Opera House, Wellington

19/10/2017 - 21/10/2017

Regent On Broadway, Palmerston North

25/10/2017 - 25/10/2017

TSB Showplace, New Plymouth

27/10/2017 - 28/10/2017

ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre, Auckland

01/11/2017 - 04/11/2017

Production Details

Five of the world’s leading magicians come to New Zealand in October performing a show mixing the quirky, the skills and the strange in a world of the impossible.

Magicians heads to Auckland, New Plymouth, Palmerston North and Wellington from 19 October to 4 November.

Featuring two world champions of magic, the show has been created by young New Zealand producer and magician, Nopera Whitley. 

“There’s no rabbits pulled from hats, and no ladies sawn in half in this show, but what you will see are unbelievable magic acts with a theatrical twist performed by world leading magicians.” 

Heading the magical line-up and hosting the show is Scotland’s Colin Cloud (pictured). Colin is a well-known mind reader and has been called the closest thing to a real-life Sherlock Holmes. He recently appeared on America’s Got Talent with his performance gaining more than 80 million views online in just 15 days. 

“Within only a few seconds of meeting you, he’ll know what you’ve had for lunch, where you’ve been that day, what you do for a living and even your PIN code.” 

From Madrid, Spain, Hector Mancha took the magic world by storm in 2015 when he won the highest honour any magician can receive – the FISM World Grand Prix of Magic Award. He brings his award-winning act featuring card magic and manipulation live to New Zealand stages on this tour. 

Hailing from the USA, Shin Lim has‘fooled’ Penn and Teller, performed on Broadway and in 2015was awarded the ‘World Championship of Close-Up Card Magic’. With more than 47 million views on YouTube, Shin is one of magic’s hottest young stars and will blow your mind with his skill and dexterity. 

Fellow American Rob Zabrecky is two-timeHollywood Magic Castle ‘Stage Magician of the Year’ and creates a dryly abstracted, austere universe that pushes magic to its very edges exploring bizarre and contemplative human behaviour. 

World-renowned variety act Charlie Frye and Co. (USA) is often compared to classic comedians, Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton. Charlie plays the rubber-faced, put-upon magician, with Sherry as his bored assistant – together the pair perform an act melding silent comedy, magic, clowning, and juggling. 

Magicians is at

Opera House
Thursday 19 to Saturday 21 October 2017
Book tickets at Ticketek 0800 TICKETEK (842 538)

Regent on Broadway
Wednesday 25 October 2017
Book tickets at TicketDirect 0800 224 224

TSB Showplace
Friday 27 & Saturday 28 October 2017
Book tickets at Ticketek 0800 TICKETEK (842 538)

ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre
Wednesday 1 to Saturday 4 November 2017
+ 2pm Matinee Saturday 4 November
Book tickets at Ticketmaster 0800 111 999

Colin Cloud
Shin Lim
Charlie & Sherry Frye
Rob Zabrecky
Hector Mancha

Director   Nina Nawalowalo
Executive Producer  Nopera Whitley
Producer   Nichola Prokop
Composer   Tane Upjohn-Beatson
Sound Designer  Chris Winter
Lighting Designer  Lisa Maule
Production Manager  Garry Smith
Stage Manager  Garry Smith
Set Design   Lara Prokop    Nichola Prokop
Graphic Design and  Nichola Prokop Photography
Marketing   NOKNOK Design Studio
Publicity   Sally Woodfield

Lara Prokop
Tim Palstra
Steve Wilson
Bruce Stokell
Anton van Helden
Sasha Gibb
Merlin Connell-Nawalowalo
Kasaya Manelevu

Directors  Nichola Prokop   Nopera Whitley

Artistic Directors Nina Nawalowalo & Tom McCrory
Producer  Sasha Gibb

Theatre , Magic/Illusion ,

2 hrs

Slick acts generate entertaining show

Review by Dione Joseph 03rd Nov 2017

One thousand, two hundred and eighty-eight people were at the ASB Theatre for the opening night of MAGICIANS.  

It isn’t often that the number of attendees is worth noting, however, when it is a sum that is deduced from what appears to be three random sets of numbers from three random audience members – it becomes memorable.

