Mischief is one of those companies that gives the struggling Fringe performer hope. Performing annually at the Fringe since 2009, the company hit it big in 2013 with
A hilarious hour of chaotic comedy performed by a brilliant cast
One of Mischief’s spin-off projects is the delightful Magic Goes Wrong, which introduced among its ensemble cast, The Mind Mangler, a not-so-subtle parody of the many self-styled mind-readers that can be found in the Fringe programme. The big question is, can you take a seemingly one-joke character (he’s a mind reader, but bad at it) and stretch that into a full show? Oh yes. Yes, you can.
Performed by Mischief Director Henry Lewis, The Mind Mangler is a pompous, yet pathetic character. Convinced by his own abilities yet painfully aware of his failings as his last-ditch attempt to achieve success falls apart with a seemingly unsuccessful Fringe show. Lewis does a fine job of conveying the bubbling annoyance of a man for whom everything is going wrong although there’s a missed opportunity to see some unbridled rage from him as things descend into anarchy.
It's no spoiler to say that the Mind Mangler also relies on a stooge (he’s on the flyer) and Mischief Director, Jonathan Sayer cuts a comically pitiful figure as the friend press-ganged into helping out with this doomed production. The two have some excellent banter and there is some comedy gold in their adlibs and asides. Indeed, the adlibs which are mostly based around the audience participation is where the show really soars. Lewis has a quick wit and Sayer only adds to the opportunity to milk every joke for maximum effect.
If you’re going to see an excellent mind reader this Fringe, go see someone else. But if you want to see a hilarious hour of chaotic comedy performed by a brilliant cast, do not miss this show.