Doug Segal: I Can Make You Feel Good

It’s apt, if a little predictable, that the pre-show music Doug Segal selects for his latest Fringe show is the classic James Brown track I Feel Good. On the plus side, that’s really about the only thing you can easily anticipate, as Segal – a warm, gentle giant of a Man in Tweed, easily mistakable for the lost son of Brian Blessed (minus the bellowing) – uses a combination of suggestion, psychology, misdirection and good old-fashioned showmanship to entertain and bamboozle his audience into genuinely feeling better about themselves.

If you’re looking for a one-hour definition of feeling better about yourself, then you can’t go wrong with spending the time in Doug Segal’s company.

Certainly he’s not one to hold back from chatting with the crowd; indeed, much of Segal’s onstage success is based on how he (not-so-gently, on occasions) nudges any naturally reluctant audience members into relaxing and responding as he needs them to do. Audience participation is always a double-edged sword for everyone involved, but an undoubted joy in any Segal show – and a source of much of their humour – is how he reacts to the audience’s reactions to what he’s doing on stage. That’s whether we’re talking about a deceptively simple-looking mind-reading act based around cards which the audience are asked to fill in before the show (indicating what they think would make them happy), or a statistically highly improbably selection of cards suggesting that good things really do happen to people surrounded by good (rather than negative) thoughts. Derren Brown might, inevitably, get a name-check, in terms of what they both do, but Segal is undoubtedly a far less unsettling presence in the room – and also has a far more fulsome beard. You certainly don’t feel like pointing at him and shouting “Burn the Witch!” even when what he’s done seems frankly impossible without at least some supernatural technology.

Between and during his various ‘tricks’ – to use the horrendously misappropriate phrase – Segal tells us about various aspects of happiness, including the results of decades of academic research into what makes us feel good – ensuring a show that’s “educational as well as ridiculous”. Feeling good, it would seem, ultimately comes down to being nice to – and making connections with – other people. Yes, winning the lottery might be a reasonably comfortable cushion on which to lay your head, but only materially. If you’re looking for a one-hour definition of feeling better about yourself, then you can’t go wrong with spending the time in Doug Segal’s company.

Reviews by Paul F Cockburn

Royal Lyceum Theatre

Mrs Puntila And Her Man Matti

★★
Traverse Theatre

W*nk Buddies

★★★
Traverse Theatre

Pride Plays

★★★★
Multiple Venues

Oor Wullie

★★★★
Oran Mor / Traverse Theatre

Fly Me To The Moon

★★★★
Platform / Traverse Theatre

The Panopticon

★★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Following three sell-out runs, award-winning comedy mind reader Doug Segal is back with a brand new show designed to make you feel good! Mind tricks, jokes and an endorphin rush are all guaranteed. Where else can you get that for a tenner? As seen on BBC One and BBC Three. Winner: Best Cabaret Act (Brighton Fringe) and ThreeWeeks Editor’s Award (Edinburgh Festival Fringe). ‘Simply brilliant’ ***** (Sunday Express). ‘Segal rips it up, slick and in command’ (Herald). ‘Impressive’ **** (Edinburgh Evening News). ‘Imagine if Derren Brown was funny’ (Evening Standard).

Most Popular See More

Hairspray

From £21.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Lion King

From £45.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Wicked

From £31.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Everybody's Talking About Jamie

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

From £13.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Play That Goes Wrong

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets