Illusionists dazzle dozens at Attica Fair

PHOTO BY BRET NYE Josh Knotts and Lea levitate 12-year old audience participant Valerie at the Attica Independent Fair Saturday.

Josh Knotts & Lea Extreme Illusions and Escapes aimed to bring “Las Vegas-style illusions and escapes closer than you’ve ever seen them before,” Knotts said at the outset of their 5 p.m. show Saturday.

“The more noise you make,” Knotts said to the crowd of mostly kids, “the more extreme the illusions you’re going to see.”

Knotts and Lea performed a handful of illusions during their show. At one point Lea disappeared inside a mock Amazon delivery box, and later Knotts drove metal sheets through a small enclosure Lea was lying within, seeming to send them directly through her.

Two of their illusions included audience participation.

Twelve-year old Valerie was levitated on a table and 8-year old Colton was run through with spikes, to the crowd’s audible delight.

At least, that’s what Knotts and Lea made it look like.

The duo perform more than 300 shows each year and have been doing so since 2009, according to their website. Knotts said they won the Merlin Award in 2016, which he described as “the Oscars of magic.”

“We got to go meet all of the big names in Vegas and it also helped to support us in getting new illusions to perform,” he said.

A newer illusion Knotts performed that was procured through Merlin Award funding had him lying in a rectangular box and squishing himself to a third his size.

“This one sends me to the chiropractor once a week,” he told the chuckling crowd.

Knotts called their penultimate illusion their “most requested” and well-known. For this illusion, Lea sidled into an oddly-shaped box on wheels, which Knotts proceeded to spin and apply wooden boards onto, obscuring Lea’s body.

Once the audience could no longer see Lea at all, Knotts began pulling sections of the box away, until Lea had been “squeezed” into a single tiny box.

Josh Knotts & Lea Extreme Illusions performed twice more Saturday night at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m., and they performed three times Friday evening as well.