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“Bad show made worse by high price” 1 of 5 stars
Review of Carnival of Illusion

Carnival of Illusion
2400 East Missouri Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85016
+1 480-359-7469
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Owner description: Laugh, Have Fun and Celebrate at Arizona's ONLY Intimate Illusion Show. Roland Sarlot and Susan Eyed transport you on a beguiling magical journey around the world in their Vaudeville-Inspired Magical Parlour Show limited to just a few dozen guests. Sarlot and Eyed have performed as house magicians at the world's top resorts, for Fortune 100 CEOs, to the 200 Most Powerful Women in America. The "Magic, Mystery and Oooh La La" happens select Fridays and Saturdays evenings during high season. Check website for show times and details.
Southlake, Texas
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
13 attraction reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
“Bad show made worse by high price”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed March 23, 2014

This show is bad; astonishingly bad. I read glowing reviews here on TripAdvisor before going and went based on the strength of these reviews. It's hard to credit these reviews now.

I like magic. Carnival of Illusion's magic is bad. The secret of a number of illusions is so obvious that it's painful to sit through the rest of the trick (and I'm not on the hunt to detect the secret). Some of the illusions were so bad that the audience would clap weakly at the end, unsure that magic had been performed. I had to ask my friends a couple of times "what was the magic part?" Four people couldn't figure it out. We should be asking "how did he do that!?" NOT "what did he do?"

Fine, but it's funny, right? No. A funny show would had compensated for the lousy magic, but the jokes were terribly lame. "We have a tradition here" *takes a drink before the next act* "a fine tradition." *repeat throughout the show* Hilarious? No.

The performers were earnest and committed, but a lot of the act they seemed to stall for time--they've got 80 minutes to fill after all. I'm sure the performers don't feel this way, but I would feel uncomfortable for them when their illusions fell flat. Pity is not entertainment.

To add insult to injury, the show is pricey. With fees and taxes this show cost $50/person. I strongly recommend you pass on this one.

Visited March 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Carnival_of_Illusion, Owner at Carnival of Illusion, responded to this review, March 27, 2014
Dear Sir, As owners/performers of Carnival of Illusion we would like to greatly apologize for your negative experience at our business. The nature of a live show is that every show is slightly different and while there is the rare occasion when an illusion may be performed with a misstep, those issues are rare. While the title of your post suggests this was continuous, we're not clear if your perspective was an issue of taste rather than needless exposés, regardless, you have our fullest commitment to constantly improve our craft, business practices, and guest experience.

Regarding the $50 price, you attended our performance in a beautiful and historic Waldorf-Astoria resort and we prepaid your parking (a $27 value). It's unfortunate that you didn't see any value in your evening with your one star rating. It's a shame you didn't notice the stage decorated with a beautiful Oriental carpet, the chairs covered with flocked damask fabric and flowers for the front row, our backdrop created with vintage theater curtains, velvet swags with heavy fringe and old-world luggage, an atmosphere with LED stage lights complimenting the 28 music cues, the multiple costume changes, the hand printed gold-inked tickets with stock so thick they can't go through modern printers, the completely custom-designed free eight page souvenir program, and the performance of one of the greatest illusions just inches away from the front row. (We know of no performer in the history of magic who has ever done this so close to a live audience.) We're also sorry you didn't see the many guests after the show from the same evening taking photos as well as requesting posters and other memorabilia to be signed. It's unfortunate you couldn't grant us some credit and respect for building a business based in the performing arts, with an intimate audience, and for trying something completely different.

Our team has worked very, very hard for many years to create a show that most people not only enjoy but return again and again bringing family and friends. We wish you would have spoken with our Parlour Attendants about your perspective during intermission as they would have returned your hard earned money. Again, our entire business goal is that every guest has a wonderful evening. We're very sorry that is not what you experienced.

Most sincerely,
Roland Sarlot and Susan Eyed
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90 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
San Francisco, California
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“A MUST SEE ! Several of their illusions simply blew our minds!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 22, 2014

This was a night to remember for every audience member. We've seen hundreds of shows, including some of the large Vegas acts and this was, by far, our favorite magic show experience. They really give you an up-close and personal look at the illusions which is rare. I would highly recommend Carnival of Illusion for a special date-night, a top-notch corporate event or to thrill and amaze your friends and family. The Biltmore venue is classy and also gives you the opportunity to get a drink or dinner as part of the night. Perfect night!

My husband and I saw Carnival of Illusion on our anniversary and were delighted by the charm, wit and humor this amazing duo wove into their memorizing performance. Almost every audience member had an opportunity to participate in the show in one way or another, which made it a very special experience.

Not only did we end up with a huge playing card that had simply "materialized" during a trick to take home as a souvenir but Roland Sarlot and Susan Eyed were kind enough to take time after the show with us and many other folks to take pictures, sign the card, let us check-out some cool props and celebrate an exceptional night.

Visited October 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Carnival_of_Illusion, Ringmasters at Carnival of Illusion, responded to this review, May 20, 2014
"Margaret F" we loved having you and your husband at the show. Thanks for sharing YOUR magic!!!
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Elkhart, Indiana
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“Wonderful Customer Service”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 13, 2014

Grandparents, daughter, and granddaughter recently went to Phoenix for a weekend mini-vacation. We had a scheduling problem on our trip and called Carnival of Illusion for help. The people there were fantastic and worked with us to solve our problem completely. They are amazing!

Visited March 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Phoenix, Arizona
1 review
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“Best Magic Act I've Seen in Years!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 25, 2014

The Carnival of Illusion is one of my favorite magic acts that I've ever seen! We've been to quite a few shows and the thing that sets the Carnival apart from all the rest is that it is so much FUN! The showmanship is fantastic, the storytelling delightful, they have great chemistry, and we spent the majority of our time laughing hysterically while being awed by their illusions!

The venue itself was also quite charming. It was cozy and intimate, and every bit of the experience felt like we were experiencing this with friends. The tickets were gorgeous keepsakes, the programs were fun vaudeville stories, and even the gifts for sale afterwards were inexpensive and gorgeous!

This is an experience that I will return to see again and again. I'm already planning our next Carnival of Illusion adventure with some friends of mine! I can't wait to sit back and let this charming duo take me around the world again!

Visited February 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 14
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Phoenix, Arizona
1 review
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“Amazing and funny show”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 25, 2014

My wife and I both enjoyed the show. Your humor is dry, but I loved it. The magic was amazing. We tried to figure out how you did the tricks on the way home, and were baffled. I would recommend this show to anyone wanting to have a great night out!

Visited February 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 16
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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