I heard one audience member say to another: “I’m going to attend this again as many times as I can”. She has the right idea.
This show plays with the idea of cold reading and mediumship. “I sense there’s someone in this room who has …” “I’m getting impressions of …”. Many intelligent, generally skeptical people are hooked by mediums and cold readers who claim to have psychic intuition or a direct connection to the dead. In this performance (it’s not a play), Travis Bernhardt leads the audience through a game. He is just as clever as any performer doing this “for real”, but even though he keeps the audience in on the game he’s playing, it’s still almost easy to start to fall for it. He uses techniques of suggestion and even hypnotism to make us susceptible.
Bernhardt has done many shows at the Fringe that rely on traditional magic techniques. He is also an accordionist (although I’ve never seen magic and accordion in the same show). This show is about neither. It’s a fascinating exploration into the mind of a potential charlatan, and into your own ability to fool yourself and respond to suggestions.
Until September 18: https://tickets.vancouverfringe.com/shows/charlatan!/events