Review: The Two Character Play, Hampstead Theatre - siblings make for an odd couple in a mixed play
Review: After Life, National Theatre - a bittersweet, warm, fuzzy glow of a play

Review: Wonderville Magic & Illusion, Palace Theatre - fun and entertainment (for all the family)

Wonderville Magic & Illusion is, as its title suggests, an evening of (family-friendly) magic and illusion but with the occasional bit of variety thrown in - think roller-skating hula hooping. 

Wonderville 1 Multi-award-winning mind reader and TV star Chris Cox Photo by Pamela Raith
Wonderville: Multi-award-winning mind reader and TV star Chris Cox. Photo by Pamela Raith

And while much of it is a variation of stuff you'll have seen before, you can't help but be awed by a lot of what you are apparently witnessing.

Mindreader Chris Cox both performs and comperes, marshalling the mixture of acts who take it in turns to do short stints.

While some acts lend themselves to quick switches, the different pace of some performances makes the transitions a little clunky at times. But it does mean that you never linger on any one act for too long. 

Edward Hilsum does traditional sleight of hand tricks. Occasionally you can see how he does it, but then he'll immediately wow you with the seemingly impossible. There is a particularly cute moment with a young volunteer from the audience.

Wonderville 3 Josephine Lee and her half sister Photo Pamela Raith
Wonderville: Josephine Lee and her half-sister. Photo Pamela Raith

Kat Hudson, from Britain's Got Talent, does a pretty impressive piece of magic with a mobile phone, and there is a trick the whole audience can be part of, too, which was equally impressive.

Symoné is a Guinness World Record-holding hula hooper who wears roller skates just to make it even more difficult. Given that she struggles to lift the pile of hoops she finally hula's, it does give you a sense of the difficulty in getting and keeping them all spinning.

Young & Strange are the people in boxes magicians - disappearances, reappearances, cut in half that sort of thing. What they build up to barely gives you a chance to catch your breath, let alone say 'wow' as they do 'just one more trick' after 'just one more'.

Wonderville 6 Young and Strange saw their assistant in half Photo Pamela Raith
Wonderville: Young and Strange saw their assistant in half. Photo Pamela Raith

There are more acts - too many to mention, but it is Chris Cox who just about holds everything together, with a lot of silliness and humour - stuff the kids will love as well as lines that land with the grown-ups. And that isn't forgetting his mindreading act which is hugely entertaining.

The more goofish, self-deprecating style is a nice antidote to the fixed smiles, glittery-shoed dancers and assistants who walk and stand in that affected way which grates on me a little. But that's me, and it's a minor grumble.

Wonderville Magic & Illusion is fast-paced, fun and funny, and I did feel a little bit giddy with the joy of being swept along by it.

It's a great family show for the summer, although I'd probably trim some of it to get the running time down as it makes for a late night for little ones - it was nearly 10 before we got out of the theatre. I'm giving it ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.

It is nearly 2 and half hours long, including an interval and is at the Palace Theatre until 31 August.  The official website is

If you've seen it, I'd love to know what you thought.