Doug Segal: How To Read Minds And Influence People @ Gilded Balloon
Doug Segal must be sick of the lazy comparisons drawn between him and Derren Brown. While they do adopt similar techniques of suggestion, psychology, misdirection and showmanship, Segal has the edge with his warm demeanor and razzmatazz looks of an 80s popstar. The crowd feels safe from the moment he bounds onstage, which is rare for a show that consists of large amounts of audience participation.
Tonight, the show is delayed by ten minutes due to technical problems, but Segal seems undeterred and what follows is an hour of thoroughly entertaining and impressive mind-reading. The show is supported by numerous video clips and powerpoint slides as he claims to teach us how to read minds. A camera operator also stands nearby to allow the crowd a closer look at some of the tricks and make sure that all is above board. The most spectacular piece of the evening consists of Segal taking just two minutes to apparently teach one audience member to read the minds of three others from the front row.
While the mind-reading itself is flawless, much of the comedy comes from the response of the audience and in turn, Segal's own reaction to that. Despite this, the show still feels fully-formed and would struggle to leave anybody feeling disappointed.