After a hugely successful sell out run in New Zealand, with extra shows added to keep up with demand Chris Cox has finally returned to England to start work his next show. Before you get to see that he’ll be wow-ing the UK at the Rockness music festival and Madame JoJo’s Magic Night.
Chris Cox was billed as a mind-reader who can’t read minds, I had no particular interest in the show; however, after a frenetic hour filled with trickery, cheeky quips, multiple double entendre’s and a soft toy ferret in a jumper – I can officially say I Love Cox.
Cox is a charming entertainer full of manic energy and wins you over with his earnest, self effacing stage persona while simultaneously perplexing the audience with his hybrid blend of comedy and magic.
Throughout the show, he repeatedly assures us he cannot read minds but instead uses psychology, misdirection, subliminal suggestion and the ability to read body language to pull off his feats. Despite this, I was amazed at how he was consistently so accurate in his guesses and began to wonder if he really does possess the gift of telepathy.
For someone who looks unnervingly young, he presented a slick performance which really shone when there was audience interaction (of which there is a lot and where the ferret plays a feature role in the selection process). There were a couple of moments where it appeared he had made mistakes but shortly after it is revealed it was actually part of another, larger, more impressive trick.
Aside from his obvious talents with ‘mindreading’ he also has an easy flair with comedy and peppers the show with powerpoint interludes, hilarious anecdotes and even busts a move mid-show to Beyonce’s Single Ladies.
I won’t give away too much as it really needs to be seen to be believed, but the finale was downright extraordinary, revealing that every single moment in the show had been carefully crafted and Cox is deserving of all the praise that has been heaped on him.
While leaving the show, I could hear that I was not the only one pondering out loud, “How did he do that?”. This is a must see show.
NZ Herald Review – by Russell Baillie 19 April 2010
And what do you for a job? asked Chris Cox of one of the six whom he had dragged up on stage for the grand finale. His target hesitated, looking too embarrassed to admit his occupation. “Oh, you work in porn,” quipped Cox to titters from the small but rapt audience. “No,” said the bloke, “I’m reviewing the show. And I have to say, it’s going well so far.”
Well, it got a laugh. But just my luck. A preview show to the forthcoming 2010 NZ International Comedy Festival, and I’m called up for audience participation service. No, I didn’t volunteer. It had something to do with sitting next to someone who caught a stuffed toy tossed into the crowd. Being down the back didn’t help. But in this case, the stage experience did help convince of Cox’s peculiar genius even more.
Billing himself as “a mind reader who can’t read minds”, the beanpole Englishman combines stand-up, psychology, magician’s diversionary techniques, motor-mouthed showmanship and technology (a video screen, laptop and Facebook), to deliver a dazzling display of non-telepathy. Seen Lie to Me or The Mentalist on the telly? Imagine Simon Baker or Tim Roth replaced by Gareth from The Office and over-caffeinated and heavily gelled. That’s Cox’s stage persona, kind of.
His show is a series of demonstrations of how our instinctive responses are so predetermined he can appear to read our minds about them. The routines cover everything from telling what card we picked out of a pack to – in my case – determine what was the slightly rude word another audience member (thanks, pal) had submitted on a piece of paper at the start of the show and was now hidden in my hand. Which might not sound like much, but I was one of six lined up on stage, all with a secret word or a letter as well as a number. Cox got them all, and to explain more would probably ruin the fun next time.
His musical diversion into Beyonce’s Single Ladies was near Glee-quality. And the rest of his fast-paced hour-plus was as much of a mind bender as it was a funnybone rattler. It’s a show that takes some risks in its heavy reliance on audience participation. But personally speaking, getting too close to the action had its own bonus.
Everyone else was probably left wondering “how did he do that?”. But the thought “how did he do that to me?” will still be inducing a silly grin for weeks to come.
Chris Cox – Mind Over Patter
New Zealand International Comedy Festival Review
The idea of comedy mixed in with mind reading isn’t one which I wasn’t particularly looking forward to. But it’s nice to be proven wrong – because at the end of this one hour preview show which starts this week at the New Zealand International Comedy Festival (unaffected by volcanic ash since April 2010), I wanted more.
Cox is an English self-confessed weedy looking sort of a guy who can seriously bust a move to Beyonce when needed – but his act claims to make the impossible possible, and an imperfect world, a little more perfect.
And for an hour or so, he’s right.
Mind Over Patter is a heady mix of psychological manipulation and confidence tricks, coupled with some great audience interaction and a few technological moments thrown in to keep the iGeneration happy.
Aside from the continuing puns on his surname (every participant gets a badge emblazoned with the words I Love Cox on), Chris Cox wins you over within minutes of getting on stage.
He is instantly at ease with an audience and has a comment ready for every – and any – occasion (eg he asks if there are any vegetarians in the audience; when one puts up a hand, he quips – ‘How do you find the energy?’) – and while some of these lines may seem corny, (and in retrospect they are) they manage to get everyone on side. My advice to you is if you’re approached to be part of this show, embrace it full on – or you won’t get as much out of it.
I don’t want to go too far into the meat and veg of this show for fear of spoilers, but let’s just say if you don’t leave pondering “How did he do that?” and smiling stupidly, you’re probably not going to enjoy any comedy over the next 3 or so weeks.