****Stars

By Carissa Shale

Virtually Impossible is a world class performance combining comedy with mind-blowing magic to bring an unforgettable online experience into your home. Presented by award-winning magicians Eric Chien and Dom Chambers, and broadcast live from Beijing, China and Melbourne, Australia, these two very different performers combine their unique and contrasting styles to create a vibrant and captivating pair.

Dom Chambers, known for his appearances on Penn & Teller: Fool Us, America’s Got Talent, and The Illusionist’s on Broadway, is the comedic showman whose laidback and approachable personality keeps the audience captivated and the show flowing smoothly. Chambers adds his own twist to traditional card magic and mentalism, creating original and hilarious routines that are uniquely his own.

Eric Chien acts as the suave and fiercely skilled magician, creating miracles before your very eyes. A highlight of the one hour performance was Chien’s extremely polished sleight of hand act, a performance for which he was awarded the ‘FISM World Champion of Close-up magic’ in 2018. The dramatic routine was a display of skills and techniques I’m sure Chien has spent many years perfecting. The award-winning act was visually stunning, and left audience members speechless.

The pairs’ performance styles compliment each other very well during the show, and the balance between serious, intricate illusions, and fun light-hearted magic helped keep the audience captivated.

As in all Zoom performances, a lot of responsibility rested on audience members following instructions to mute/unmute their audio when participating in magic tricks. For the most part, audience participation worked well, but on occasion it was difficult for the magicians and the viewers to hear what volunteers were saying as they were too far away from their laptop or tablets microphone. Audience participation could have been improved by asking volunteers in advance to stand as close to their device as possible when participating in tricks, so they could be clearly understood.

The technical challenges of a Zoom performance are considerable, but a recent ban placed on Zoom in China presented an extra challenge for the magic duo. The pair were forced to think outside the box to bring their show to fruition, creating a video chat inception by using both Zoom and Skype to broadcast Chien’s performances from China. While there were naturally some unavoidable tech glitches, Chambers and Chien controlled any technological problems with ease, and kept audience members engaged despite any issues.

Both performers dressed in smart yet casual attire, and performed in front of simple colour-coordinated sets that displayed their professionalism amongst the chaos of the often outlandish magic.

Complete with a dramatic soundtrack from Disney’s Frozen, high-tech card shuffling machines that look uncannily like common kitchen utensils, adult contraception and mind-boggling wizardry, Virtually Impossible was one of the best online magic shows of the year, and an excellent reminder to keep an eye on the future endeavours of this dynamic duo.

While Virtually Impossible’s short season has left our screens for now, you can keep updated on Dom and Eric’s latest endeavours via Facebook or Instagram.

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