Tomas McCabe has helpfully gone down the descriptive route in naming his Fringe show. As his audiences descend into his basement venue, they definitely all know what to expect from McCabe in I Can Read Your Mind. The large venue fills close to capacity, but McCabe’s warm and friendly stage presence draws in even those seated at the very back.
McCabe opens his show with a demonstration of his mind reading abilities, perfectly predicting the choices of his chosen audience member. This allows him to quickly transition into a more practical application of mind reading, how to detect liars. McCabe frames this as a lesson for the audience, pointing out what he is looking for as he detects successive participants’ attempted deceptions. This lesson even comes with a test, as McCabe takes an audience poll to discover the final liar, adding a fun level of mass interaction to the show.
Another segment of the show features hypnotism, which McCabe introduces by asking all audience members who were open to being hypnotized to stand up so that he can do his best to put them in a trance. It is comforting that he is open with his intentions and gives his audience the chance to abstain from this section, as surprise hypnotism can be alarming. McCabe is respectful of the audience members who he does successfully hypnotize, including the one who he chooses to join him on stage to exhibit the depth of her trance. However, McCabe’s hypnotic demonstrations are really just more mind reading. This is not necessarily a criticism of his show, he is upfront about his specialty in its name, but it does make the hypnotism itself seem unnecessary.
I Can Read Your Mind is performed in a sizable, echoing venue, so at the performance reviewed, the audience was understandably noticeably concerned when McCabe’s microphone started cutting in and out. McCabe dealt with this incredibly effectively, making jokes about the technical issues and ensuring that the entire audience could still hear what he was saying. Luckily for the audience, McCabe was able to work through this complication and, when necessary, project his voice all the way to the back of the room.
I Can Read Your Mind is a worthy mind reading show, and is deservedly popular, as it manages to fill such a large venue. McCabe’s lovely enthusiasm for getting the audience involved in every step of his mentalist tricks charms his audience and makes for an excellent and entertaining event.
I Can Read Your Mind can be found at Liquid Room Annexe (Venue 276) during the 2018 Edinburgh Fringe at 21:05 from August 20-26
More information on Tomas McCabe and his performance dates can be found here