As soon as you mention that a show is full of magic and trompe d’oeil people starting either nodding off or rolling their eyes. Everyone assumes a rather “been there, done that” kind of attitude. Well, Rêveurs définitifs (which is being presented as part of Just for Laughs) is a magic show, but a rather magically example of magic. It will expand what you think is possible, show how technology can add another dimension to magic rather than detract from it and that the hand is truly faster than the eye.
This show was born in Paris, France in the mind of Raphael Navarro and put on by the production company 14:20. He then found performers who were masters in illusion and diversion. As a result you get a show that involves apparition, levitation and other types of transformation. What you end up with is the birth of New Magic. As the show became more and more popular there were requests for it to travel. Now it is and has been reworked with a Quebec team behind it. Quebec musician/composer Patrick Watson was even approached and accepted to redo all the music. He is there at each show performing it along with pianist Isabelle Matheu.
Classic magic is meshed and folded into modernity and out comes something completely different. Even traditional acts have had some new life breathed into them. Illusion and head scratching moments of “how is that possible?” rule the 90 minute fast-paced show. For instance, incredible dancer Ingrid Estarque, in her three performances – Suspension consentie, Amendement a la question de la pesanteur and Imago, even succeeded on blowing my mind with her body control and the fact that she was doing things that obviously needed wires, but her movements could not have been done if she had wires attached to any part of her body. Still cannot figure out how it was done. No matter how it is done, it is to be seen.
Like the title suggests most of the acts (there were nine in the show I saw) were obviously the product of human imagination or dreamers. It seems like whatever these artists’ minds dreamt up their bodies and talent put into action. Many were helped by technology that would not have been available to the early doers of magic. First act was your typical birds appearing out of kerchiefs. Mixed with moments of humour (though I have to say that even pretend animal abuse is never funny to me) it all goes along rather typically. That is until the part of Foin de lapin where you think he is just going to pull a rabbit out of his top hat only to be confronted with something that can only be described as a furry Slinky. What this thing was able to do in regards to its movements and reactions was amazing.
I even really appreciated that there was no break in the show. No entracte. Actually, there was a section of the show called Entracte featuring Yann Frisch and Eric Antoine along with a couple of decks of cards that was served as the break, but ended up being the funniest part. In the minds of these innovators simple card tricks that we have all seen a million times before (like picking out your card from the deck) became revelations. Plus demonstrated how these two gentlemen are, besides their talent at magic, adept at improv as they had some funny interactions with audience members.
For me Yann Frisch was the star of the show. He did things with two metal cups and some red/green balls that defied logic. Definitely has some of the fastest hands I have ever seen. I have rarely been so mesmerized in my life while he hilariously seemed to be losing his mind right in front of our eyes. He held my attention without uttering a single word.
Watching Reveurs definitifs really will expand what you think is possible. It takes acts that you have seen before like birds out of kerchiefs and card tricks and brings them up to a whole new level. Unique on many levels. Doubters beware as you will come out of this show a convert to magic and its seemingly limitless possibilities.
Rêveurs définitifs continues at Theatre St. Denis until July 22nd with tickets available at www.hahaha.com
Photos by Laurence Labat