The Champions of Magic, a group of five world-class illusionists based in the UK, are looking to throw a particularly memorable night out on the town when they perform at the Kauffman Center in Kansas City on October 31.
While this day is of course Halloween, the most relevant emphasis on this particular date is that it will also mark the 95th anniversary of the death of legendary escape artist Harry Houdini.
In honor of this milestone, the touring group’s resident escape artist Fernando Velasco will seek to recreate Houdini’s most famous escape from the infamous water torture cell as the show’s finale. .
“Fernando walks in by the ankles, head first into a water tank, then he’s locked with four padlocks. It’s a very dramatic moment in the show. The moment it’s suspended over the water and it’s about to enter, you can hear a fly flying in the theater, usually at that time, ”says Richard Young, the group illusionist.
The last time Young and his team, now in their eighth year of touring internationally, visited the Kansas City area was in 2017 on the inaugural tour of the United States when the band came. in Emporia, KS. Since then, the pandemic has made all sort of comeback ahead of this season. Current plans are for the show’s final iteration to run over four years.
Young and his partner, Sam Strange, who started their careers as rival magicians in Oxford, England, form the duo of great illusionists of the group. Their act includes a flair of postmodern consciousness that one might not expect from the medium.
“We do big-scale magic, but I like to think of ourselves as the only act of illusion in the world with some awareness of how stupid the idea of large-area illusions in 2021 is. put a comedic twist on it and have fun with it, ”Young says.
The duo will pay homage to the country illusionist acts of the 1980s, with “the silliness of silly costumes and dramatic poses” and living animals like elephants and tigers.
“Our act is largely a parody of those illusionists from the past, we do kind of a tongue-in-cheek approach, but at the same time, I can promise that the magic itself is spectacular,” Young says.
Anyone in Emporia for the latest Champions of Magic tour can expect to see a list of tricks and achievements that are completely different from the current lineup. The crew also includes Kayla Drescher, named ‘The Next Great Magician’ by David Copperfield on Today’s show, and cold reader Alex McAleer.
“Unlike a musical or a production show, as you might see on Broadway, magic shows are very much altered by osmosis. So they have more in common with a comedy show in the way [they will] write new jokes all the time and filter the older ones and put the newer ones, ”Young says.
Young is eager to perform in front of American audiences due to the “high standards” they have become accustomed to as the home country of GOAT magician David Copperfield.
While Copperfield’s work is still very popular in the YouTube age, Young adds that you don’t have to be a super fan of magic to appreciate what Champions of Magic bring to the table.
“It’s a great, spectacular magic show with acts from all over the world that is suitable for everyone. You know whether you’re a night out couple or have young kids, the wonderful thing about magic is that anyone can enjoy it, ”Young says.
Tickets for the show can be purchased here.