Review: After 2015’s Summer Run, Impossible Makes A Return To The West End

Posted on 22 July 2016

Daring with enough cheese thrown in to make it a fun night Impossible returns to the West End with a variety of new magicians and daredevils. It is a variety of magic show rather than a magic or variety show but it takes a long while to build.

A stunt involving Sabine Van Diemen (one of two females along with Josephine Lee after criticisms of how masculine the show was in 2015) doesn’t initially seem to get the audience excited and it relies heavily on audience participation (or if you were my partner and me fear of being dragged up on stage and set on fire) to get going.

Jonathan Goodwin is the star, a daredevil he has a great Derren Brown style of voice that means you trust him implicitly not to severely injure himself or die during stunts such as putting out a fire on him as he hangs upside down in a straitjacket and not shooting his wife, Katy, in the head but his charm cannot save Lee’s water tank act that lacks in suspense and its finale, which leaves much of the audience confused as they rely on video screens for the outcome.

The simplest tricks work the best Magical Bones’ street magic (and street charm) are fantastic, there is a straightforward trick in the second half, which really gets the audience excited and I hope he has a TV future ahead of him. I also enjoyed Ben Hart, who though not as charming as some of his colleagues delivered both simple and extraordinary tricks with such skill that it is impossible (pun intended) not to be impressed by him. The overall finale by Van Diemen also feels out of place but it is hard not to come out with a smile on your face and ton of questions. As an introduction to magic shows it is perfect but if you are an old hand at magic it may seem all too familiar, but still a good night out regardless.

If considering for friends or relatives who cannot speak much English (a magic show seems to attract tourists) this is quite wordy, once the tricks get going it is easy to understand what is happening but sections like Chris Cox’s mind reading and Lance Corporal Richard Jones’ section are quite talky, plus tricks that are quite slight and quick lose their power when watching from a big screen. There is also a lot of gentle voiceover and loud soft rock. It is a piece that you really need to be up close, if you don’t mind ending up a volunteer!

Shanine Salmon

By Shanine Salmon

Shanine Salmon was a latecomer to theatre after being seduced by the National Theatre's £5 entry pass tickets and a slight obsession with Alex Jennings. She is sadly no longer eligible for 16-25 theatre tickets but she continues to abuse under 30 offers. There was a market for bringing awareness that London theatre was affordable in an era of £100+ West End tickets – Shanine’s blog, View from the Cheap Seat, launched in April 2016, focuses on productions and theatres that have tickets available for £20 and under. She is also quite opinionated and has views on diversity, pricing, theatre seats and nudity on stage. Her interests include Rocky Horror, gaming, theatre (of course) and she also has her own Etsy shop. Shanine tweets at @Braintree_.