Home / Edinburgh Festival Fringe / Edinburgh Fringe 2012 / Edinburgh Fringe: Doug Segal: How to Read Minds and Influence People – Gilded Balloon

Edinburgh Fringe: Doug Segal: How to Read Minds and Influence People – Gilded Balloon

Reviewer: Selwyn Knight

Ex-advertising executive and psychology graduate Doug Segal has been described as “Derren Brown, but funny”. This isn’t a bad comparison at all. He freely admits to using suggestion, reading of minutiae, statistics, showmanship, lying and cheating – but not magic – to achieve his effects. Nevertheless, most of his act is simply astounding. Incredibly personable, he immediately gets the audience on his side so that when he suggests that a particular outcome would be worthy of a standing ovation, he gets it. He seems to be able to predict events with uncanny accuracy, as when a sealed envelope, on view throughout the show, is opened and contains the answers to questions given by a random audience member earlier. Similarly, his ability to spot when volunteers are lying and to recreate what has been drawn on a hidden card seem barely human. The undoubted highspot, however, is when he demonstrates the power of suggestion on an audience volunteer. The look on her face as she saw how comprehensively she had been manipulated was a joy to see.

Segal performed at the Free Fringe last year with a similar, if smaller scale, act. He describes this year’s as being the act he would have performed then had he had the funds. So it is enhanced by the use of cameras and projections that allow all to see, for example, that the number he predicted would be chosen by an audience member was correct. However, the power of his act is such that these adornments are barely needed.

Tickets to Segal’s shows are deservedly selling fast. If you can, get one.

Until 27th August

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