Daring to be different
On With the Show’s Flashback
to Variety Today 1997
By SHIRLEY BROUN
JOE Labero has delved into the depths of his amazing imagination to bring to life the multi million dollar production of `Illusions’, launched at Jupiter’s Casino on Saturday, July 19, 1997.
The focus of over 1000 guests on opening night, this magnificent spectacle dared to be different. From the costumes to the dramatic lighting, spectacular sets and fabulous cast, `Illusions’ took our breath away. Showgirls of the past eluded us on this occasion with the accent being on the unusual.
Vegas quality no illusion
The success of Jupiter’s previous production `Mystique’ starring the Magic Master himself Joe Labero, had been so successful that it was obvious by the buzz in the air that audiences expected another big hit … and they weren’t disappointed.
In fact, it was the standard of performance you would expect to see in renowned entertainment capitals such as Las Vegas … I write this from experience, having seen quite a few shows in what could be called `the magic city’. Fortunately, we didn’t have to travel that far.
A stand out performance
But, rather, it stands out on its own due to its unique theme and the impressive way that its musical routines lead into the illusions and magic of Rock’n’Roll illusionist Joe Labero who came up with the concept and also produced `Illusions’.
As a result, each scene is smooth and relevant, showcasing Joe’s mazing magic and illusion talents in the finest way.
The lighting, music, sets, choreography and the costumes worn, set the individual scenes beautifully, allowing the audience to appreciate every aspect of the performances ending with a crescendo of `up close magic’ or `major illusion’ which took us into a new dimension.
Assisted by Rachel Colley and Cherise Dick, Joe’s illusions – well what can I say but … they were pure `magic’. Everything from `the Impaler’ to the dramatic `Bladerunner’. Mouths were open everywhere in disbelief … just how does he do it?
An International illusionist, Joe’s personal appeal is an asset for its brings him closer to the audience and makes each person feel a part of the performance.
The element of surprise
There are so many surprises throughout the show – and they arrive from all directions. So beware! I know our table of guests were surprised when one minute we were sipping our cocktails and next … there was Joe appearing from above us.
His cast are to be congratulated too. They are dedicated, vibrant and fast-moving. It shows that everyone involved is keen to present the best evening’s entertainment possible.
Richard Scholes unmasks his talent
Special guest artist, Richard Scholes, has appeared in previous productions at Jupiter’s Casino. However `Illusions’ puts him under the spotlight in a much grander way to present his invigorating talents as a master of magic, mask and mime. As is the production, Richard’s dynamic performance is quite unusual and should not be missed.
Humour runs throughout the show, particularly evident due to Joe Labero’s constant repartee with Ron Blanchard who plays his on-stage butler. It is a lovely touch to this fine production and performed so well one could almost imagine Ron being part of the family.
Joe Labero surrounds himself with top professionals for every aspect of `Illusions’. They include producer/director Mikael Hylin, set designer William Passmore, costume designers Cliff Brunton and Tony Thompson, make-up design Peter Frampton, choreographer Roger Johansson, light designer Palle Palme, sound design Ross Finigan, music design Mikael Hylin, production manager Patrik Andersson, head of illusions Martin Heiling, and guest artist Richard Scholes, to name but a few.
I recommend a visit to Jupiter’s exquisite showroom to see `Illusions’ for it is a show which could also be considered educational as Joe teaches you to expect the unexpected … and I’m sure he would be an expert. This must be the best value for money in town and, for locals, it is all here on their doorstep.
Magical journey attracts tourismWE have billed `Illusions’ as the show that will take you on a magical journey far beyond the thrills of `Mystique’ and judging by your reactions during the show tonight it seems `Illusions’ has done exactly that,” said Conrad Jupiters General Manager Mr Bill Sheppard on Opening Night, 1997.
The 10th gala premiere, `Illusions’ played to a packed showroom of almost 1000 people all eager to be among the first to capture the magic and illusion of Joe Labero and his talented cast.
As with `Mystique’ which broke box office records to become the most successful production staged by Conrad Jupiters, Mr Sheppard believes its successor `Illusions’ has the same potential and early attendance figures indicate he could be right on target. And, again like `Mystique’, it is a show built around a world class illusionist together with the quality and size of his illusions which have rarely been seen in Australia.
While making these comparisons `Illusions’ has something very different and exciting to offer and both tourists and locals are encouraged to see the show – it may be a once in a lifetime experience.
On Opening Night Mr Sheppard also emphasised the importance of Conrad Jupiter’s Showroom to the local Gold Coast tourism industry. “Mystique played to more than 350,000 people. Of those, some 150,000 people were Asian tourists. The remainder were tourists from Australia and other countries, and local residents,” Mr Sheppard said. “Based on those figures, it is obvious that this showroom is a magnet to tourists and locals alike, assiting to attract visitors to the Gold Coast and in luring locals out of their living rooms.”Tweet