Siegfried & Roy - A Tribute at the London Palladium

Sunday 28th September 2008

Three reviews: By David Hawkins, Mike Danata and Ray Roberts


Photos: Click Here.


Siegfried & Roy - A Tribute at the London Palladium
Reviewed by David Hawkins


This was one of the most anticipated magical events ever staged, and even before the show started there was huge excitement in the audience as, unannounced, Siegfried and Roy took their seats in the Royal Box. It was also interesting to see a lot of television cameras around the theatre – apparently the show was being recorded for later showing on TV. Apologies to anyone that eventually sees this – I had a camera very close to me for most of the evening so may well be appearing in some of the ‘reaction shots’.

As well as a tribute to Siegfried and Roy, the evening marked the launch of
MagiCares, The Magic Charity set up to make a real difference to the lives of people suffering hardship around the world. A wonderful touch was that the superb colour brochure was given, free, to every member of the audience but included a donation envelope for anyone who wished to support the charity.

The show started with an overture by The MagiCares Big Band under the leadership of Ian MacGregor. As soon as M.C. Jeff Hobson walked on stage you knew it was going to be a special night. With such a packed programme Jeff kept introductions to a minimum, but, during the evening, performed his wonderful Card in Mouth, and Egg Bag. In both cases he had chosen perfect spectators to help (one of whom had come from Australia just to see the show). Throughout the evening there were video extracts from the S&R show. Shown on a huge video screen this gave an excellent impression of what it must have been like to see the S&R show live. Also shown on video were messages of congratulations from Sir Anthony Hopkins, Cher and Steve Wynn.

First act of the evening were Kalin and Jinger, repeating their success at the IBM Gala show the previous night, with two incredible illusions – the Squisher illusion where Jinger is impaled with flaming spikes and disappears, then instantly reappears in the middle of the audience, followed by an almost ‘test conditions’ sawing through illusion. Totally baffling and deservedly getting a huge reaction from the audience. It was also fun to see that Mark Kalin had chosen Russ Stevens (the UK’s top illusionist) as one of the on-stage assistants.

The second spot of the night went to The Great Tomsoni and Company. Hilarious comedy as always, and some of the best dove productions (and vanishes) you’re ever likely to see. The audience loved Johnny and Pam (aka ‘Company’). Tomsoni was followed by Luis De Matos. Luis is a huge TV star in Portugal and famous for large scale, extravagant events. However he had chosen to perform just one effect – mixing coloured sands into a huge bowl of water, then producing dry sand from the same bowl (together with a colour change of the water). Although a simple effect it was performed dramatically and beautifully and, once again, got a great reaction. With no time to catch breath the show continued with the fast paced comedy act of Vik and Fabrini – a unique act with a number of new touches since I last saw them. Finally, the first half was closed with the incredible, amazing and totally hilarious juggling of Wally Eastwood. Hard to describe but this guy is one of a kind – tremendous juggling, high energy and the most hilarious comedy (he must be one the best speciality acts in the world). Wally finished with his famous effect of ‘playing’ an electronic keyboard with juggling balls. A fabulous end to the first half.

During the interval it was fun spotting lots of magicians and celebrities in the audience – Dame Shirley Bassey was there, together with some of the Arsenal football team, David Berglas, Ali Bongo, Alan Shaxon, lots of the US performers from the IBM Convention at Eastbourne, and many other magicians.

The second half of the show started with another musical number by the MagiCares Big Band, followed by the wonderful musical magic of Norm Neilson. Norm gave a perfect performance, as always, and got a great reaction when his floating violin vanished, then reappeared from the side of the stage to take a bow!

Norm was followed by a unique performance by Ben Stone (Paul’s son). Ben is a talented singer and song-writer and gave a wonderful performance of The MagiCares theme song “When Magic Cares, Miracles Happen” (which he had written himself). Paul must have been a VERY proud Dad. Paul Stone then came onto stage to thank and recognise a number of people that had been involved in the show and MagiCares charity – Diana Zimmerman, Lynette Chappell, Peter Reveen. Lynette (the original ‘Evil Queen’ in the S&R show) also appeared during the evening (preceded by one of the special effects from the show) to formally thank Siegfried and Roy for attending.

The show continued with the Post Modern Magic of Jason Byrne, repeating the act seen at Eastbourne the previous night. A great performance, especially considering he had been working with the doves for less than 48 hours. Penultimate act of the show was another sensational hit seen at Eastbourne – Raymond Crowe. Describing himself as a mime, Raymond is SO much more. Hilarious comedy, and featuring an incredible zombie routine using a borrowed jacket. He finished with his amazing hand shadows, as seen on the Royal Variety Show. Raymond deservedly got a massive reaction from the audience. The final act was the high energy, sensational quick change artists Soul Mystique. Incredible costume changes from both performers, a high energy level and a fitting ending to an utterly incredible, amazing show. However there was still one surprise left as Siegfried and Roy then walked onto the stage to thank everyone. This was an emotional moment for all concerned and they got a huge standing ovation.

