I Can Make You a Mentalist
Reviewed by Alex Foott
Performance date – Weds 31st July 2013
Having been given my own plastic wallet at the door containing a pencil, card and tin foil, I begin to get excited about the prospect of full audience involvement and the wonders that this show will hold. We are all well acquainted with the unique thrill of supposed mind reading and so I assumed that each audience member would receive a good probing. Sadly this is no such affair. Excluding 80% of the audience, Segal conveniently thins the herd until he is left with a group of young women and admits that this increases the success rate of his tricks. If you are an avid fan of illusion, suggestion and unfathomable acts of cerebral supremacy, then you should perhaps give this one a miss.
Doug Segal is unquestionably a showman and makes an effort to welcome and comfort his audience. But surely the point of going to one of these shows is to feel a little unnerved and undermined…? His constant use of the word ‘genuinely’ and the phrase ‘this is getting weird now’ served only to make me doubt the show’s ingenuity. I must admit that some of the tricks are impressive but they are entirely unoriginal. The hour-long piece actually only includes four ‘miracles’ (his words, not mine) and when it came to the finale, the revelation of a long-running act of suggestion, I was left disappointed. This is largely down to Segal’s lack of focus and a shedload of vamping. Although he accurately predicts a volunteer’s thoughts it seems somewhat staged.
Repeated usage of the same mediocre gags, including references to Segal’s fictional nemesis ‘Guri Yeller’, and tricks that can be learnt on Youtube, are not very impressive. Considering that the mentalist industry has snowballed into the limelight over the last ten years, I had hoped that Segal would bring forth something fresh and perplexing. But it seems the only illusion worth noting is the heavily doctored image of Segal’s face on the show’s poster.