It’s the Summer Holiday season and the magic spectacular IMPOSSIBLE has returned to it’s West End home at the Noel Coward Theatre. This reboot finally welcomes two female performers – ‘cutting edge conjuror’ Sabine van Diemen and ‘grand illusionist’ Josephine Lee, after being rightly criticised last year for its, as Fiona Mountford calls it in the Evening Standard, “bombastic all-male line-up … It’s pleasing to report that the new team boasts two women headline performers alongside the usual glamorous female assistants,” or as the Telegraph’s Claire Allfree states, “…the testosterone overloaded show that unbalanced it last year.” She among other critics made the point that in the previous production the purpose of anyone on stage with an extra X chromosome was either to be cut in two, made to disappear or have arrows fired at her head from a crossbow.
To be fair, Britain’s leading female magician Katherine Mills was included in last year’s line-up, but had to pull out for ‘unforeseen personal reasons’. But magic is predominately a male domain with only 100 of the UK’s 1,500 Magic Circle members are women. That imbalance has been addressed with Sabine and Josephine, both ex-assistants of the famed Vegas act Hans Klok.
Sabine gets her own back on the magic patriarchy by bisecting a man in a box and Josephine strikes one for the sisterhood with two escapologist acts-one involving a padlocked water tank. The other five IMPOSSIBLE acts include this years’s Britain’s Got Talent winner the Household Cavalry’s Lance Corporal Richard Jones, hip-hop street magician Magic Bones who backflips while doing card tricks, escapologist and self-proclaimed ‘daredevil’ Jonathan Goodwin who sets his own crotch on fire, the charismatic mind-reader Chris Cox and the ‘boundary -breaking’ Ben Hart , both from BBC’s ‘Killer Magic’.
Sabine and Josephine appeared at the stage door after last Saturday’s matinee performance and signed their respective portrait sketches for me. Magic!