Performer: Phil Ainsworth
Reviewer Glen Pearce
Lady Gaga may have sung about her poker face, and it’s a song the subconsciously reverbs through your mind as you watch Phil Ainsworth’s astonishingly revealing Momentum. Taking place in the bijou Sweet Waterfront, you become astutely aware that whatever you are feeling may be writ large over your face.
Watching is perhaps the wrong word, a visit to this show involves active participation as we are encouraged to review our approach to life and the challenges they present. There’s no need to fear embarrassment, however, this is a warm, engaging and above all safe environment to explore the human mind.
Mixing motivational messaging, NLP and magic, Ainsworth sets out to help us realise the potential in each of us. It may sound like a corny ‘self help’ mantra, but Ainsworth’s warmth, honesty and positive nature means you can’t help by being drawn into proceedings. Be it deciding if we are lying about a randomly chosen card (this reviewer should apparently take up poker), discovering our innermost hopes and fears or looking at ways of overcoming the barriers our mind puts in place to thwart our ambitions, it’s an enlightening, educational and enriching show.
Ainsworth’s skills are impressive, we are often left wondering how he achieves what he does but it’s all delivered with such warmth that the ‘how’ doesn’t really matter, instead the motivational message shines through so strong that it’s hard not to walk out of the venue feeling a sense of an ability to achieve anything.
The small size of the venue lends the piece a feeling of almost being performed in your own front room and it works well and one hopes that that directness and inclusiveness can carry over into larger venues. At 45 minutes there’s also a sense we’ve only just begun to scratch the surface of Ainsworth’s skills, but that this small taste leaves us wanting more can only be a good thing.
You may spend the rest of the day worried about what your face and body language is saying about you but you’ll also feel newly empowered to tackle issues head on, and you can’t say that about many fringe shows.
Runs until 20 May 2017 | Image: Jess Blake
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