Doing exactly what the show’s title suggests, Rob Bailey claims to be able to read your mind with his psychic powers. Well, almost. You see Rob Bailey is actually a psychologist and an illusionist who combines both of these skills to create the impression that he can read your mind. This is undoubtedly quite a talent, as he examines the visual clues on the faces of his audience members to predict what they have thought or chosen at random. There is the occasional ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ from the audience as he successfully manoeuvred his way through his set pieces and several of the illusions are genuinely impressive, but there is an awkwardness to this show which prevents it from achieving greatness.
Essentially, this is a magic show. There is no mind reading involved - rather the audience is led through a series of cleverly staged set-ups designed to look like psychic abilities. Rob Bailey describes himself as looking a bit like Ed Miliband (he’s right). The problem is that he has an equally awkward stage persona to match the look. It was a bit like watching your bank manager doing his party piece at the Christmas party. As a comic creation this was quite endearing, but also quite distancing. There are also some issues with some of his methods. For example, when trying to read the mind of one member of the audience, his guessing became somewhat laboured. If you ask enough questions, eventually you will get to the answer. The final act was a real low point, as Rob led the audience through a memory-improving exercise. By using word association (suggested entirely by him, not us), we learned and recited a list of random words. A bit like a GCSE study-skills workshop, I’m sure this goes down very well in the corporate world, but was a bit of a bum note to end on here.
Rob Bailey seems like a very personable guy. The production values of the show are high and he has a slick video backdrop to accompany his performance. The problem is that there are some much sharper acts around, and he needs to raise his game if his audience are going to have a reason to come back for more. This is a perfectly pleasant way to kill an hour first thing in the morning, but far from excellent.