Psyche - Do You Mind?

Mon 12th – Wed 14th August 2013

reviews

Suzanne Duffy

at 21:57 on 13th Aug 2013

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0disagrees

It might sound like a major criticism of ‘Psyche: Do You Mind?’ to say that the two children under ten sat in the front row enjoyed it more than I did, but actually their reactions highlighted what was successful about the show: the fairly standard but nevertheless impressive and enjoyable magic. The clichéd innuendo went over their heads but they audibly gasped when the ‘host’ Leandro Morgado tapped a three-inch nail up his nose and were amazed by the mind reading monkey (actually the technical assistant dressed in a costume).

What failed was the showmanship clearly meant to appeal to adults in a show that was supposedly for over 18s. Morgado’s performance was a bloated mix of alter egos, deliberately bad jokes and awkward audience participation. The climax of well-engineered tricks was often undermined by cheap jokes at the expense of the audience member who had volunteered; while they were never cruel, they seemed unnecessary and were, on the whole, bad.

The overarching theme was supposed to be ‘the mind’ and what goes on inside it, but often the connection to what was actually going on in the show was forced, for example juxtaposing guessing the colour of an M&M by tasting it with somewhat random allusions to Freud and Ancient Greek philosophy. When Morgado dropped the magic altogether and aimed for comedy, reciting a beat poem about an annoying dinner guest, he was unfortunate in sounding unoriginal since there were echoes of the material of musical comedian Tim Minchin. The set of dark drapes with twinkling lights, the traditional home of the magician, defeated the attempt at proper comedy by providing an incongruous background and making the show even more discordant. The excellently executed card tricks distracted the audience from the new turn the show appeared to have taken, leaving them confused rather than laughing.

‘Psyche’ was a magic show that lacked conviction and pitched itself at the wrong audience for the sake of a few sexual gags. None of the elements were entirely bad individually, but it was unfortunate that they did not mix well together and that Morgado forfeited the chance to produce a really entertaining magic show.

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Ben Williams

at 01:21 on 14th Aug 2013

1agrees

0disagrees

‘Psyche – Do you mind?’ is supposed to be a comic magic show which revolves around aspects of the human mind. Unfortunately it falls short on all three counts.

The opening commentary via loudspeakers promised that ‘‘Psyche is a show about the brain’’ and, whilst this originally sounded promising, much of the content was forced and the theme lacked conviction. The idea of using parts of the psyche, synaesthesia, arousal, identity and the subconscious, could have provided the perfect backdrop for a witty magic show. However, all of this content is wasted by being placed on top of a rather mediocre comedic set up. References to psychologists and schools of thought initially sounded impressive, but they later came across as last minute attempts to reinforce the theme.

The comedic content was equally disappointing, with much of it dated or simply off the mark. Leandro Morgando, our host in the one man show (if you discount the poor man in the monkey costume), missed much of the comic timing which could have added great punch and pace to the script. What is more, much of the comedic content felt a lot like 'schoolboy humour', with any sort of sexual innuendo expecting laughter which never came. Morgando also added the phrase ‘‘it’s a Portuguese joke’’ to any of the punchlines which flopped. Unfortunately this became so frequent that the line soon became annoying rather than funny.

Yet, the majority of the magic tricks themselves were impressive, and this was the show’s main redeeming feature. There were no obvious solutions, and the audience participation added a personal and often spontaneous side to the comedy. Indeed, it came as something of a relief after vast periods of rather laborious stand-up. However, there remained a major flaw, many of the tricks 'failed' only to emerge later as the ‘punchlines’ to other tricks or jokes. In hindsight it felt clever, but whilst sitting through it, much of the show simply felt pointless.

As with many shows of this style, the success of each show is dependent on the audience itself. With another audience, perhaps the show could have received raucous laughter (for example from an audience of thirteen year old boys). Unsurprisingly, given its 18+ rating, it didn’t. As a result, I came out feeling disappointed and, to be perfectly frank, glad that it was free.

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