Monday, September 26, 2011

Curiouser and curiouser... - review of Robert Bone

Robert Bone: Demonstrator of Extra-Sensory Curiosities, at New Greenham Arts, Newbury, on Wednesday, September 7

MAGIC, feats of memory, achievements of mind over matter and hypnotic suggestion: Robert Bone, a professional magician and mindreader from Brimpton, crammed it all in to his 90 minute show and pulled it off with aplomb as he expanded his close-up magic and mind reading skills for a wider, and far larger audience at New Greenham Arts.

More used to performing his trickery while mingling with guests at social events, it was impressive that this was Bone’s first performance of his full-length show. He demonstrated well-filled arsenal of skills and techniques allowed him to bombard the audience with prestiges that virtually all hit their intended targets.

Particularly striking was his ability to sense objects while blindfolded with gaffer tape, slowing his pulse dramatically - verified by a midwife in the house - and demonstrating a memory feat by remembering specific words from three different books held by members of the audience.

Participants were selected at random to take part in various on-stage activities, including having their body language read to select the liar amongst truth-tellers, and selecting certain cards and letters, and having their hands glued together through hypnotic suggestion.

Of course it is impossible to write about this type of act without referencing master mentalist Derren Brown, a mention that Bone is unlikely to mind, as he quotes him on his poster. Similarly to Brown’s stage shows, Bone’s performance followed an arc, with all the set pieces being tied up nicely in the finale.

Dressed in a dapper three-piece suit, Bone had a delightfully affable air that appeared to make his participants feel relaxed, and an easy charm. It was a lovely, warm show, and while Bone may not yet have all the sparkle of a polished Vegas performer, he has a quirky persona that deserves to be seen by a larger audience than wedding guests. Saying that, his success as a wedding performer paid off on the night, as the audience included couples who had come to support him in his new venture.

Bone’s transition from magician-for-hire to stage performer deserves to be a success, and it can be hoped that his debut show, which was filmed for a showreel, leads on to exciting opportunities. And no - he didn’t hypnotise me to make sure I wrote nice things about him. At least, I don’t think he did...

  • First published in the Newbury Weekly News on Thursday, September 15, 2011

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