Robert Temple is performing the only traditional hour-long hypnosis show in Edinburgh Fringe this year, so if you’re looking for a show where any number of people can volunteer to get hypnotised and spend the rest of the hour doing ridiculous things, then this is your only real option. Fortunately, it’s well worth a visit and provides lots of fun for volunteers and audience alike.
What an Edinburgh Fringe hypnosis show should be: fun, educational and interactive, with plenty of laughs.
You can spot Temple walking around the city with his dyed red hair that makes him jump out from the crowd, and it suits his confident stage persona – possibly the most important attribute of the stage hypnotist. He introduces the show with professional fluidity, opening with plenty of opportunities for the audience to respond in unison with a “Whaaay”, setting the expectations early for their involvement. Volunteers are invited up onto stage, and after 25 minutes, the first suggestions are presented. Some may feel that the induction is long, but for me it is all part of the theatre of hypnosis: the scientific journey from consciousness to trance.
There’s lots of fun to be had from the half-hour of hypnotic sketches. Early on, the only unhypnotised member of the committee on stage looks in bewilderment as her co-volunteers conduct an invisible orchestra with flowery batons, and her reaction is as priceless as those who have fallen under Temple’s spell. The early stages of the show see Robert narrating scenes for everyone while he picks who will star in the individual pieces to follow. He doesn’t have any legends on stage this day, but the quality of volunteers is perfectly sufficient to put a strong show together. Some of his suggestions do inspire bland responses, but he doesn’t appear perturbed and improvises well to cover for any shortcomings, respectfully putting a female volunteer back to sleep when she responds uncomfortably to one of the more adult instructions.
For those of you who have seen a few hypnosis shows before, there aren’t many original concepts – most of the traditional skits are here, including X-Ray specs and taking on the guise of celebrities, but Temple adds his own spin on things to keep it fresh enough. There’s no need to be put off by the implication that this show is ‘outrageous’ – hypnosis by its nature IS outrageous, but with its 14.30 timeslot there’s not much to make the audience blush.
The Hypnotist – Live and Outrageous is what an Edinburgh Fringe hypnosis show should be: fun, educational, interactive, with plenty of laughs and the opportunity for ‘normal’ people to become stars. Every show will have its own highlights and memories, and Robert Temple is an experienced and proficient practitioner who knows how to show his audience a good time.