Welcome to the first in a series of blogs where I intend to take you behind the scenes and give you an insight into a day in the life of a Mentalist.
Now, while I won’t be giving away all of my secrets, I will certainly reveal the highlights, the frustrations and the challenges I face when performing live or designing new tricks for various audiences.
The Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice Annual Ball
I had been looking forward to the PPWH Annual Ball for a while because of the scale of the event itself. While I love performing close up and mingling with a crowd, performing on stage is one of the most thrilling experiences for any performer whether they are a musician, dancer, singer or comedian – or in my case, a mind reader.
Now, I feel it important to state at this point that what I do is nothing to do with clairvoyance or reading minds; instead I read people. I read their tells, their expressions and their mannerisms in a way that makes it seem I am reading their thoughts. What I do is often referred to as mentalism however, being known as Looch the Mentalist probably wouldn’t help my marketing team.
The Night Before the Performance
So, back to the event.
I flew up to Glasgow on the Friday which took all of 45 minutes. In fact, it took me longer to get to East Midlands Airport airport than it did to fly to Scotland. But after a quick and easy flight, I arrived at the wonderful Torrance Hotel in East Kilbride which was my home for the next two nights.
To my surprise, I was quite anxious about the performance the following evening as it was the first time I was ever using live video and audio cues during a show. I did not sleep well at all, but this is always the case when I am away from home.
The Day Of the Performance
With a whole morning and afternoon to fill before the show, I found myself in East Kilbride Shopping Centre where I was able to distract myself watching the new Joker movie – a bleak and majestic film which I highly recommend. Sitting back in my reclining leather chair, I was able to relax before heading to the venue to prepare.
I arrived at Crossbasket Castle at 5pm and with the help of a company called Cameron, we set up my videos and other links I needed later on before they started work setting up links for the charity auction that would take place before I took to the stage.
I had two screens flanking me on the stage and there were screens set up around the room so all 150 guests could be part of the performance.
Then it was just a waiting game which is the part I like the least.
My performance was preceded by a choir, and a young opera singer who was amazing and plenty of compèring from the host, Jackie Brambles who is a journalist, radio DJ and former presenter of Loose Women.
Things over ran, as they naturally do, and I stepped foot on stage 25 minutes later than planned, at 10.10pm ready for my 30-minute, one man show.
I couldn’t have asked for a better audience, They had been so responsive through the Stroop Test I had set up for them during the meal, I just knew I was going to thrive on their energy.
For those who do not know what a Stroop Test is, this was an interactive video played for the guests just before my show started where they had to shout out the colour a word was written in rather than the word itself.
The idea was to introduce an interactive element prior to me getting on stage so they were ready for the audience participation elements I used throughout my live performance.
The audience laughed the entire way through the above test, which was a fantastic precursor to my show.
The show itself went well and my 30 minutes included
- Reading peoples body language and ‘poker tells’
- Rapid calculations
- Influencing a lady’s thought so she would search for a ‘Hamster’ in Google
- Revealing people’s memories from school.
- Making someone feel me touching their shoulder when I was 20 feet away (something you also might have seen recently on Britain’s Got Talent by my good friend The Masked Magician, ‘X’).
I was incredibly proud of the show itself and received some amazing feedback. In fact, I had difficulty leaving as people kept on coming up to speak to me about the act, fascinated to learn more about what I do, and often how I do it.
The clients were happy, the crowd was happy and more importantly, the event raised £28k for a charity that does some amazing work.
The Day After the Performance
With a flight booked at 5pm on the Sunday, I had yet more time to fill and what was a 30 minute performance took three days to complete.
Luckily, I was able to meet with my friend Drew McAdam who is Scotland’s foremost mind reader and is well known for his work on the Tricia show as The Interrogator, acting as a human lie detector test.
It was great to spend the afternoon talking about the industry and sharing ideas for new performances with each other.
Overall, the PPWH Annual Ball was exhausting in terms of the travel and the preparation, but it was absolutely fantastic and a highlight of 2019 due to the sheer amount raised for charity on the night; I am so proud to have been a part of it.