Magic design for shows: the illusions

 In Ballet, Illusions, Plays

One of the most unique aspects of Paul Kieve’s work is his ability to invent and adapt magic effects to specific requirements.

The Unmasking

The Invisible Man

“In the night’s most spectacular moment, The Invisible Man unwraps his bandages to reveal the hole where his head ought to be and miraculously contrives to smoke a cigarette” Charles Spencer, Daily Telegraph

Formula 86

Used to close act one of Roald Dahl’s The Witches, in the West End. A boy appears to visibly shrink and change into a mouse! This sensational illusion was featured twice on the BBCTV show Blue Peter. “Dazzling Stage Disappearance” Time Out

Skeleton cabinet

Skeleton by Tanika Gupta Soho Theatre

A girl runs into a cabinet and covers herself with a shroud – when it is pulled away she has changed into a skeleton. Created for actress Mina Anwar in a production of  “Skeleton” by Tanika Gupta at the Soho Theatre, London 1997 it involved the skeleton changing back into Mina Anwar. “A wonderful shock when the medical skeleton comes to life” Meera Syal, the Express

Maze of Mirrors

A beautiful dancer gets trapped in a maze of mirrors and then visibly dissolves into nothing. Created personally for Andrew Lloyd Webber for a sequel to “The Phantom Of The Opera”, the illusion was performed at the composer’s Sydmonton Festival in 1997. “You did an absolutely fantastic job in creating the illusion…it was knockout” Andrew Lloyd Webber

The Ghost Mirror

Designed to enable the Ghost Of Christmas Past to walk through an apparently solid full length mirror in the Leslie Bricusse musical “Scrooge” “a beautiful & baffling illusion”; “a vanishing ghost of Christmas past whose face looms in a mirror” Nicholas De Jongh, Evening Standard

The Queen Of Hearts’ appearance

Queen of Hearts, Alice in Wonderland

A giant playing card transforms into a real living Queen Of Hearts. Created for English National Ballet’s production of Alice In Wonderland. “A Great stage effect” Debra Craine, The Times

A Passionate Woman
Directed by Ned Sherrin. Comedy Theatre, West End 1995. Effects included actor Neil Morrissey apparently passing his hand through a solid “Ghost” – actor James Gaddas.

Point Of Death
Liverpool Playhouse 1995 Written by Michel Cooney (“Identity”). The unusual time jumping storyline involve the entire set to be literally – a box of tricks – resulting in some of Paul Kieve’s most innovative work.

Arabian Nights
Directed and adapted by Dominic Cook 1999 – included the cutting up and restoration of a Kazeem in the Ali Baba story.

The Nativity
2000 directed and adapted by David Farr – effects included Mary (played by Nina Sosanya) vanishing in the centre of the in-the-round auditorium of the Young Vic, and becoming instantly pregnant!

Woman With Head, Woman Without Head

Woman With Head, Woman Without Head, ICA

Performance Piece by Orlan Institute Of Contemporary Arts, London, 1996

Celebration – Holiday On Ice

Three year international tour and seen by almost three million people. First collaboration with Artistic director Robin Cousins to create illusions for the spectacular Venice Carnival section. 2001 – 2004

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