But winning the audience with a spectacular opening is just the beginning. [More


Make a comment

An alluring challenge to sceptics

Review by Genevieve McClean 02nd Nov 2017

MAGICIANS are in town!  

The excitement in the crowd is palpable. There is magic in the air and anything is possible.  Usual laws of status such as age and livelihood go out the door as you go in it.  If you wish hard enough for something, who knows, something might make your acquaintance.  I wish very hard that I won’t be called on stage for some audience participation and my ten-year-old son wishes he will be. 

I am the first to admit, I do not often go to magic shows. I admit it out loud to the first magician I meet in the queue, well he is a comedian now, but you never really stop being a magician do you André? 

I feel discombobulated by the use of actual magic in the theatre, having more of a theatre-magic background.  Using real magic in the theatre can be hazardous unless you absolutely know what you’re doing.  As it turns out, our international guests really do know what they’re doing.  Producer Nopera Whitley’s assurance that there will be no ladies sawn in half is also reassuring in this regard. I just admit everything from the outset.  There’s no point trying to pretend I’m not reviewing when there are mind-readers in the vicinity. 

Queuing while we wait at the front of house holds the refreshing air of the impossible in constant collaboration with the temporal. Maybe everything happens for a reason beyond our immediate comprehension. (Who knows what kind of magic keeps the Aotea Centre functioning like the worthy citadel of art and manifestation it is?)  And if so, the art of being audience to a magic show is about your comprehension – yes, your flimsy clumsy grasping comprehension – of the astounding performances that are taking place in front of you.  

André promptly introduces me to Bernard Reid, and Jon Zealando a delightful encounter. They loved the show so well, they’re back for more.  Jon even has a trick at the ready as he goes on his way. Then we spend some time scanning the crowd for other obvious signs of wizardry: the trajectory of a goatee or the angle of a hat, or people’s familiars perhaps secreted on their persons, maybe smuggled into a Pashmin …  Yes, muggles will also enjoy the show, half-bloods too, but you will need to use your own best magical thinking to stay afloat once inside.  I strongly recommend that you keep your wits about you!

Time spans quick moments of the centuries when you go to a magic show such as this. The houselights in the auditorium remain a little higher than I prefer but I’ve explained that (I once had a bad experience on stage in Fontainebleu in 1826), and the amplifiers are emitting an eerie magical noise which is reminiscent of the lowest notes of an old pipe organ.  There is undoubtedly a knitting together of magics going on here.  How could it not be the case, with these thaumaturgic superstars from different corners of the globe all (as it seems) on the same stage on the same evening. 

Rob Zabrecky brings a dementing idiosyncratic brilliance to his magic. The tricks are shrouded in a layered performance that lulls you into a state of satisfied entertainment only to make you lean forward in slow realisation as your mind embraces the impossible.  To my chagrin, I join the crowd in this jaw dropping incline.  His parents, I can’t help thinking, must have been exceptional, I hope discovering their child’s precocity for esoteric disturbance was welcome for them at the time.  Anyone else would have to take precautions before inviting him to join them for dinner or, say, an outing.  

Colin Cloud appears … Not sure how he got on stage, transportation possibly, maybe using his legs (but you start to doubt yourself; this is the theatre magic side of things, I mean it’s just practical, you’ll be looking in one direction, and someone walks on stage from the other direction, and suddenly they’re there in front of you, even I know this one, so it’s entirely possible that he walked on stage using his legs) but he may’ve just manifested, I’m not sure.  Anyway he appears all over again with a sense of the reveal because, after an often hilarious patter, we discover his skills in the displacement of information.  This guy is dangerous (I know, they all are); Cloud is very funny but holds dangerous skills.  That’s clearly why he is in the magic show, so we can all keep an eye on him.

Before the crowd can fully recover from trying to apply logic to magic, Charlie Frye & Co hit the stage and perform their act with such ease and agility that I assume there is sorcery in Charlie’s system.  So fluently does he perform in the language of Vaudeville, all eyes are glued on him, and it’s as well because he clearly can’t speak a word as his distorted features contort to fill his entire face, just like his body fills the entire stage. I can’t be certain that his assistant isn’t the true magician here, holding him captive under a terrible synergistic spell, because it is simply not possible to become larger than life in this way.  It’s a damn good show, and an insight to a world of the past so the crowd can time travel too. 

