'Illusionists' coming to Honeywell Center

By Joseph Slacian

Jonathan Goodwin, one of the performers in “The Illusionists,” is billed as “The Daredevil” in the troupe.

A look at his resume explains why. Among the stunts he’s performed during his career include being hanged, buried alive, hung by his toes from helicopters, burned at the stake, attacked by sharks and being sewn into a cow, just to see if he could escape.

Naturally, the first question in a telephone interview with Goodwin is, “Why?”

“It’s funny,” Goodwin said with a chuckle, “in the magic show all the performers in the show get the question, ‘How?’ I don’t get that question. I get ‘Why.’”

Goodwin and his fellow performers – Colin Cloud, “The Deductionist;” Kevin James, “The Inventor;” An Ha Lin, “The Manipulator;” and Jeff Hobson, “The Trickster” – will bring their show to the Honeywell Center’s Ford Theater on Tuesday, Feb. 13. Showtime is 7:30 p.m.

He became obsessed with the art of escape, he said, when he read a book about Harry Houdini.

“Any kid is fascinated with the character of a super hero,” Goodwin said. “But the thing about Houdini was that he was real. He really did the things I read about. Once I realized you could do that as a job, I never really wanted to do anything else.
“You know, I’m not really an adrenalin junkie. I come out at the beginning of the show and say, ‘I’m not a magician. I’m a daredevil.’ These days that usually means you’re sponsored by something that gives you wings.

“But, 100 years ago, the stages of Europe and America were really populated with daredevil stunt performers who every night would risk injury and even death, not for sponsorship but for show in front of an audience.
“It isn’t only about me, but it’s about them. It’s about pushing myself to my limits, really in some cases, to create a spectacle for the audience.”

One of Goodwin’s biggest critics is his 5-year-old daughter.

“Sometime she heckles me,” he said, often throwing comments at him during rehearsals such as “more fire, Daddy, come on.”

“She has sort of a warped perspective of normal,” he said. “But at the same time she’s getting a quite cool life experience, so I’m not feeling guilty about that.”

As for “The Illusionists,” Goodwin likens it to a live, variety show.

“We all occupy a different piece,” he said. “We’re all friends; we don’t compete with one another. We all have different skill areas.

“What you get to see is a really broad, full show. So, if what’s on stage right now really isn’t your cup of tea, wait five minutes and you’ll like the next guy.

“Everyone in the show is really at the top of their game. Everybody basically is the best in the world at the things that they do, so consequently it’s an extraordinary show.

“From the point of a performer, I get just as much pleasure standing in the wings and watching my colleagues as the members of the audience do. We all pull it out every night and put on a show that people are going to remember forever.
“It’s a really exciting show and I think the people of Wabash are going to enjoy it.”

Tickets for the show, sponsored by D&J Radabaugh Construction, are $35, $45 and $75. For more information, contact the Honeywell Center box office, 260-563-1102.

Posted on 2018 Feb 06