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LUKE JERMAY: SIXTH SENSE – Leicester Square Theatre, London.

luke jermaySixth Sense is as puzzling a show as you are likely to find.  Luke Jermay does not present with the usual flamboyance of the spiritualist/mindreader genre, and more interestingly he doesn’t go along the lines of performers like Derren Brown in denying the existence of the magic that he appears to be performing.  His straight forward and low key delivery is played honestly and seriously, and to all intents and purposes he performs feats that ought to be impossible.

Asking the audience to have an open mind, and challenging his volunteers to see if their curiosity can outweigh their scepticism, Jermay is a master in getting his audience on side.  He is quick-witted, funny and entertaining, the show features only himself and eight volunteers who are selected at the top of the show and invited to spend the evening sat onstage on obligatory Victorian bentwood chairs à la old-fashioned séance meetings (there is even a token Ouija board at the back of the stage which remains happily unused during the show…).

Beyond the early and more obvious feats using decks of playing and tarot cards, there are some astonishing pieces of mentalist performance on display.  The name of the person with whom you had your first kiss; objects described from randomly selected books; the name of your childhood best friend… each presented in such a way that the volunteer is totally bewildered and so that the audience as a whole has almost no choice in beginning to believe what they see.  No flim flam, no emotional overcooking and no waffling. Straight-forward hard and fast facts about people in the room.

I left entirely unsure whether we had been bamboozled or whether we had in fact witnessed the impossible, and at this stage I have to declare an interest… I studied and worked as a magician for a while in my past, and I am therefore usually rather dry and nonplussed about shows like this, having some clue or other as to a possible methodology that might be going on.  Not so here.  This was either incredible manipulation of a room full of people or – and I can’t bare that I am about to say this – it wasn’t. It was mindreading. Crikey.

Either way it doesn’t matter – give up trying to understand it, go in open-minded and enjoy the evening for what it is. Incredible.

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Reviewed 09/07/13

By Jamie Read

9th – 13th July 2013
Leicester Square Theatre, London, WC2. 

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Photography by Kippa Matthews

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