Hector Mancha arrives with a sense of the loveable lost and lethal street urchin magician who might still be living in the shadows of the veil in Madrid, hiding in the back alleys and theatres and who knows where, if he hadn’t won the ‘FISM World Grand Prix of Magic’ award a couple of years ago, and been hoisted into the limelight, though goodness knows where they’d put him on a plane.  Plucking cards from thin air is one thing, but like I say, I advise all members of the audience to stay sharp at all times.  Like a dancer through the artifice of your perception of self Mancha has magical autonomy when it comes to acquisitions.

With a sense of audible anticipation an entire aspect of the crowd groans a little as Shin Lim alights on the stage, deepening it somehow to practise his enchantment indirectly by way of magic with cards.  Not only does he evoke wizardry from behind a hypnotically sultry mask to make cards appear and disappear and…   combust and so on, but he literally entraps those susceptible in the audience and makes them swoon. Even those impervious to swooning remain enthralled in the business of using their neural synapses to combat what is clearly magical craft of the highest order. 

But yes, all of these magical visitors are alluring and exude a dynamism from their persons; I am certain the magic is real.  Only they will be likely hiding it a little so they don’t scare the populace.  People talk of sceptics and so on, so we all have an allowance of scepticism that we can tout, but to be completely honest with you, if even the professionals must come back for a second look you can be sure you will have your work cut out for you to remain a sceptic by the end of the night. No that’s real magic in there alright.

Nina Nawalowalo has been in the role of providing direction as a whole to the group and the magicians have clearly extended their craft into stagecraft as a unified force. Illusion transition and segué are brought to a refined amalgam with simple and classic overtures, reflecting magic straight back to the eye of the beholder.  Nawalowalo draws on her experience working with magicians while she was training in stagecraft and performance in London. There is an immensity, you see, in the place between sleight of hand and trick of the light, and that’s where magic sits.  But obviously, Nina Nawalowalo is a magician herself, self-admitted, just see what she says here in interview in the NZ Herald: “…with all the other theatre I make, I like to try to introduce magical elements which accentuate the story.”

Next thing my son is on stage. Obviously the artists heard his wishes telepathically.  The hilarity that ensues brings tears to my eyes, and it isn’t for the first time during the evening that I have laughed.  However the humour is all incidental. I can’t promise you what the magical world has in store for you precisely with this show, from night to night.  You will have to go and see for yourself.


Make a comment

Moments of sheer delight when you cannot believe your eyes

Review by Lisa Simpson 28th Oct 2017

It must be hard yakka being a magician in 2017. All of your best tricks are performed on any nation’s ‘Got Talent’ show and the punters can look up how to do them on You Tube where dozens of sceptics and aspiring practitioners divulge the secrets of the sleight of hand.  

Despite the cynicism and amateur ‘knowing it all’, the TSB Showplace is brimming with those who come to be amazed and want to believe. My family, husband and three children fall into two distinct camps: the believers and the sceptics. It has been a mistake to seat them in a mixed grouping.

And so the show begins. Lighting and sound are used to create atmosphere from the start and meet our expectations of an international show. A buttoned leather armchair and low angled lighting create an air of spooky olde-worlde Victoriana which suits the design of the theatre with its ornate proscenium arch, gilt paintwork and curved balconies.

Colin Cloud is our host, a mind reader and disciple of Sherlock Holmes. Many audience members have a chance to participate in the show and all of the performers go to great lengths to assure us that they are not part of the show. Cloud’s first pick is a young woman named Angel: an apt (and deliberate??) choice. He mixes the modern technology of an IPhone with the charm and skill of a mesmerist and has the audience eating out of the palm of his hand in minutes.

He is followed by Vaudeville-styled clown act Charlie Frye and Co. The physicality of the juggling, balancing, tricks with joined rings is a good contrast to the other acts. The energy and variety of the tricks is admirable.