Overall this was, without question, the most amazing and magical show I have ever witnessed and a real ‘once in a life time experience’. Paul Stone deserves a huge “thank you” for producing such an incredible event and I’m sure the MagiCares charity will go from strength to strength. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world, and it really proved that when Magic Cares, Miracles Happen.

© David Hawkins, September 2008



Siegfried & Roy - A Tribute at the London Palladium
Reviewed by Mike Danata

The show at the London Palladium, in honour of Siegfried & Roy was very professional in its slickness of production (fast moving, and no dead spots) with an excellent compere in Jeff Hobson (who also performed his own spot, with Egg bag, Card In Mouth, and Watch Stealing) along with some of the very best performers in the world.

A very slick overture by the MagiCares Big Band, leading in to the introduction of Kalin & Jinger, with their big illusions. which included a flaming spikes through girl, with the vanish of the girl and reappearance in the audience. Russ Stevens made a cameo appearance (having been pulled from the audience) checking the Sawing In Half Box!

The Great Tomsoni & Co with his gum chewing assistant were as funny as ever!

Luis De Matos, with his Sands Of The Desert routine, which I think I once saw Doug Henning perform, where the water turns black and then back to clear again at the end. This was very beautifully performed.

Vik & Fabrini did their "Robotic" type act that many of us had seen at Blackpool, as effective as ever!

Wally Eastwood "Probably" stole the show, billed as the "Fastest hands on earth" his juggling was definitely the fastest I had ever seen, truly incredible, and his playing of a classical piece of music by dropping juggling balls onto an electronic keyboard was truly astounding, as was his quick wit, and fantastic personality, you couldn't help but love him! He received a fantastic ovation from the enthusiastic audience.

At the beginning of the above paragraph, I stated that Wally "Probably" stole the show, but to be honest every other act "Probably" stole the show as well! (if that can make any sense!!) EVERY act was a showstopper, it really was an excellent line-up.

A twenty minute interval followed, and then it was back to the MagiCares Big Band, followed by the sheer artistry that is Norm Nielson, a truly wonderful act that has taken him all around the world. Vanishing Flute, Misers Dream with the "Tinkling" coin ladder, and the incomparable Floating and "Playing" Violin. A wonderful wonderful act, that is as fresh today as it was when it was first introduced to the world, many many years ago.

Jason Byrne, did his incredible Bird/Manipulative act, with some of the slickest productions you'll ever see, culminating in the production of a duck! which certainly drew the gasps.

Ben Stone (the son of Paul) wrote a special song for MagiCares called "When Magic Cares, Miracles happen" he sang this with the big band backing him, it was both catchy and moving, a perfect song for such a perfect event.

Raymond Crow followed with a very novel routine with a spectator's borrowed jacket where it flew, danced and floated around the stage! Absolutely wonderful. He finished his set with the hand shadows act that has received millions of hits on YouTube, and clinched him an appearance on the Royal Variety Show. There is something truly "Magical" about this act that evokes such an emotional reaction from an audience, there were many Ooh's and Ahh's from the audience during the performance, again a fantastic act.

Soul Mystique were the last act on stage, with their incredible quick change/dance act, very visual and spectacular drawing the gasps from the audience during their set.

Interspersed throughout the show were filmed tributes to Siegfried & Roy by such people as Cher, Sir Anthony Hopkins & Steve Wynn, plus many live tributes as well from the stage, including amongst others, Lynette Chappell who was their leading Lady (The Evil Queen) in the show for many years.

The most moving tribute was delivered by Steve Wynn, who had built the Mirage Hotel for Siegfried & Roy's show in Vegas, stating very clearly the love from Siegfried & Roy's friends & indeed their love and support for each other. It was all very emotional....

The evening concluded with the awaited appearance from both Siegfried & Roy who both received prolonged standing ovations from the audience.

Siegfried did most of the talking (to begin with!) then Roy gestured for the microphone to say his bit, although a little slurred in his speech, he was perfectly understandable. Siegfried took the mic back from Roy, and Roy almost snatched it back to the delight of the audience, he was unstoppable!!! (perhaps he had lessons from Ken Dodd!) it was all very moving and emotional, I have to admit that I couldn't hold back the tears. I saw the same courage, determination, strength and humour in my dear Mum during her battle with cancer. Siegfried & Roy took several curtain calls at the end, and Roy kept walking back to centre stage, it became very amusing as he walked on and off continuously, almost as if to just prove to us that he could indeed walk!!!! (After the accident with the tiger in October 2003 he was told that he would never walk again!)

