The Illusionists Experience at the Eldorado more than magic

Tahoe Onstage

Valentin, The Showman, performs with The Illusionists Experience at the Eldorado Resort Casino.
Tony Contini / Tahoe Onstage photos

The Illusionists Expereince at the Eldorado Showroom in Reno places great personalities and talents on display. Throughout the show, five gentlemen from around the world take turns providing amazement and belly laughs.

Each performer has a specialty and title: The Showman, The Trickster, The Mentalist, The Manipulator and The Escapist. Some are straightforward, The Manipulator has an inhuman control of cards, The Trickster is the jovial and terse host, The Escapist is Houdini in training and The Showman does the “put a lady in a box” and “Oh, now I’m over here” types of tricks.

Held at the Eldorado Resort Casino, the show is presented daily (except Mondays) through mid-November.

What stood out above the rest was The Mentalist. My girlfriend and I found ourselves up late days later still talking about his performance with one repeated question: How?

The Mentalist hopped around the stage like an excited little kid. Without too much time passing, the audience started to assume he simply knows everything from what they’re thinking, their favorite movies, the names of relatives, their addresses, etc. Many of the people chosen at random started to tear up.

Tahoe Onstage

Hyun Joon Kim, The Manipulator

They had the audience fill out cards before the show. The Mentalist went off script and starting asking and knowing the answers to things that weren’t concealed on the card. He threw out an object into the crowd, told the person who caught it to throw it again, he made that person take a sip of his bottled water then spit it back out. He then drank some of the backwash and asked, “Did you eat fajitas for dinner?”

Let’s try to be logical. What is going on here?

Does he look them up on Facebook before the show? Everyone?

Does he have an acute sense of taste for particular meals?

Does his bubbly personality and whimsical actions make you believe everything he says is true?

Or is he clairvoyant?

Or maybe a combination of everything?

The clincher for me was when he asked a woman almost in tears what she wanted him to be wearing.

“Why do I have to do the work?” she asked.

He said he needed a break. She obliged and said she wanted him to be wearing a smiley face swimsuit and black leggings.

He started to take off his suspenders and joked with the audience.

“If I was really wearing it, that would deserve a standing ovation,” he said.

The audience laughed and clapped because it sounded far fetched.

Tahoe Onstage

Chris Cox, The Mentalist.

He took off his first layer of clothing and sure enough was wearing the stuff she dictated.

What the hell? It goes beyond enjoyment. It moves into the anger category.

His performance truly struck me, but above all else, the show was hilarious. The Trickster kept everything light, poked fun at himself, his compatriots, the assistants, and got some adorable kids involved.

On top of the mystery and humor, they somehow fit some tender moments in the performance as well.

“You know how you made all these people happy?” The Trickster asked the kids who volunteered to be in an act. “Just by being you. That’s the best kind of magic there is.”

When compassion comes from a crass fella, it means more.

The Escapist’s finale was astounding, but The Mentalist’s act was still weighing on me. OK, this guy has dedicated his life to holding his breathe and picking locks — I get it.

But humans aren’t able to communicate via telepathy, right? So what’s the trick?

They truly did their job. I laughed almost the entire time and it had me up during the wee hours of the morning acting like a true howtheydodat. You get that reference?

— Tony Contini

  • The Illusionists Experience
    Where: Eldorado Showroom, Eldorado Resort Casino, Reno
    When — through July
  • Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 7 p.m.
  • Friday at 8:30 p.m.
  • Saturday: 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.
  • Sunday: 5 p.m.

    Tickets: $39.95 LINK

The Escapist, Krendl, flexes in accomplishment after thwarting a classic Houdini escape.

The Trickster, David Williamson, tried to teach an audience member some tricks.

The Mentalist, Chris Cox, chose a man at random, hid him behind a curtain and asked him to pick out a particular wardrobe. The audience watched as Cox chose the exact getup.

The Illusionists Experience at the Eldorado Showroom showcases slight of hand, card tricks, mind-reading and more.

About Tony Contini

Photographer and journalist Tony Contini graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno with a bachelor's degree in journalism and a minor in art photography. He loves working with bands and telling stories. Photography portfolio:

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