Justin Williams makes the impossible possible with a big smile on his face. He is an illusionist and balloon artist who recently won the Australian reality TV series Blow Up. That saw 10 people competing to create the best balloon artworks. He has parlayed that success into the world premiere of Justin’s BIG Balloon Show, in which he impresses with his craft.
Williams fell in love with magic, circus and balloon twisting at an early age and now has close to two decades’ experience. Still only in his early 30s, he has a cheeky, cheery and effervescent personality, which helps endear him to an appreciative audience. With him are two assistants, his best mate Sam and rainbow suit clad Nathan, both of whom occasionally help Justin with the stunts.
During an hour-long performance, Justin not only engages with patrons, but calls up onto the stage four of them – three children and a mum. His first balloon trick back in the day was twisting them into the shape of a poodle, so he revisits that, crafting ever big poodles from larger and larger balloons. He works quickly and it is fun to watch. Even more impressive is how seamlessly he creates a flying balloon superhero. There is a dangerous act involving balloons, balancing, machetes and juggling.
When it comes to magic, being locked into clear box and escaping in seconds comes naturally to him … with a little help from Sam. One of the show’s highlights is Nathan literally wearing a gigantic yellow balloon, which “swallows” him whole. A caper Justin carries through the production is asking each of those who come up on stage with him a different question. The questions and their answers are projected onto a video screen.
Under the guise of Justin’s Ultimate Adventure, he asks if they could travel anywhere in the world where would they go. What would they do, who would they go with and how would they get there? Remarkably, Justin appears to know the answers to all those questions before his randomly selected “guests” have given theirs … and he proves it! Talented and dynamic, Justin’s show builds to a crescendo with a couple of life-size balloon creations wowing all present before he exits.
Justin’s BIG Balloon Show is engaging, amusing and entertaining, a good time to be had for children, parents and grandparents. It is playing at the Athenaeum Theatre until 23rd September, before moving onto Sydney Fringe from 3rd to 8th October, 2023.
Tickets for Melbourne can be bought here: https://www.athenaeumtheatre.com.au/shows/justins-big-balloon-show
For Sydney Fringe tickets, go to: https://sydneyfringe.com/events/justins-big-balloon-show/
Other reviews you might enjoy:
- The Illusionists: Direct from Broadway
- Circa’s Carnival of the Animals (Arts Centre Melbourne) – circus review
- Caesar (La Boite Theatre Company) – Theatre Review
Alex First is a Melbourne based journalist and communications specialist. He contributes to The Blurb on film and theatre.