The name of Neil Henry’s show, Magical Mind-squirm, should maybe have been a clue that this was not a show aimed at unaccompanied adults. Then again, Fringe names can’t be trusted. Joseph Morpurgo’s show Soothing Sounds for Baby, for example, is quite subtle observational comedy, and would be completely wasted on the 0-2 crowd. To complicate things further, Neil’s show has a PG warning which, frankly, is nuts. This is an excellent show to take kids to -there is nothing here that could even vaguely disturb even the most conservative of five year olds, and much that will delight them, in the way that regurgitation and dirty sock jokes do especially thrill the small people.
The tricks are genuinely impressive and delivered in an upbeat, almost gleeful fashion, as if the man cannot believe it himself. If a warning were to be issued, it should, if anything, be a warning against coming here with cynical teenagers, or on a date. Neil’s slight of hand is genuinely impressive, and his manner charming, but most fully autonomous bill-payers do not enjoy being referred to as “Mind-squirm cadets” or react so gleefully to Neil’s relentless, lounge-style wackiness.
If you’re looking for a show to take kids to that’s relentlessly positive, and where you won’t be forced onto the stage to do anything you’d really rather not – this is the show for you. There are loads of “volunteers” but they are just that, if everyone was as into getting consent as Neil Henry then college campus councillors would have a lot of free time their hands. There are no “over their head” jokes that’ll make for awkward question and answer sessions in the car home, nothing of which Granny would not approve, and genuine “how does he DO that moments,” concerning the “mindreading” portions of the show especially. FOUR STARS