VISION isn’t just a magic show, it’s an illusion theatre performance.
This is what Priscilla Khong, who stars alongside her father Lawrence Khong, tells me.
“Think of it as Phantom of the Opera meets David Copperfield: there is an intricate storyline and plot that is seamlessly merged with the illusions.”
Featuring Singapore’s only professional illusionist duo (and father-daughter magicians, I might add), VISION is a fantastical performance that breathes new life into the words ‘magic show’.
Its plot centers on an alternate dimension called Priscilla’s Domain, “a dark and sinister world… created to represent our dark unconscious psyche that lurks within us,” says Priscilla.
“I really enjoy it because the characters, including myself, adopt crazy (and even scary) personas, and the illusions performed here are more complex and dangerous as compared to those in the whole production.”
There’s the disappearance of a flashy car onstage. A psychedelic universe with a creepy ballerina and a levitating evil queen. There’s fire, danger and illusions aplenty that keep you in suspense, excitement and wonder.
Running from 3 to 12 July at the Esplanade Theatre, the multimillion dollar production boasts an international dance troupe hailing from countries such as Hong Kong, Spain and South America. Its behind-the-scenes crew also includes industry bigwigs, such as the principal magic creator for David Copperfield, Don Wayne, who’s worked with Michael Jackson and Britney Spears, as well as local music composer Kenn C, who’s worked with our very own Stephanie Sun and JJ Lin.
And of course, Lawrence and Priscilla themselves are regionally and internationally recognised magicians, having performed both in Singapore and overseas, and in being named Asia’s First Elite Diamond Award Recipients–an award equivalent to the Oscars in the world of magic.
Indeed, the dancing scenes, accompanying soundtrack and lighting are spectacularly done. One of my favourite scenes is set in 1965 Joo Chiat, with dancers garbed in cheongsams, using paper fans as props, and sporting short curls and slick hairstyles circa olden-day Singapore.
On top of all this, VISION tells a story of daughter Priscilla, who uses her magic powers in her domain to vent her anger towards dad Lawrence for failing to be part of her life growing up.
But though its plot is meant to weave the production together, its storyline was too sketchy to do so successfully, with an unsatisfying setup and conclusion, lack of an established antagonist, and occasional awkward dialogue.
While its plot may be a little too problematic for my liking, when it comes down to it, the story it tries to tell is a universal one: the holding of grudges against an absent parent, the choosing of one’s priorities in life, and the importance of family and forgiveness.
If anything else is worth saying, VISION is definitely more than just a magic show.
3 to 12 July
Ticket prices range from $28 to $118 (check out the weekday show, student and NSF discounts)