AllTheFestivals: Mind Over Patter Review

Bounding onto the stage with unbridled enthusiasm then informing your audience that when they leave at the end of your performance they will be proclaiming ‘I love Cox’ seems like a tall order. Especially when your show’s selling point is that you are a self confessed mind reader who can’t read minds. With amazing powers of prescience Cox proceeds to pull off his prediction with great finesse in a hugely entertaining performance that wholeheartedly delivers on several levels.

Possessing two tons of charisma the enigmatic Cox henceforth delivers a quick witted, self -deprecating act wherein he attempts to convey his mind reading skills to a willing audience who are only too ready to believe in him. Cox’s great talent hinges on his ability to lull the audience into a false sense of insecurity. By lending them the notion that he is ballsing up every one of his mind reading tricks the relief when he pulls them off with great aplomb is testament to the support he engenders from his audience. We are more grateful for him than we are for ourselves.

In an act where the affable Mr. Cox flirts with male and female audience members in equal measures the mind reading tricks seem of secondary importance though deceptively they are a crucial part of the act. It is just further testament to Cox’s skill in manipulating an audience that nothing is quite what it seems on first inspection.

Chris Cox seems like a young man who has a promising career ahead of him. Holding the audiences attention whilst never wavering through any mishaps further propagates his ability to control and entertain. Handing out badges to the audience as they departed the theatre with his own incontrovertible message I was not the only person to leave with ‘I Love Cox’ emblazoned across my chest. But he knew that already. Didn’t he?

Reviewed by: David Marren

The Edinburgh Festival Insider: Mind Over Patter Review

Chris Cox, “the mind reader who doesn’t read minds”, brings his Mind Over Patter show to Edinburgh for a five – sorry – four-week run at the Fringe. BBC Radio 1’s resident magician, 25-year old Cox attempts to demonstrate all you need to be able to make people think you can read minds are some magic skills, a bit of psychology, a liberal sprinkling of subliminal 5 messages and an engaging and affable stage presence.

Using all of the above, Chris performs a series of ever-more baffling and impressive routines (five in total, I think) that to describe in any detail here would spoil the impact of. Suffice to say, by the end of the show (which last night started 5 minutes late), you’ll be convinced that, despite his claims to the contrary, Cox really can see inside your head.

Shows like this sometimes live and die by the degree and willingness of audience participation – if you’re lucky enough to catch his show whilst its packed and full of up-for-it punters, then Cox’s banter and interaction with his “volunteers” is extremely amusing and good fun (although I did count at least five mentions of mild rude words, so it’s maybe not suitable for young children).

I feel compelled to award Chris Cox my highest accolade – I just don’t know how he does it (and trust me, neither will you).

Festbuzz: Mind Over Patter Review

In 140 characters or less: “Chris Cox has plenty up his sleeves in this confident & rather sweet magic show. Mind reading, technological trickery & good laughs abound.”

Chris Cox is a slight, geeky looking boy who is so sincere when he admits to spending much of his youth in his bedroom with a Paul Daniels’ magic set that it’s almost impossible to doubt him. However, he’s remarkably at home on stage and the audience instantly warm to him. It seems his reputation as a regular Radio 1 guest goes before him, though it’s not immediately obvious how magic can work on radio, the least visual of mediums.

Cox’s main “trick” is mind-reading, though he repeatedly makes the disclaimer that he can’t read minds. Derren Brown is an obviosu comparison, though the truth is that Brown’s patter about psychology etc. is as much a part of his distraction techniques as his jokes, so I’m on my guard already as Cox starts referencing psychologists and sociologists like Stanley Milgram.

Watching a magician with a critical eye is much like watching a comedian in the same manner: you’re waiting to see which way they are directing you in order to work out where the surprise/punchline/magic will actually be. And like watching a comedian, this critical appraisal can ruin the humour by taking the fun out of it. However, it’s good fun trying to work out how Cox’s tricks work as he seemingly bumbles through them. There’s lots of distraction elements, some good jokes, audience participation, lots of puns on the magician’s surname and some creative set-ups. By using Facebook, iTunes and his laptop Cox presents a very modern interpretation of the ancient arcane arts.

