Wonderville at Palace Theatre
Bringing magic and illusion to the heart of the West End, Wonderville encapsulates historical theatrics by showcasing the evolving traditions of variety entertainment. This family-friendly production at Palace Theatre has been crafted under the watchful gaze of seasoned director Annabel Mutale Reed, with the pastiche vaudevillian set designed by creative genius Justin Williams.
Five big-name acts take to the stage, with multi-award-winning mind reader and TV star Chris Cox acting as the host as well as one of the rotating performers of the show. His geeky banter is endearing but it’s his unique skills that draw gasps from the audience as he randomly interacts “telepathically” with individuals on and off the stage.
First up is standout act, Edward Hilsum. Clearly having earned his numerous magician accolades over the years, he entrances the audience with mind-blowing illusions that hark back to a bygone era of magic: card tricks, doves and ribbons of knotted silk scarves. Softly spoken and elegant, the enchanter’s delivery is impeccable and authentically breathtaking.
Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalist Josephine Lee is also part of this cast. Her glamorous demeanour is upstaged by her fierce use of chains and optical illusion boxes, giving a contemporary makeover to these traditional tricks. On a similar vein are the comical duo Young & Strange, who reference the infamous Penn and Teller with their take on a “saw in half” act, as well as paying homage to Las Vegas magic act Siegfried and Roy by incorporating Cox as a dressed-up “ferocious” white tiger.
Along with the magical illusions from this cast, there is Guinness World Record holder Symone, who dazzles with roller skates and hula hoops to create a kind of psychedelic display. In addition, there is a guest appearance from Emily England who showcases her newly learnt magic skills alongside her ethereal acrobatics.
The spectacle pulsates with dramatic beats, an array of 80s classics and stage pyrotechnics, making Wonderville a fun family production and leaving us with a sense that both the audience and the performers are grateful to be back at the theatre after a lockdown enforced pause.
Photo: Pamela Raith
Wonderville is at Palace Theatre from 21st July until 30th August 2021. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.