Sparky Chris Cox tries way too hard with the ‘patter’ part of the show’s title. His cheery banter often slips into the cheesy – and never more so than when he’s rattling though another batch of tediously juvenile puns on his surname.
But you just never know, they might be important. As a mind-reader who can’t read minds, Cox relies on magic tricks, misdirection and subliminal suggestion to manipulate his audience. Could that eager-to-please repartee be planting vital messages?
There’s no doubt that some of his Derren Brown-like stunts are properly impressive – he seems genuinely able to predict the unpredictable. The finale, when he second-guesses the randomised choices of six volunteers is astounding, if not impossible.
At a youthful 25, Cox employs devices earlier generations could never have dreamed of: an iTunes library full of untitled songs or a Facebook profile – although such technological reveals are never going to be as remarkable as the simpler ones, as there’s an inherent distrust that some backstage shenanigans is doctoring the data.
Correctly guessing what another volunteer will choose from the array of items of clothing scattered around the set is much more impressive, yet he gets it spot on. In a couple of other tricks he gets close, but no cigar… but maybe that’s deliberate, too. This is a show when you can never be sure all is what it seems.
It’s all great entertainment, often amazing, though there’s probably a more distinctive way of presenting it away from the sparkly jollity more normally found on TV’s Saturday-night shiny-floor shows.