The pace and tone of the evening shifts a gear as Shin Lim, a Boston-based card magician, owns the stage with penetrating stares, stillness and the ability to make cards appear and disappear from thin air. The audience are completely still and focussed and as I glance about eyes are round and mouths hang open in wonder. One particularly vocal audience member’s tone changes from a heckle to a whoop of disbelief.

The show is well balanced and Rob Zabreky’s gothic humour and demeanour appeal particularly to my husband. The audience member behind me mutters darkly about horror movies and many enjoy the macabre gallows humour. Not all of the references translate to a New Zealand audience but the quirkiness of the acts has definite audience appeal.

Hector Mancha appears in the second half, wooing us with a flower then continuing with astonishing feats, making objects appear and disappear with ever increasing rapidity, skill and humour. All of the performers have striking hands: long dexterous fingers that are magicians in their own right. Mancha’s fingers are blur at times as we try to follow and guess as to what will appear from where.

The night, I think, belongs to Cloud who engages with members of the audience on stage to the delight of all and truly astounds us with his mind reading abilities. He is a consummate showman who makes the most of every opportunity presented to him.

All of these acts ride on a knife edge; our willingness to suspend disbelief is easily broken and one or two missteps do undermine the magic. This however only serves to intensify the wonder of moments of sheer delight when you cannot believe your eyes. 

My youngest daughter sums it up for me on the way out of the theatre as her older sister tries to explain how a trick was performed. “Stop,” she says. “I want to believe in magic.” 


Make a comment

Each performance perfected to astonish and amaze

Review by Adam Dodd 27th Oct 2017

The mood is electric as my son and I bustle our way through excited audience members to find our seats. A brief period of acrobatic awkwardness navigating the rows follows, but we make it.

The Regent is simply packed. And in spite of the anticipated late night, there are a great many children in attendance – a not insignificant number sporting iconography and costume from J K Rowling’s world of witchcraft and wizardry. The whimsical get-ups add to an already ripe air of playful anticipation, buoyed by music and smoke, and shards of light.

I can’t help wondering what people might be expecting from the show. We are exposed to so many modern wonders that I worry magic may seem mundane in comparison. Audience size alone however argues that even today, jaded as we are, a fascination with magic lives on. And with the start of the show, worries are set aside then discarded.

Magicians draws together five distinct performances, each exceptionally proficient and entertaining in their own right. There will always be those who favour themselves critics, who aren’t swept away by illusion and mystique – but there is more than just trickery to Magicians. The performers demonstrate consummate skill and sophistication.

Trained in forensic investigation and with a passion for criminal profiling, our host Colin Cloud is equally wry and personable. If the trick is as it seems, by reading the micro-expressions and motor twitches of his participants – their tells – Colin is capable of near psychic deduction. The acuity of perception and intellect necessary for him to accomplish this ‘mind reading’ is staggering. It is easy to understand how people have taken to likening his abilities to that of the Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. 

Charlie Fry and Co draw together physical clowning, juggling, sleight of hand and comedy into a taste of Las Vegas Vaudeville. The most energetic of the performances and while featuring more well-known feats of magic, Charlie Fry and Co also contains a great deal of subtly and nuance. The careful crafting of this relies on impeccable timing and the colourful dynamic between the ever expressive Charlie and his put-upon assistant Sherry.

Shin Lim, winner of the 2015 ‘World Championship of Close-Up Card Magic’, usesdeliberate and clearly telegraphed motions all-the-while confounding our eyes. The audience around me stills in concentration, distinct gasps and utterances heard. This attentiveness and Lim’s use of a focused camera grants a sense of the intimacy where his masterful sleight-of-hand thrives.

Perversely charming in his awkward eccentricity and cultivated creepiness, Rob Zabrecky is a two-time Hollywood Magic Castle ‘Stage Magician of the Year’. For good reason. There is a gravity and resonance that underscores the disturbing quality of his affected character. Delightful and disturbing, it is impossible (without forewarning) to tell what is relevant and what is red-herring in his process.

Hector Mancha, winner of the 2015 ‘FISM World Grand Prix of Magic Award’, also distils his act through a stage persona. Mancha’s gangling grace is more striking than creepy: consummately expressive, and with fabulous command of physicality and timing. As he seamlessly combines mime and magic, he seems almost bewildered at his own capabilities – and at the inability of his audience participant to reciprocate.  

