presented by LiveNation and NAB Adelaide Entertainment Centre Theatre
reviewed July 16, 2019
Twenty five years ago, a young and shy boy of only twelve years old struggled with learning difficulties and was unable to read without struggling significantly. Consequently, he found it hard to fully engage and make friends, becoming isolated as a result, making it difficult for his discouraged mother. Nonetheless, while he was unable to read fluently, he still enjoyed spending time at the library and enjoying the visuals and illustrations various books would offer him. One such book which attracted his attention was a book about the famous illusionist and escapologist Harry Houdini, and one which also featured simple magic tricks one could easily learn. The book was so fascinating and engrossing, that the young boy spent hours studying it, determined to learn how to read it, and learn the tricks contained within, which came as quite the surprise and delight to his mother, who was finally satisifed that he found something to engage with.
Whilst growing up, he continued to frequently learn new magic and as several years passed, his skills increased significantly, seeing him add escapology and dancing to his repertoire. At this point, little did he know that in the several years to come, he would be performing at the Royal Adelaide Show, finishing runner up in Australia's Got Talent in 2011 and winning Dancing with the Stars Australia in 2013, producing his own TV show which would be viewed by millions of people worldwide, and be winning three Australian awards and two international awards as Magician and Escape Artist of the Year, in addition to breaking a Guinness World Record. It is therefore appropriate to mention that this boy quickly grew to become the adult man that he is today, and never let anything hold him back from achieving success, and still to this day, he is still performing, touring his extravagant shows worldwide to sold out audiences. This man, is Paul Cosentino, known by his stage name Cosentino, and he has most recently completed the Australian leg of his appropriately titled Anything is Possible tour. I was most privileged to be able to attend recently, the incredible Adelaide show of this tour.
...a thrilling, fascinating and eclectic fusion of grand stage illusions...Photo credit: Duncan Barnes
Cosentino- Anything is Possible is a brand new show featuring a thrilling, fascinating and eclectic fusion of grand stage illusions, close-up sleight of hand magic and dangerous and intense death-defying escapes. While these are predominantly performed live, small video snippets of some of Cosentino's previous street and bar performances are also featured, and are used cleverly in such a way to fill time whilst the next illusion is being prepared. The illusions are also complemented with Cosentino's charming and amusing storytelling and patter with the audience and Priscilla Stavrou and Yvette Lee's intriguing choreography performed by Cosentino's four female assistants and dancers, Priscilla Stavrou (lead dancer), Kiara Kieser, Kyla Bartholomeusz, and Elysha Manik. This is also coupled with his own signature sophisticated and precise choreography which has previously been compared to the likes of Michael Jackson. The result, is an engaging show that is nothing short of breathtaking, making for an excellent night out.
...Cosentino has exceptional confidence and stage presence...Photo credit: Duncan Barnes
From his humble beginnings and his first public performance seen at the Royal Adelaide Show, Cosentino continues to move from strength to strength, and it, therefore, comes as no surprise that he has received several awards and well-deserved praise and critical acclaim. Cosentino's show is well structured, well-rehearsed and slick, and there is never a dull moment where the audience are not engaged.
Cosentino has exceptional confidence and stage presence, and demonstrates exceptional professionalism at all times, with his sleight of hand being of expert quality. It is most evident that he has worked tirelessly hard to achieve such success, and that his learning difficulties when he was young wouldn't ever be big enough to hold him back from pursuing his passion. As he testifies, he has taken inspiration from Houdini himself, quoting that No prison can hold me; no hand or leg irons or steel locks can shackle me. No ropes or chains can keep me from my freedom. While this quote can be taken literally, it is also the appropriate metaphor for Cosentino's rise to success, as he did not let his prison of difficulty hold him back, and ultimately demonstrates that indeed anything is possible, if one just believes.
...Cosentino's greatest feat is that of inspiring people to never give up, and to strive to escape from their chains...Photo credit: Duncan Barnes
Furthermore, when watching a production of Cosentino's calibre, it can be very easy to forget that this production would not be complete without innovative designs and assistance from his crew behind the scenes who ensure that the production runs smoothly, and that everyone and everything is in its place at just the right time, so that the production is up to the professional standard one would require. In this case, Cam McKaige's lighting design is interesting and visually arresting, contributing well to the mood and atmosphere of the production, and production and stage manager Adam Cosentino is to be most commended for the effective and smooth running of an intense and fast-paced show with several staging changes within the two hour show duration.
...an engaging show that is nothing short of breathtaking...Photo credit: Duncan Barnes
Ultimately, though, while much has changed for the better since Cosentino picked up his first magic book at a young age, and much will continue to change, there is one thing that remains the same today: hundreds of people, both children and adults, are still in metaphorical chains, and struggling with isolation and difficulties. It is therefore most pleasing to know that Cosentino's greatest feat is that of inspiring such people to never give up, and to strive to escape from their chains, and to continue to take steps in pursuing that which they are passionate about. It is no illusion that when one chooses to do so, anything is truly possible, and that, is what is most mesmerising.