Possible stooges aside, sceptical reviewer, Grace Robinson found herself almost falling under duo Colin Mochrie and Asad Mecci’s hypnotic spell
“Hypnosis: the induction of a state of consciousness in which a person loses the power of voluntary action and is highly responsive to suggestion. Improvisation: something that is created spontaneously or without preparation. And what happens when we bring these two things together? HYPROV.”
Enticing, right? This is the introduction to the Fringe’s latest hypnosis show, Hyprov, given by a thundering voice that rained down on the audience accompanied by dramatic symphonies and frantically darting lights. Standing back-to-back on the stage were Who’s Line Is It Anyway star Colin Mochrie and master hypnotist Asad Mecci, who would be improvising and hypnotising enthusiastic members of the audience throughout the evening’s performance.
They explained the process to the crowd, and then invited viewers keen to be subjected to the hypnosis process to join them onstage. It didn’t take much persuasion, and audience members flew eagerly up onto the stage, jostling to bag a place on the seemingly much-coveted circle of chairs.
I, however, was firmly glued to my seat. I must admit, I was (and possibly still am) quite the sceptic when it comes to hypnosis, however I was determined to keep an open mind during the show and take what I saw before me at face value. Mecci began the hypnosis process, his slow American drawl hard to resist as he instructed “rest your eyes, go to sleep, and fall deeper and deeper into the hypnosis.”
Tempting as it was, my attention was however too caught up on stage by a young blonde girl who had completely slumped in her chair, head lolling forwards onto her neck. My friend leaned over and whispered to me, “Check out that girl, she’s wasted.” She certainly seemed it, and titters that arose from the crowd as they noticed her, morphed into side-splitting laughter as Mecci instructed those on stage to imagine they were driving a car, and the girl, still slumped, slapped one hand on her imaginary steering wheel and produced an imaginary beer with the other, supping as she drove.
Was she faking? Who knows, but Mecci selected her from the 15 people on stage for the five that would take part in the performance and sent the others back to their seats to a round of applause from the crowd. From here Colin Mochrie graced the stage and the real show began, Mochrie suggesting a scenario and the audience filling in the gaps.
The first was a job interview. For a funeral director… specialising in clown deaths. Oh, improv. The young blonde girl was naturally picked as the first participator (victim?) and gave plenty of laughter-inducing answers (“I used to be a clown myself so I think I would be well suited to the role”), occasionally giving a blood-curdling scream into the microphone whenever Mecci touched her shoulder, such was the hypnotist’s instruction.
More scenarios played out to the delight of the crowd. A young boy was instructed to provide the incorrect animal sound effect, continually bleating a “Baaaaa” into the microphone in response to “dog” and “cat,” a girl insisting to Mochrie’s “police officer” that the only reason she had broken into the zoo late at night was to retrieve her phone that a monkey had stolen, and finally, an improvised voice-orchestra from all five of the hypnotised participants whose sound effects had the audience in stitches.
So, was it real? I’m still not completely sure. However, real or not, it was most certainly a hell of a lot of fun