Pros: Intelligent, artistic, very funny – and a master class in impressive illusions.
Cons: Is it real? It has to be real, but is it? Can this really be happening?
Illusionist Philipp Oberlohr is an incredible man. He might actually be magical. His show Das Spiel certainly is, at any rate. It’s a show full of illusion, mind-reading and mystery – and it’s mind-blowingly good.
Das Spiel takes place in a dark and intimate room, sparsely lit, with a spattering of chairs and ribbons making up the stage area. The audience are advised early on that if they aren’t quite up for getting analysed and interacting as part of the game, they should leave right away. At this point, it would quite honestly take more courage be seen leaving than risk being pulled into the show, so we all giggle nervously and try not to make eye contact with each other. We’ve committed; we’re staying.
What follows is an incredible evening that has the audience shocked, stunned, impressed — and absolutely entertained.
Oberlohr has tremendous charisma backed up by the ability to read, determine and profile in a way that would not be out of place on an episode of Criminal Minds – and brings what surely must be magic to life in an impressive way.
Truth be told, I’ve never seen something quite like this. Oberlohr tells us we are all playing a game – and that nothing is left to chance. All of what happens is meant to happen, and we rely on fate to enable him to make shockingly accurate insights into people’s thoughts and past actions.
Audience members are selected at random by the luck of a card draw or by their fellow audience members (or designated by fate, depending on who you chose to believe) to draw, write and divulge a series of personal fancies, facts and images without Oberlohr’s knowledge (and, at times, while he is blindfolded by heavy duty duct tape.) Oberlohr in turn accurately reveals every one of these secrets – and does so in set ups which leave the audience absolutely gasping with surprise and shock.
It’s an evening that will leave you in amazement – not just at what you’ve witnessed, but at how he has managed to do it. Without giving too much away, Oberlohr does well to show that he established the correct answer to the audience member’s secret long before the answer is revealed to the audience.
You will inevitably wonder whether the people in the audience are plants and that the game is fixed – it’s a thought that must enter the head of every viewer – but this game seems so genuine that it must be real, mustn’t it?
It’d be an elaborate ruse indeed to rig up a fixed outcome of the game – but it seems improbable that that is what has happened here, and the reactions of the people who’s secrets have been revealed are so shocked and genuine that I believe in the magic of the game – even though Oberlohr is so accurate in his predictions that I am certain I have witnessed real life witchcraft in the Ovalhouse.
Oberlohr is a marvellous entertainer with tremendous charisma and skill, and this evening is a truly entertaining riot of amazement and amusement. Go see it.
Divisor and Performer: Philipp Oberlohr
Rehearsal Director: James Blakey
Producer: Cristina Catalina
Booking Until: 16th May 2015
Box Office: 020 7582 7680
Booking Link: http://www.ovalhouse.com/whatson/detail/das-spiel-by-philipp-obelohr