Strictly Come Trancing

Ben Dali’s Strictly Come Trancing has a flashy presentation as he enters to Eye Of The Tiger in a glittering jacket and pop-star headset. Dali has a good sense of humour and immediately connects with his audience; explaining what hypnosis is and, crucially, that it doesn’t work on everyone. This is the crux of his show: to work, he must have willing participants or it will immediately fall flat.

A great show if you’re curious about hypnotism, but definitely bring along a willing participant.

To begin with Dali does a quick hypnosis on the whole audience to give everyone a taster, and for people to consider whether they’re susceptible. We open our eyes to mixed results. From this, audience members are invited to volunteer themselves to be hypnotised. After an initial reluctance, twelve willing participants join Dali on stage. One of his participants leaves after the initial induction. A second powers through for a good ten minutes before shrugging his shoulders to admit that it’s not working for him, also leaving the stage. This doesn’t faze Dali, and the final ten stay for the duration of the hour.

Hypnotising everyone at once works well as we feel as if we get to know each participant, and their mixed reactions are brilliant to behold. Dali then chooses subjects for individual hypnotisms. His choices are made very carefully, seeming to assess the correct personality type to fit each task. The majority of his hypnotisms go smoothly, with a few hiccups here and there. Dali’s acts are just humiliating enough to be funny, and just funny enough for people to be willing.

Taking his inspiration from current culture his skits include the Olympics in Rio, Star Wars and ends, of course, with Strictly Come Dancing. It’s an appealing set that draws a lot of laughs and Dali is a great performer. However, as you might expect, there’s a lot of waffle in between moments of comedy. Dali presents his show with an unbounding professionalism and confidence, though the success of his set almost entirely relies on the subjects who volunteer.

At least two of the participants seem (to my untrained eyes) to fully submit to Dali’s hypnosis for the entire show. Others perhaps just play along, but it does make for an entertaining hour. Though the show I saw had a number of willing participants, I can imagine how quickly it would flop without them. Dali isn’t the star of the show, but he fosters a great performance from each individual. A great show if you’re curious about hypnotism, but definitely bring along a willing participant.

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Performances

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The Blurb

Strictly Come Trancing, the only hypnosis cabaret show at Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2015 returns bigger and better than ever. Featuring unbelievable, exclusive hypnotic sketches rooted in contemporary pop culture, you're guaranteed to never forget what you witness, whether you're in the audience or on stage. Performed by world-class hypnotist and 2016 Take Me Out star Ben Dali. Volunteers are invited from the audience, hypnotised live on stage and never humiliated. Dali offers free boosts in confidence and morale to all successful volunteers. Entry 14+ with an adult. 'Difficult to find fault with Dali's act... absolutely hysterical!' (BroadwayBaby.com).

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