Roy is a very strong person on all levels, but it is his INNER STRENGTH that is so amazing, and tonight we witnessed that Magical Inner Strength.

This was a truly memorable occasion, that will forever live in the minds of everyone who attended. Proving yet again that the magic still lives, and that Siegfried & Roy are indeed Masters Of The Impossible!

With heartfelt thanks to Paul Stone and the team, for making this show happen - you certainly gave us a night to remember forever!


© Mike Danata, September 2008


Siegfried & Roy - A Tribute at the London Palladium
Reviewed by Ray Roberts

I can not find any words that can describe the experience of A Tribute to Siegfried and Roy adequately but I will do my best.

It was a truly a magical moment in time when just being there was what mattered and it was an action packed emotional rollercoaster night of pure celebration and entertainment.

It all started just before the curtain went up, Siegfried & Roy entered the royal box not with a grand introduction or a fanfare of trumpets but just quietly taking their seats. But if they or any one else for that matter considered for one moment that the legendary kings of magic could walk into a theatre unnoticed and appreciated were very much mistaken. The whole audience rose to their feet applauded, cheered and whistled until it was time to start the show and the atmosphere was simply electric.

The twelve piece orchestra under the direction of Ian MacGregor a renowned musical director and musician in his own right played When Magic Cares which set the scene for an off stage introduction by Jeff Hobson for Kalin & Jinger.

Kalin & Jinger were truly awesome and to just list the illusions they performed goes only half way to describing their act as the presentation and chemistry of the pair all come together to make the flaming penetration and cutting a woman in half not only baffling but so memorable, I wondered if any one could follow them.

But follow them they did as each act kept the momentum going building on what had gone before, Tomsoni & Co was next presenting their comedy act which has been polished to perfection with countless performances and was appreciated by the whole audience of mainly lay people of all ages.

Luis de Matos from Portugal performed think ink. He proceeded to pour coloured sand into the murky mess stirring in each colour of green yellow and blue. Later he reached into the black lagoon and produce handfuls of dry green yellow and blue sand all sprinkled about the stage. To close the act he changed the ink back into clear water. A short but a very impressive act.

Direct from the Crazy Horse in Paris came Vic & Fabrini a fast moving extremely precisely timed duo where Vic performs many magical effects with Fabrini a robot. I have seen this act on lots of occasions but never better than on this show they excelled.

Wally Eastwood is without doubt a juggler par excellence but particular mention must be made of his playing of the electronic piano on the floor not using his hands or feet but playing it with five juggling balls to receive a well acclaimed ovation what an act!

Jeff Hobson compered the show introducing each act to perfection and in addition performed two magical effects card in mouth and the egg bag using volunteers from the audience. Both effects were master classes in how to handle a volunteer and entertain. He is simply the best. In addition to Jeff Hobson popping up during the show there were also video clips of celebrities paying tribute to the two great men and video clips of some of their performances which brought spontaneous applause after each clip.

The second half started with Norm Nielsen billed in the program as the unique artistry of Norm Nielsen .They must have been referring to his very own floating violin which is pure artistry.

The next act was Ben Stone son of Paul Stone but on this occasion he weaved a different kind of magic with his voice, as he sang his rendition of the shows anthem When Magic Cares, Miracles Happen which he had also written and he sang it exceptionally well.

Jason Byrne’s magical presentation burnt brightly his Yoyo to dove being totally unexpected brought thunderous applause.

Raymond Crow is probably the only mime act who talks so to call him a mime would be some what misleading, but there is nothing misleading about his ability to entertain and none more so than his closing shadow graph performance to Louis Armstrong’s What a Wonderful World and in his hands it certainly is!

Soul Mystique’s quick change act was the last act of the show. They brought to the stage energy, skill and surprise providing a phenomenal colourful end to a perfect show.

However this wasn’t the end because the crème la de crème was the finale when all the artists came on for their final bows to be joined be the icons of magic the one and only Siegfried & Roy who received a resounding standing ovation. They thanked all connected with the show and received no less that five curtain calls from an audience who simply did not want the night to end. If I had to sum up this show in one word I would just say Wow.

Executive producer of the show Paul Stone must have been proud of his achievements at putting together such a moment in time and he is to be congratulated for the work he put into making all this happen and making it a night to remember.


© Ray Roberts, September 2008