Filled with surprises and twists at every turn, whatever expectations you have of Unbelievable are guaranteed to be subverted.

Unbelievable is a co-production of The Mercury Theatre Colchester – where the show opened before its journey to Criterion Theatre. The show is also co-produced by Derren Brown, Andrew O’Connor, Michael Vine, Paul Sandler and Kenny Wax for Unbelievable Productions. Comprised of a cast of seven (Laura Andresen Guimarães, Izalni Batista Nascimento Junior, Alexander Bean, Samuel Creasey, Simon Lipkin, Yolanda Ovide and Hannah Price) – including the band of 4 (Guimarães, Nascimento, Bean and Price), this show is jam-packed full of laughs and delights.

I must be honest, I can be a bit of a sceptic when it comes to magic. I like to attempt to “solve” the illusions and spoil the fantasy for myself – but deep down I always hope that something can truly surprise me and take my breath away. This show delivered this tenfold; I was completely mystified.

Direction and writing by Derren Brown, Andy Nyoman and Andrew O’Connor was fantastic, utilising history and storytelling with Brown’s humour and charisma of his own shows. I adored the use of music throughout the show and thought it was an excellent way of transitioning between different tricks. One thing I’ve always disliked in magic shows is the dead air between set ups of each new trick, but with the help of an incredibly talented band, this issue is completely eradicated. 

I particularly loved the homage to magician’s assistants at the end of Act I, giving credit that the assistants were the ones actually performing the tricks and not their male counterparts. I’ve always disliked that women haven’t been given recognition as the illusionists they are, and I really appreciated this thoughtful detail.

There are certainly moments that are more impressive than others. Some of the initial tricks – whilst impressive, are not necessarily new or unusual in any way. But the narrative of the show, making you as the audience feel involved in the illusions, helps to make these moments feel less predictable and stagnant. The more traditional tricks also then allow for even more significant pay offs when the impressive (and I do mean enormously impressive) moments do occur.

I left the theatre feeling completely dumbfounded – unable to even string a sentence together of what I had just witnessed. This show has single-handedly changed my perspective on magic. It is truly a one-of-a-kind experience. More than anything, what really sets this show apart is the clear heart that fills it. From the cast to the script, it is clear that this production has been brought to life with people who have a passion for magic, being less focused on the “sparkle” of a perfect illusion and instead trying to build genuine human connection with the audience. 

I was won over by this show and I would argue that it is a must-see – especially for anyone who doesn’t believe in magic!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

{🎟 AD – PR invite – Tickets were gifted in exchange for an honest review}

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