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  • Writer's pictureAlex First

Circus of Illusion (touring) - 1 hour 50 minutes, including a 20-minute interval

The magic is top shelf. 


So too the – at times frightening – rola bola routine (that is where an artist balances precariously on objects that move). 

There is also an impressive hula hoop act. 


The rest I could have done without.


As good as it is, Circus of Illusion feels like an unnecessarily stretched out magic show.


As mentioned, there is no questioning the value of the truly remarkable illusions, often involving substantive apparatus.

Time and again, I was left asking “how did Michael Boyd do that?”


Every “trick” is slick and seamless, although we don’t see enough of Boyd in the first act. Let’s face it, he is the star.


Much of the time, we are left in the hands of the jokester MC, rock ‘n roller and occasional juggler Idris Stanton.


Don’t get me wrong, he tries very hard to engage and entertain, but minute after minute ticks by and he’s still at it.


I found myself wanting to yell out “let’s just get on with the acts we really came to see”.

Idris revving up the audience and laughing at his own jokes became tiresome.


Michael Boyd, too, could readily have truncated his showmanship involving child volunteers under the age of 10 (one sequence in each act).


As a total show then, less showmanship and searching for applause, and more substance please.


Nor did I feel that Boyd’s appealing assistants’ dance routines were necessary or the pole dancing interlude in Act II.


Mind you, the second act, during which we saw much more of Boyd, was better paced than the first.

To conclude, Circus of Illusion struggles to maintain involvement for its two 45-minute halves, excluding a 20-minute interval.


My solution, either cut it back to run straight through (no break), without the additional time-wasting palaver, or find more awe-inspiring acts.


Circus of Illusion next plays at the Geelong Arts Centre at 2pm and 6:30pm on 11th January.


It then moves to Canberra Theatre Centre at 6:30pm on 13th January and 2pm on 14th January, 2024.


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