I confess, however, that I had a pretty good idea how Chris did every single one of his tricks and I do think some of the earlier stunts in the show needed a little more work on timing so the cracks in their facade aren’t quite so apparent. However, most of the patter was slick, and his charisma carried the audience along nicely. He deserved the gasps of awe he got, though he also deserved a few groans for some of the puns. A great night out!

The New Current: Mind Over Patter Review

There is nothing not to like about Chris Cox and if anything is to go by tonight’s audience he is proving a very popular festival pull. His shows have been selling out and through word of mouth and I can only assume that this will continue. Mind over Patter is Chris Cox at some of his best but most of all he gives a fresh new spin on mind reading and magic.

As we walk to take our seats we can hear Chris’s voice booming into the King Dome assuring us that he is going to be coming out and joining us soon. At the foot of the stage he has placed some bowls and we are to write some numbers down and pick a variety of colours (we get to know why later). Just before Chris comes out we get treated to the E4 voice over guy which all seems very over the top but adorable all the same.

And then we meet Chris Cox who almost instantly tells us that he’s can’t read minds and that part of the trick in what he does is ‘interrupt peoples patterns’ or daily routine and he uses a very credible example of this. Though throughout the show there are some things that happen that did leave people gasping (spoiler alert) but if they had listened to what he said you would understand how he did it. And to his credit he doesn’t make any secret about how its done.

Colour and and numbers features very heavily in the show and on stage he was a very impressive variety of costumes. One of the things that you have to note is that not everything is as random as it looks and even he makes it aware that there are certain ‘types’ of people he needs in order to make the tricks work and that was very clear in his first trick.

He throws something into the audience and he states that the trick will only work it its a girl and after a little show and tell we get to meet Sue. There is an earlier trick but we don’t have to go into that here. On stage along with his costumes Chris has some Chairs, also coloured, and part of the trick is him guessing what chair Sue would pick.

Other tricks followed and he used some very cunning skills with the packed King Dome to great effect. At one stage a guy he got up tried to crack a joke, audience laughed, but Cox’s quick retort put him in his place ‘this isn’t a double act’. As each trick came they got bigger and they got more complicated to doubt.

This would be the aim off his show, he makes it clear that these are in a way mind tricks but some of it does leave you wondering. In some cases though more questions are raised than are answered (isn’t that the point though what magic). However the only main issue I had with the show was the ending, which is hard to talk about because that would ruin it, there was geater knowledge known to Mr Cox than he let on leaving people to gasp in amazement.

But that’s the boring science out the way Mind Over Patter was an amazing show to watch and Chris worked the audience incredibly well and they showed a great appreciation and respect for the show and for him. Watching Cox will make you dizzy because he is all over the stage and has produced a show that fails to stop and he keeps going and going.

‘Some of the show is pure comedy gold and the rest is simply magic…Chris Cox deserves ever acolate he gets…unquestionably one very skilled performer’

Hairline: Mind Over Patter Review

Chris Cox is an enthusiastic “mind reader” that jokes and quips his way through his show with boyish enthusiasm. Performing feats of mentalism involving audience members- predicting lottery numbers, envelopes with pre-written addresses and choosing in exact order what items of clothing people will choose to attire themselves from a selection provided in full view of the audience Chris guides us through the hour long show where the “impossible becomes possible”.

Most tricks are sub-consciously prompted by visual stimuli in the set-up, but as with all magic tricks half the fun and wonderment is in guessing how they do it, waiting for them to get it wrong, hoping they get it right and still being impressed when they do. His show doesn’t really present anything new- anyone who has seen Derren Brown or any similar magicians will have seen a lot of this material before. As with any performance though it is the way it is done that is important. Chris Cox is funny, cheeky and enthusiastic in equal amounts and his confident delivery of his show creates a slick production with segways between acts being aided by a power point presentation.

The show provides great entertainment as he mocks not only himself, through images and pre-made adverts on the screen but also teases the audience to great effect. Chris is well practised and likable in his presentation and definitely ahead of some of his contemporaries as he imbues enough charm into his tricks to win you over.