The Art of Illusion photo on Stagedoor

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The UK premiere of Alexis Michalik’s acclaimed play won three Molière Awards when it premiered in Paris in 2014 where it is still playing

The Art of Illusion photo on Stagedoor
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Date & Time

Show ended

Sat 17 Dec 2022 - Sat 28 Jan 2023, 2.45pm & 7.45pm Captioned: Wed 25 Jan, 7.45pm & Thu 26 Jan, 2.45pm

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Alas poor Hampstead. First it lost its Arts Council funding and now it appears to have carelessly lost its artistic director – the estimable Roxana Silbert – following the board’s hasty decision to swerve the theatre away from its new writing remit and what makes it both distinctive and necessary as part of the wider ecology... A shame, and I fear a mistake. Under Silbert, its downstairs programme has been a wonderful thing – mostly recently boasting a hit with Joe White’s greatly admired Blackout Songs. Silbert directed Edmond, a play by Anglo-French wunderkind Alexis Michalik while she was at Birmingham Rep, and now Hampstead gets the UK premiere of Michalik’s Moliere-winning Parisian hit inspired by the father of modern magic, Jean-Eugene Robert-Houdin. There will be enchantments and conjuring tricks. Prepare to be mesmerised.

About The Art of Illusion

“It’s a matter of perception. The hands of time turn at the same speed for everyone. Yet a child waits what seems to be an eternity for summer, whilst an old man watches a year pass in the blinking of an eye” In 1984, as the France vs Yugoslavia match unfolds on TV, a man meets a woman in a Parisian café. He is returning a bag that she lost on the Paris Métro, but he doesn’t reveal he stole it... Instead, he tells her the story of Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin, watchmaker, inventor, and master magician of the 19th century. Together they set out to find a vanished theatre beneath a bank vault in the Boulevard des Italiens, to break into a museum in the Trocadero, to uncover the mystery of the Mechanical Turk, to witness the birth of the kinetograph... and to delve ever deeper into the art of illusion.