It isn’t often that you get to see Jonathan Ross running across a stage carrying a magician on his shoulders, but that was just one of the delights in store during Chris Cox’s show Fatal Distraction. Cox professes himself to be “a mind reader who can’t read minds” – but after an outstanding performance tonight, he leaves the majority of the audience wondering how he did the exact thing he claimed he could not.
It’s an achievement in itself to fill the Southbank’s giant inflatable cow when the football’s on, and with self-deprecating humour and boundless nervous energy, Cox instantly wins over the audience, working his magic on us all. During a clever hour-long set, he utilises slick video media and visual effects, encouraging audience members (including Jonathan Ross himself) to visualize tasks for him to guess and act out, such as a chicken dance, and drawing bunny rabbits.
While he discusses his prowess (or lack thereof) with the fairer sex, Fatal Distraction focuses predominantly on Cox’s last doomed relationship, as he invites audience members to read his own mind and guess the characteristics of the lady in question. While most comedy audiences wince and cower at the prospect of being dragged onstage, Cox’s welcoming nature enables him to coax the required information and assistance from his participants, who each receive an ‘I Heart Cox’ badge for their efforts. It is these entertaining audience games that make the show such a success (and it’s the only place you will get to see a toy ferret thrown into the audience as a means of picking out volunteers).
At Cox’s request, I don’t want to delve too much into the workings of Fatal Distraction for fear of spoiling it; the mystique of his show being the central attraction. Suffice it to say, I have no idea how on earth he does it, and believe me – you won’t either.
By Eliza Power.