Aaron Calvert: Mind Games @ Nottingham Arts Theatre

Published by Impact Magazine March 16, 2014.

Performing to a sold out crowd in Nottingham Arts Theatre, ‘Mind Games’ saw UoN’s own Aaron Calvert captivate the crowd with two hours of psychological hypnotism; using recognition of body language, questioning of volunteers and pre-show prediction to determine participants’ behaviour.

Immediately likeable and clearly confident in front of an audience, Calvert started off the show with ‘smaller’ tricks such as waging £50 on guessing numbers of a die an audience member had chosen. Although always impressive, it sometimes felt a bit slow, though many of the sections in the first act were interwoven into the second, which was by far the stronger of the two.

Immediately likeable and clearly confident in front of an audience

After the interval, hypnosis commences and the audience’s reactions grow louder. Explaining to those who may be more cynical that hypnosis is actually a stage we all enter before sleeping, Calvert attempts to put the whole room into a trance-like state. Those who were most receptive were chosen to go up on stage and that was when the hysterical laughter and sheer amazement began. Without giving anything away, this is what most of the audience came to see and Calvert delivers with unique tasks for those under his command. Kindly, Calvert opts not to embarrass any of the participants, aiming instead for comedy; definitely important for people watching (like me) who hate the thought of being picked to go on stage. The show wraps up with a major revelation (truly one of those How IS THAT POSSIBLE?! moments) and all ends of the performance are excellently tied up.

Kindly, Calvert opts not to embarrass any of the participants, aiming instead for comedy

As Calvert himself states at the start, audience participation is the crux of the show and sometimes segments could be more awkward than planned simply due to the members involved. A accidental slip up ruined one surprise for some of the more observant audience members. But, with more rehearsal on stage and with the crew, links between sections may be sped up and some pieces which receive less audience reaction could be cut to make it more streamline; only including acts which are both enjoyable to watch and mystifying to understand.

Sometimes segments could be more awkward than planned simply due to the members involved

With only one wrong guess in the whole show, quirky explanations and interesting takes on mind-reading and suggestion, I hope this final-year doctor gets the chance to develop this show further and performs again in Nottingham – I know many people who would appreciate the show.

Star-Rating-41

Yasemin Craggs Mersinoglu

Image: Aaron Calvert

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