Not only does Chris Cox provide an hour of beguiling mind tricks, he includes the audience in the fun by hurling a jumper wearing ferret into the air and whoever catches the little critter has to help Chris with his next trick. I should stress that the ferret is a toy. Unlike Derren Brown, Chris is refreshingly nonchalant about his magic tricks, quickly highlighting the links between his show and basic psychology. The only point which slowed the show was the mini computer Chris used which felt contrived and decreased the spontaneity. This is a fun show, and I guarantee Chris’s final trick will leave you awe struck and speechless.
Unlike some mentalists, Chris Cox repeatedly denies having any mystical powers, assuring us that he’s accomplishing all his mind-reading effects through a magician’s skills of misdirection, influence and body-language reading. If anything, this makes his tricks even more impressive, since they are openly the product of masterful skill and technique and if you might occasionally guess how he does it – he has a few giveaway “tells” of his own – there is still enough mystification to make for a fully entertaining hour.
And so when he guesses a card just from the holder’s giveaway twitches, or somehow knows what audience members have drawn on their sketch pads, or invites the audience to invent credits for an imaginary film, only to have them appear on a DVD trailer someone has been holding since the show’s opening, we can delight in the surprise, even as he reminds us it’s all a trick. Adding to the show’s fast-moving fun are the 22-year-old’s amiable personality and his clever comic interplay with a pre-recorded video version of himself, who is almost as good a magician as he.
It’s obviously easy to draw comparisons between Derren Brown when talking about Chris Cox. But whereas Brown is a bit dark and creepy, Cox delivers his material in a much more approachable manner.
If anything, Cox’s blasé kind of attack on the genre belies his obvious preparation of the show. A fair chunk of it is actually presented by a pre-recorded Chris on DVD – which requires split second timing and well rehearsed stage direction to pull off.
Using pre-recorded material is an interesting device to predict the outcome of a seemingly random set of circumstances. These events are drawn from the extensive use of audience participation in the show; and Cox has plenty of people to choose from as the Cabaret Bar is the busiest I’ve seen it.
The show consists mostly of magic tricks and “mind control”. Starting with a classic, guess-the-card routine to a far more complex prediction involving multiple audience members and DVD footage, it’s all done in a light and humorous way which clearly suits Cox’s style perfectly. If, like me, you think Derren Brown is a bit scary, then you’ll find Chris Cox a far nicer chap to spend the afternoon with.
Oh, and by the way, I have this strange compulsion to use the word “Amazing”, though I’m not totally sure why… [PS]