With the current global conditions, many sources of entertainment have taken their offerings online, and magic is no different. On a Saturday night (Sunday morning for those in Australia!) I attended my very first International magic show held on Zoom. This show, called ‘Interactive Impossibilities’, featured three entertainers: illusionist Leon Etienne, magician Jimmy Ichihana and mentalist Bryan Miles. Each entertainer was beaming in from different areas of the world which added extra excitement – Leon was in NY, Jimmy in FL, and Bryan beamed in all the way from South Africa! Most of the performers had appearances on TV shows like “AGT” and “Penn & Teller: Fool Us” so I was confident that the audience was in store for an entertaining show.
The magic started as soon as the audience was let into the zoom ‘room’ with a cool countdown effect featuring playing cards. This created some excitement for the show to start. Leon Etienne (with hair that seemed to defy gravity!) opened the show with clever magic featuring items from around the house (tape and paper). I don’t wish to spoil too much of the specifics of each performance, however broadly – Jimmy Ichihana showed some incredible card magic (some of which the audience could follow along with in real time which was fantastic); and Bryan Miles is definitely a master of mind manipulation / mind control – a master mentalist. If you ever thought that mind reading couldn’t be done en masse via zoom then think again! Bryan’s segment was by far the most interactive with audience members, which also made it the most memorable. I felt that Bryan was playing some fun games with the audience at times – at one point, a ‘Pictionary’ type game appeared which I thoroughly enjoyed.
Throughout the show, there were numerous chances for members of the audience to help out and I enjoyed this aspect – I not only felt like I was meeting other magic fans from all around the world but we all had the chance to share in the magic together via zoom reactions / facial reactions and the chat window. The performers all regularly visited the chat window to see reactions and responses from audience members which was nice. Additionally I had the most wonderful chance to help out as a member from the audience, made more incredible by Jimmy Ichihana’s mind blowing card magic. Jimmy’s card effect made me say ‘NO WAY!’ in front of an international audience – it was that hard to believe! Quite a feat in itself that impactful card magic can be done via a screen half a world away – you really do need to see it to believe it!
Overall, ‘Interactive Impossibilities’ was well presented and organised. The usual issues that often plague zoom meetings (like sound issues / bandwidth dropouts / time lags etc) were not present during this show. The entire show appeared to be live (vs shows that combine live and pre-recorded content). There are benefits to each online format (fully live versus a combo of live and pre-recorded) however I felt that being fully live enhanced the ‘exclusive’ nature of the show – and I like that. Attendance was capped to 30 people and this enhanced the exclusive aspect of ‘Interactive Impossibilities’. It was closer to the original experience of watching a show in real time, as opposed to watching pre recorded content (which feels no different to watching a video / streaming service online). Post show, my desk looked like I had been to a magic show – there were cards scattered across my desk and predictions made. Amazing that an experience that closely resembles a magic show in real life can be replicated online.
I’m not sure if this online magic experience will be repeated, but I highly recommend that you keep a look out for ‘Interactive Impossibilities’ and attend if you have the chance. It’s a fun hour of magic that will leave you impressed and intrigued.