat the time. He came out of the tank wet and looking exhausted and stood on the stage to greet the audience. The ovation he received, was tremendous .

For those who love magic, this is a show to see. This show convinces us that with magic, even the impossible, becomes possible.

The ILLUSIONISTS will play at the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts until Sunday June 14. for tickets call 1-800-295-5354.