Bristol Culture – Fatal Distraction Review

In Bristol, you can’t throw a small ferret dressed in a woolly jumper the kind that James from The Great British Bake-Off would wear without it landing in the lap of a former teacher sitting in the third row. Not in the Tobacco Factory Theatre at least, especially not on a rainy Monday evening in September.

Born in Bristol and living in the city until he finished university, Cox (right) calls himself “the mind reader who can’t read minds”, but this is doing a huge disservice to a young man still in his early 20s who has become an Edinburgh Festival regular and wowed global audiences.

It’s a shame that last night was his only show in Bristol, because it was absolutely superb, in the vein of Derren Brown combining magic, psychology, body language, influencing and downright lying.

It also involved the best feats of memory I have ever seen.

Cox memorised both yesterday’s Post (“Who stole the Evening?” he asked incredulously) and an Edinburgh programme from several years ago, being able to name crossword clues from the newspaper and read out Richard Branson’s credit card number from an advert when told the page an audience member was holding.

This was an astonishing show, with its very nature meaning that much of its content cannot be revealed. On this form, however, the manic and freakishly talented Cox will not be throwing ferrets into former teachers’ laps for much longer. At least not on a rainy Monday in September.

Spoonfed – Fatal Distraction Review

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.

Theatre Thoughts – Fatal Distraction Review

Chris Cox bills himself as “The Mind Reader That Can’t Read Minds” – it’s LIES, LIES, LIES, I tell you, YES HE CAN. How he accomplishes such feats is his own closely guarded secret but as the evening progresses the revelations come thick and fast and it seems that no thought is safe from him.

He’s respectfully asked that reviewers don’t spoil the show by giving away what happens and I’ll honour that, partly because I’m a decent chap and all that, but primarily because I want you to all go and see this show when it’s on near you. (if it’s not on near you, get in a car, taxi, plane, train, tandem, whatever and get to it) YES IT’S SUPERB.

I was pleased to finally make my inaugural visit to the UdderBelly at the Southbank, I’ve seen it there the last few years for the Southbank Festival and repeatedly thought “I must get to see something there”, well, I finally have.

Mind-reading / Mentalist acts can suffer from being far too dark, far to repetitive and far too boring usually. There’s not any of that in this show. His pacing is superb, the whole evening has a joyousness that I’ve not experienced in a magic/mentalism act before.

His self depreciating humour, and amazing effects would this worthwhile seeing. What makes it into my MUST SEE list, is how he’s compiled a complete package, he frames his evening around a touching premise that gives it a logical and dramatical trajectory most acts fail to achieve. Fatal Distraction is not so much an “act” more a complete 1 act play. We are taken on a journey with Chris and it’s a joy from beginning to the mind-boggling ending.

Chris is also extremely personable, treating his audience with respect and bantering along with us. He knows that the success of this show is on our interaction with him and vice versa and as he buoyantly moves amongst us, he makes the audience just as much part of the show as him. I’ve seen countless performers fail to get interaction from their audience, not so with Chris, people were clambering to get the jumper wearing ferret (it’s toy I hasten to add) that he has thrown about the theatre to locate his willing volunteers. Every volunteer is given their own badge, mine was placed immediately on my jacket, style guru that I am.

It’s the freshest, funniest and best mind reading show I’ve seen (and I’ve seen loads) . If you fancy a totally different night out at the theatre where you will be amazed, intrigued, involved and just smile and laugh from start to finish, catch this while it’s on tour. I’m going to catch it again and take some friends as soon as I can. He’s one of the best live entertainers I’ve seen.

STARS : * * * * *

Fatal Distraction Review: Sunday Express 2012

Finally, a quick recommendation to see Chris Cox’s incredible one-man show Fatal Distraction which will be back at the South Bank’s Udderbelly Festival on June 19 for one night only. He threads his smart and utterly baffling readings of the audience’s minds with a sad, tender story of a relationship ending to reveal something of the state of his own mind.
5 Stars

Dominion Post NZ – Fatal Distraction Review

From the moment I stepped into the venue and was handed a pen I knew this show was going to be full of audience participation. This was not traditional comedy where the comedian stands on stage with just a mic for company: This was a set, with props.

Chris Cox is the mind reader who can’t read minds. However, he does a good job of making me believe he can do just that. The lanky Brit bounces on stage, charms the crowd with his self-deprecating humour and soon you’re swept along on a baffling, but thoroughly enjoyable hour of entertainment.

He’s honest that he can’t actually read minds and uses techniques such as reading body language, word association, and you know those props on stage aren’t random, but his abilities are still, well, mind blowing.

The thread that runs through the show looks at the question, “What if?” giving it a structure with an unexpected poignancy.

There is comedy but the most interesting part is the audience participation – for the more timid out there he doesn’t humiliate – and how he manages to get people to scratch their heads and say out loud “What the…?”

Such as how did he know that man’s phone number? And how did he know this woman wanted him to break-dance? Be prepared to throw your thoughts at Cox and see what comes back.

If you’re looking to sit back and let some good old-fashioned comedy wash over you this probably isn’t the show for you. However, if you want to experience something extraordinarily unique, go see Cox.

Just be prepared to leave with one question echoing round your mind – how did he do that?