29 December 2023

Random thoughts about "Champions of Magic" 2023

Catch Champions of Magic in Toronto, until December 31st.  Tickets at Ticketmaster.  

  Additional Canadian dates:  
Check the Champions of Magic website for updates.


Yesterday afternoon, KOP and I made the trek to Toronto's Meridian Hall.  

  • The last time we were at Meridian Hall it was called the Sony Centre and it was to see Darcy Oake's show "Edge of Reality" in 2015.  (Although we're still likely to refer to it as the O'Keefe Centre or possibly even the Hummingbird Centre.)
  • All of the theatre staff were super helpful, professional, and generally fabulous! 
  • While not mandatory, a good number of the patrons and ushers were masked.
  • The show is about an hour for the first half, with a 16 minute intermission, and about an hour in the second half.
  • As always with this show I am genuinely afraid of posting spoilers.  The less you know going in, the more you'll enjoy it.



On with the show...

Note to parents of young children:  The music can be very loud at times throughout the show.  There's also a smoke machine involved.  Forewarned is forearmed.

There's a videographer on hand to capture close-up miracles and project them nice and big on a screen so everyone can see!

(In yesterday's show, there were three screens in play.  One on the main stage and one each to the left and right of the stage.)



Regular readers of the blog have probably guessed that this would be our summary of the show:

So. Much. Fun!

  • The audience arrived ready for a fun time.  There were plenty of children in the audience and some families came in from as far as Bomanville to catch the show!  They were rooting for the performers from the get-go and the cast had the crowd eating out of their hands by the end of the show!
  • It felt like there was an exponential increase in production values for this run, in comparison to the shows we've seen previously.  There were more lights, the lights did fancier things, and there were additions to the sound track that really enhanced the visuals.  (And for those in the know, yes, the fun extra bits are still there too.)

  • There was a unexpected change in cast.  We were crushed when we learned that Alex McAleer was unable to do the show.  We were really looking forward to getting another look at his beautifully constructed homage to Keller that we first saw in Kitchener last year
  • Stepping in for McAleer was Kent Axell.  This was our first time seeing Axell and we were very impressed!

  • Hollie England, Kent Axell, Fernando Velasco, Richard Young and Sam Strange all do what they do very well! 

If memory serves, there are no standard card tricks in the show!
  • This show is very different from the one presented in Oshawa in 2019, and significantly different than the one mounted in Toronto in 2018.  Much of the content is similar to the 2022 show we saw in Kitchener, with the added bonus that with every passing year, the cast are more authentic and the show feels more organic.  Which translates to a demonstrable increase in entertainment value!
  • There are several whole cast moments, which make the show less of a patchwork piece and more of a thoughtfully woven production.

  • There's LOTS audience participation with both children and adults!  By our count, 16 volunteers were involved.

  • The show is absolutely visually stunning!

Whether you're new to magic or are a professional magician, there's something for everyone!

  • Axell demonstrated some baffling mentalism and his 9 year old volunteer James was an absolute star!

  • England showcased a strong skill set and talent that is intensely theatrical!  She really brought the heat (through fire!) in her set and I'll never look at a cup of tea the same way again.
  • For those who have seen the show already, not to worry!  The cornerstone crowd-pleasers are still in the show, tweaked and refined!

  • Aerialist Michelle Mazzarella amazed and dazzled from above.

  • Velasco succeeded in breathtaking, heart-stopping escapes and then some.  Even though I've seen him do many of these things before, everything he does makes me nervous!

  • Young and Strange have carefully pruned their wonderful grand illusions and introduced some new things in their place.  Even after having seen them perform a similar set thrice before, Young and Strange are remarkably entertaining to watch.  One can't help but get caught up in the fun they are having on stage!  Their collaborative piece with Velasco  has a very strong audience reaction.  As a bonus, they were able to stage a couple of effects we'd read about on social media but had never seen them perform live.  It was well worth the wait to see it live on stage!

While excellent magic is at the core of this experience, it's clear that the focus is providing a fabulously entertaining evening.

They definitely hit their mark!

  • This was the fourth time seeing the show in the last 5 years and we were thoroughly entertained!  There are so many moments of joyous laughter, and periods of being completely enthralled in the spectacle.

  • It is clear that the acts and the scripts are a work in progress and continue to be thoughtfully curated, updated, and revised.  It gets better every time!
We highly recommend it!
(Even if you've seen it before.)




Disclosure:  KOP and I were guests at this show. The opinions expressed above are entirely my own. I did not receive compensation for the writing or the publishing of this article.

With thanks to
Starvox Entertainment for the tickets.



  Champions of Magic  

Champions of Magic is touring across Canada in 2023 - 2024:

Check the Champions of Magic website for updates.


Read our 2023 interviews with:

Learn more about Champions of Magic at ChampionsOfMagic.co.uk and follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

Champions of Magic Worldwide Wonders Tour


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