Fringe: 3, 2, 1… you’re back in the room

Call me a spoilsport, but I’ve always been a little sceptical about anything involving mind readers and hypnotists.

Quite frankly, I can’t decide if a night with a Ouija board would make me want to run away screaming in fear or just make for a good night of entertainment among friends.

So when I was handed the opportunity to attend Whose Mind Is It Anyway? – the first ever improvised, hypnotised musical that involves members of the audience – I felt it my duty to find out once and for all if the art of hypnosis would work on me.

As we queued up outside the Gilded Balloon venue, we were handed cards and instructed to suggest a name for the show. Selected at random before the curtains went up, the gentleman sitting next to me was surprised to learn that his card – bearing the title ‘Someone’s knocking at your door’ – was to direct the evening’s entertainment.

Hypnotic director Simon Warner then took to the stage, and began by asking the audience to reach their hands into the air, fingers interlocked. Testing to see who might be susceptible to the powers of his mind, it seems that some people were unable to free their fingers. I, perhaps unsurprisingly, was not spellbound, and truthfully was rather relieved I wasn’t about to embark on my stage debut.

The performance, involving both cast and audience members, was wonderfully entertaining. The fact that songs and storylines were being made up on the spot, with musicians effortlessly playing along, was mind-boggling. The talent in the cast was second to none, and incredibly entertaining.

A few wry smiles appeared on the faces of some of the audience participants, and they were later asked to return to their seats. The others were, truthfully, very relaxed and acted well alongside the cast. Were they truly under Simon’s spell? I suppose we’ll never know, but I cannot fault the cast’s wit and enthusiasm for ‘Someone’s knocking at your door’ – the mysterious tale of a letter thief!

While I might not have been totally convinced of the powers of hypnosis, it was nevertheless an entertaining evening with a wonderful display of improv talent. If you’ve ever wondered if you’re a prime hypnosis candidate, this is the show for you.

Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose – Big Yin10.30pm, Aug 23-26, 1 hour 10 minutes, suitability: 12+ 

[review rating=”3″ align = “left”]