Strangers: Mindreader

Sun 5th – Sat 25th August 2018


Verity Kim

at 09:40 on 19th Aug 2018



‘Strangers: Mindreader’ mixes a daring theatrical element with the format of a magic show, and it definitely takes a risk. However, I regret to say that this risk doesn’t really pay off, and while the idea is interesting, the show itself is poorly executed and surprisingly predictable. The nature of the show makes it hard to say anything without giving a lot away, but I can promise you’re not missing much.

The lack of nuance in the acting seems to be the fundamental problem with ‘Strangers,’ and while I understood the general intention of the show, the prolonged moments of awkward silence dominated my impression of the entire performance, making it feel unpolished and simply bad. It’s never nice when you can’t distinguish between acting like a bad actor and just being a bad actor, and this dilemma encompasses my entire experience of watching this show. I could never throw the feeling that the actors were reading a script, and this show gifted me with what was by far the most uncomfortable moment of the Fringe.

The show's pacing also posed a major problem. The painfully awkward bits are stretched to be as long as they possibly can, and at often times it’s not quite clear how much of the palpable discomfort in the room is by deliberate creation. Every second feels intensely scripted and stilted, and there were quite a few moments when I was genuinely confused as to what the point of the show was.

While it’s interesting to see a show use the natural air of tension and expectation that magic creates, ‘Strangers: Mindreader’ lacks the sparkly enchantment of both theatre and magic, and left me feeling more confused than anything else.


Millie Haswell

at 10:40 on 19th Aug 2018



“No, no, I’m sorry, I’m not doing it.”

The magician we have been watching for about half an hour is flouncing offstage, exclaiming some very hammy and scripted lines, falsely raising my hopes that I can finally escape this theatre. No such luck.

“I’m really sorry everyone,” a stage manager appears onstage, “This has never happened before. I don’t know where he’s gone.” She is acting as though he performed some kind of vanishing act, when we literally just saw him barge past her in the wings towards the foyer. “Georgina, did he say he would do this?” The stage manager is addressing the techie at the back. A wooden, monotone voice replies “No-he-didn’t-say-anything-this-wasn’t-supposed-to-happen”.

We have just witnessed a string of mind reading magic tricks. They weren’t bad, and I don’t know how he did them, which I suppose is the point of the show. The magician, though, performed them with so much amateur dramatics (knuckle cracking, jacket removing) and yet so little personality that they were torturous to sit through. Never more so than when a pack of cards is being thrown around the audience for the purpose of a trick, and hits me square on the shoulder.

The beginning promises little, with the magician telling us about a childhood tumour and invisible (not imaginary, we are assured – that would be weird) friend who gave him the power of mind reading. I don’t really understand how that works, and apparently neither does the man onstage, as it is his aim to “Find out more about this.” He then proceeds to predict some peoples’ cards for a while, apparently forgetting about the tumour and invisible friend who taught him to do this.

Maybe the magician can read minds and predict the future – or at least make it seem as though he can. He just made clairvoyancy so irritating to watch that I couldn’t wait for the show to end.


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