Ah, the Edinburgh Fringe. Where with gay abandon the Whingers sprinkled 4 and 5 glass ratings around as though they were soon to be put on the ration.
London theatre has never quite lived up to Edinburgh since. And in an effort to recreate some of that August euphoria the Whingers have paid a couple of visits to the New Wimbledon Studio for their ‘Postcards From The Fringe’ season.
Phil drew a long straw Oliver Meech: Live Brain Surgery where “magic meets neuropsychology” apparently. The Whingers make no secret of the fact they love having their brains boggled.
The amiable Oliver Meech (a 28-year old Oxford University Psychology graduate) kicks off by being his own warm-up man (ah the economics of the fringe), inviting his audience to put on hospital identification wrist bands to establish the theme before popping off to change into his surgeons garb.
Now this was a neat move because Phil was was instantly discombobulated and it took him no little time to fathom how to get it on his wrist.
Meech returned to perform a slew of largely themed tricks with lots of audience participation. Almost everyone in the small auditorium was selected at some point. But not Phil. We’re not in Edinburgh any more, Toto.
A few tricks impressively involved the entire audience (though it was a shame that only the victim/patient saw inside the box through which he performed “brain surgery”). There are some Derren-Brownish mind-tricks but the set ups for each of Meech’s bogglements are much faster which means that he rips through an extraordinary number within the hour’s running time. It all proved rather satisfying.
His variation on “memorising” a whole deck of cards proved especially effective. The finale involving the audience’s wristbands was quite astonishing.
When Phil arrived home he realised he was still wearing his wristband and it was some time before he was able to remove it. It is not meant as an insult of Meech’s skills to say that in spite of everything Phil had seen, it was this apparently simplest of tasks that truly baffled him.