Ben Dali: Strictly Come Trancing Hypnosis Show

Liquid Room

Aug 6-28   (13:35)

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Stagecraft : four-stars Performance : four-stars Gasps : four-stars

Coming on to the sounds of the Flaming Lips’ ‘Are You a Hypnotist,’ I was asking myself the same question. Who was this youth ready to astound us with his keys to another dimension; or those secret, untapped pools latent in all our brains. In professional terms, Londoner Ben Dali is a baby, but his bright-eyed, fresh-skinned, paltry 31 years belie completely his absolute proficiency in the psuedo-science that is Hypnotism. Bringing his talents to an international audience for the second year in a row, his act takes place in one of the cavernous dance-halls of the Liquid Room, where after introducing himself & his art, before too long 12 volunteers are sat on chairs before us. Then the fun begins, a vibrant series of tricks that whittle the 12 down to 5 individuals who were, as the French say, ‘verteux.’ Dali told the Mumble there were 7 on the previous day’s performance – so lets say an average of half the volunteers each show come under his spell.

Like a Boddhisatva reciting some ancyent Tibetan mantra, Dali takes his volunteers & the audience on a journey – we travel to the Olympic Games, for example, & to a life-drawing class where the women shirk at his ‘naked’ body. Great stuff, & excellent quality for the Free Fringe. It felt real, even the skeptic inside me said so, & I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt because there was a certain astral look in the eyes of those who were under. Dali thinks of himself more like a game-show presenter & his humour is, well, not bad… but as Dali told the Mumble, ‘constantly your stage persona evolves,’ this can only get better with time. An intelligent & warm-peforming gentleman, one expects that in a decade or so – after he graduates from the Edinburgh School of Entertainment & Hypnosis – then Dali shall be as famous as his artistic namesake in his own, eternally peculiar field.

Reviewer : Damian Beeson Bullen

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