The acts each demonstrate that there is real skill to the magician’s art; each performance perfected to astonish and amaze. Magicians is an outstanding evening of not just misdirection and legerdemain, but showmanship, characterisation and improv. At almost two and a half hours however (including interval) be prepared for a late night.


Make a comment

Focus on real skills perplexes, astounds, amazes

Review by John Smythe 20th Oct 2017

The old-style blackboard centre stage hints at the lo-tech show to come but not at the extraordinary skills by which we are about to be confounded. There is magic in the air, however, as shafts of light penetrate a gently swirling haze.

I sense a high proportion of the fans are practitioners at some level of other. As I find my seat I edge past a young man with a pack of cards in his hand. “Go on, then,” I say. He fans the deck, gets me to pick a card … and simply bamboozles me with his trick. At interval, now deeply impressed by what I’ve seen so far, I ask him if he knows how the conjuring is done. “Yes,” he smiles, clearly enjoying the show even so, just as much as the rest of us.

We are in the Wellington Opera House: a classic three-tiered Edwardian auditorium with VIP boxes on either side. A man in a box peers into a box – and delivers the usual message about cellphones and photos. Expectations are duly lowered although his strangely sepulchral voice intrigues …

Our affable host is Colin Cloud from Scotland who, having promised “joy and astonishment” turns out to be a forensic mind-reader plus. I say “plus” because I’m not sure how to label the skill that has him plucking random 3-digit numbers from audience members and getting a volunteer to multiply them (on his own i-phone) to produce a result that – written up on the blackboard – breaks down to the number of people in the audience, the day, the month and the year of this particular date.

Later – they all appear more than once – Colin will astonish us by using another clearly random selection process to pick audience members then ‘mind-read’ their names, jobs and birthdays. And that’s not all. I’m not surprised to read, in everyday print, that he has confounded professional sceptics like Penn and Teller.

The classic skills of old-time Vaudeville are honoured by Charlie Frye and Co from the USA. Adopting the poker-faced clowning persona of a rather bumbling fellow, put-upon by his bored assistant Sherry, Charlie reveals extraordinary skills with sleight-of-hand, juggling and conjuring – to a big band sound-track. Sherry’s supposed nonchalance belies an essential deftness too. Just when we think we have the measure of a routine, they take it to another level – then another – and another. We can only imagine how many thousands of hours have gone into perfecting these skills.

If you think you’ve seen all there is to see by way of card tricks, wait till you’ve seen Boston’s Shin Lim elevate it to an art form and beyond. A live video feed projects his routine onto a screen behind and above him so we can scrutinise every detail. Cards marked by audience members disappear and reappear in impossible places, over and over – including from his mouth, wreathed in smoke. A deck fans out, stacks, becomes a single card, changes colour … I cannot find the words to adequately describe what he does, silently, eloquently, astonishingly …

The box man turns out to be Rob Zabrecky, another American whose somewhat unnerving manner has been accurately likened to Phycho’s Norman Bates. He urns (sic) the title by bringing his 93 year-old grandad on stage (another prop, like the box, that is established then goes nowhere, which must be an intended element of his act). Nevertheless audience members willingly obey his commands and are duly flummoxed by his shtick. Whatever he purports to be doing turns out to be something more, or else, and it’s always oddly compelling.

From Madrid comes another silent performer: Hector Mancha, a winner of the FISM World Grand Prix of Magic Award. He too presents as an escapee from a horror movie but is in no way fearsome. He seems to surprise himself with his card-conjuring, escalating it to an apparently out-of-control cascade of cards that appear from nowhere and disappear just as bewilderingly. But it’s his pocket-picking sleight-of-hand that leaves us gasping most, given how easily and invisibly he achieves it.  

What I love about the whole show is the focus on real skills, devoid of technological devices or hyped-up spectacle. We don’t have to be conned into thinking it is perplexing, astounding, amazing – it clearly is. Treat yourselves! 


Make a comment

Wellingon City Council
Aotearoa Gaming Trust
Creative NZ
Auckland City Council