national Arts Festival Banner

Friday, August 10, 2012


Andre the Hilarious Hypnotist fascinates, and entertains, combining hypnosis skills cleverly with his brand of comedy and intimate knowledge of the human psyche. (Review by Rosanne Hurly-Coyne)

Andre the Hilarious Hypnotist has returned to The Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre after an absence of many years. He knows how to work an audience and draw them into a collective, albeit somewhat macabre fascination.

Both a performer and psychologist, Andre invites volunteers onto stage for a chance 'to become the star of the show'. If last night's performance at The Elizabeth Sneddon is any indication, he is not without willing volunteers. Not surprising. Most of the volunteers were under 30, leaving the 'oldies' safely glued to their seats. He turns away from the audience, and very quickly issues instructions to the volunteers, away from the microphone. This serves as hypnosis and soon volunteers were falling down on the ground, and at what he describes as level 3 hypnotic states.

He sends a large number of the willing volunteers back to their seats, claiming that although they might not be at level 3, they are still at level 1, even if they are not aware of it. This I found slightly disconcerting.

I believe that hypno-therapy can be beneficial to many people, potentially healing many psychological, or negative thoughts in the human psyche. However, I am still not convinced that it should be used for entertainment.

Andre did reassure audience members that the volunteers would suffer no ill effects after the show, and I am sure this is true. To me, some of the volunteers seemed genuinely distressed at times, and I battled to see the humour in this. This does not mean that the audience last night did not enjoy the show. The majority howled with laughter, and it was clear that they were enthralled. So, perhaps this kind of show is just not my particular 'cup of tea'

Andre the Hilarious Hypnotist runs at The Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre until August 26 on weekdays at 19h30 and on Sundays at 15h00. Booking is at Computicket. - Rosanne Hurly-Coyne