Fresh from consistently packing out the biggest room on PBH’s Free Fringe in 2018, Tomas McCabe walks out to a half-full room that is already half the size of his smash hit debut. He doesn’t open with quite the gravitas as in his previous run, suggesting he is an emotional performer who feeds off the energy of his audience. Today, nearly half his audience are children and, while his feats of mentalism are impressive, he doesn’t quite adapt to involve that portion of the room less able to access the scientific explanations he offers.
You’re unlikely to leave Mind Experiments feeling disappointed
As a magician, McCabe certainly possesses, but does not yet ooze, the charisma required in one of the top Fringe performers he clearly aspires to become. He is a proficient orator, delivering a well written and succinct script discussing logic and psychology, as his narrative centres roughly around a real-life late-nineteenth century British family, the supposedly telepathic Creery sisters.
The effects are all impressive and display a variety of psychological routines, complete with educational and interesting analysis. If you’re among the 4,000 Fringegoers who saw him last year, the effects are mostly the same, albeit framed differently. He uses ESP cards well and assesses body language to strong effect, but glosses over a clear blunder created by a volunteer misunderstanding an instruction. An enjoyable running theme throughout the show gives an audience member the chance to win money from him, and is a fun element that adds tension to the hour. The show ties up nicely at the end but isn’t the huge mind-blowing blast you’ll get from other shows. You’re unlikely to leave Mind Experiments feeling disappointed, but whatever your criteria in a magic show, be it education and enlightenment, comedy with a family friendly appeal, high-production shockers, or expert insight into the workings of the human mind, there are other shows out there that will satisfy you more than this.
At only 23 years old, and with one successful run under his belt already, a well-received appearance on Britain’s Got More Talent and a highly effective marketing team, Tomas is well positioned to make a real impact on this festival. He will need a few more years to hone his ad libbing, polish his rapport-building skills and get that charisma oozing, but he is certainly one to watch.