Noël Coward Theatre St Martin’s Lane WC2N 4AU To 29 August 2015.
Mon-Sat 7.30pm Mat Tue & Sat 3pm.
Runs 2hr 30min One interval.
TICKETS: 0844 482 5141.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 31 July.
Showbiz razzmatazz does the trick.
This is the show that shows, if nothing else, Lewis Carroll’s White Queen had it easy in only believing six impossible things before breakfast. There’s over two hours of compacted impossibilities in Impossible. Only, once something’s been done it is clearly possible. The task for the inquisitive is to categorise how it’s done.
A mathematician might reveal the number patterns behind some tricks, where most minds are distracted by a performer’s patter and injections of humour. Sometimes it’s a matter of interpretation – suggesting one set of circumstances, insistently focusing on that, allowing another to be ignored. At times it’s the rapidity of the practised expert. And then there’s the trick equipment.
As a staple of variety, magic acts worked well by being part of a varied bill. Impossible keeps going by maintaining its speed, by the stage personalities of its performers and by creating contrasts of mood and moments of dramatic tension, usually involving close contact between sharp objects and human flesh.
Explanations scarcely matter; few people would be there if they didn’t want to be astonished. Mind-reader Chris Cox tells us he can’t read minds. We know that. But so long as he can appear to, we don’t mind.
There’s an intriguing mix of old and new. The laser flashes, pulsating, thumping sound-track and TV projections ensuring the whole house has a good view provide a modern sheen, as does the polite informality of costume.
Alongside this, the references back – mostly to pioneer of impossibilities Harry Houdini – and the all-male line-up supported by (young, tall, slim and glamorous) women who seem keenly compliant in their postures and smiles, give a contrasting period flavour. It’s welcome when audience members are brought on stage without the processed and packaged look.
How much Katherine Mills will counter the sex gap will be seen if she returns to the show (personal circumstances, not a vanishing trick gone wrong, keep her out at present). A pity too the opportunity wasn’t taken to choose a girl rather than boy for the child whose introduction to magic unnecessarily frames the evening. Surely that wouldn’t have been impossible.
Performed by Jamie Allan, Ali Cook, Chris Cox, Jonathan Goodwin, Ben Hart, Luis de Matos, (Katherine Mills), Damien O’Brien.
with Luke Cheesman, Jeannine Desmer, Katy Goodwin, Mitchell Jelley, Nathalie Lohrasby, Josephine Wormall, Joana Almeida, Andrew Deacon, Cameron Jones.
Directors: Anthony Glen, Lloyd Wood.
Designer: Andrew D Edwards.
Lighrting: Tim Lutkin.
Sound: Gareth Owen.
Music: Michael Bradley.
Video: Duncan McLean.
Costume: Sabrina Cumberto.