‘America’s Got Talent’ Winner Shin Lim Conjures Magic For Broadway’s ‘The Illusionists’: Review

Kid-friendly, The Illusionists can seem a bit hokey at times – there's certainly none of the intellectual musings of a Derek DelGaudio show or meta post-modernism of Penn & Teller – and some of the tricks, though never less than well performed, aren't exactly new. A motorcycle appears out of nowhere for Darcy Oake, like those tigers did for Siegfried and Roy.
The Illusionists – Magic Of The Holidays (be warned – there's little actual holiday content) is directed and choreographed by Neil Dorward and presented by Simon Painter, Tim Lawson, MagicSpace Entertainment and Kilburn Live.” />
Magic is back on Broadway for the fourth holiday season, as the Vegas-style revue The Illusionists – Magic Of The Holidays returns for its annual razzle dazzle. Joining the five-magician touring show this time around is America's Got Talent 2018 winner Shin Lim, whose close-up style remains a thing of elegant beauty whether or not you've already seen it on TV.
Each performer has a specialty of sorts, and all are very good at what they do. The overall approach will be familiar to anyone who watches programs of the Got Talent ilk – fast moving, flashy visuals, loud music. Only thing missing is Howie Mandel – at least in person: Clips from the show occasionally pop up on large video screens.
Trent, who stars in his own Netflix series The Road Trick, is billed as "The Futurist," a title that has nothing to do with predictions and everything to do with his very clever use of video projections: He seems to move in and out of the footage as if bringing the images to life. The limited engagement – playing at Broadway’s Marquis Theatre through Sunday, December 30 – is a new installment of the production, with returnee Adam Trent both performing and serving as emcee.
Crawford does a neat string-through-her-neck thing, but the overall gist has a been-there-seen-that feel. Only "The Sorceress" Chloe Crawford (Britain's Got Talent) falls a bit short, her razor-blade-eating bit familiar in various forms (needles, usually) and other performers (Teller, Houdini and Chris Angel, for starters).
Dance group Light Balance – outfitted in neon-like LED suits – make for an entertaining palate cleanser, though one performance would have been fine, as the second adds little to the surprise.
Colin Cloud, "The Deductionist," pulls off the mind-reading stunners – names of audience members, birth dates, what celebrity someone is thinking of – with a comic panache (he calls his feats psychological, "not psychic," although his description might well be a plausible diversion. Oake, buff, tattooed and shaven-scalped, is billed as "The Grand Illusionist," specializing in the big Vegas approach to magic, with escapes as impressive as they are splashy. For what is anybody's guess).
Even Shin Lim's close-up card tricks play well. Perhaps the production's greatest trick is that it never feels like a rip-off or a TV show padded out for Broadway prices.