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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Marc Salem Mind Games in London (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

The Bear
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Got to see this over the weekend. I know this show has been posted on before, so I won't repeat all the detail. Suffice it to say that it was a great demonstration of "classic" mentalism, and not a deck of cards in sight. I thought the finale, combining blindfold reading with Q & A was very effective, as it made it less predictable (if you pardon the pun).
There are two types of people in the world. Those that divide the world into two types of people, and those that don't.
MarkAllison
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I saw Marc last night and was truly impressed. It was his performance that impressed me more than anything, and let's face it for a mentalist, performance is everything.

It was also nice to meet Ian, Drew, and Mark - albeit somewhat briefly.

Cheers

Mark
brownbomber
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Sounds like it's well worth seeing.

I'm hoping to go along to see Marc Salem's show tomorrow - is it sold out or can you still get tickets on the day?

bb Smile
Martin Pulman
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While I agree that Marc's show is highly entertaining, I do wish he would improve his publicity appearances.He has twice guested on the ITV show THIS MORNING(UK), and twice practically exposed his methods through what seemed to be panic. Don't get me wrong I am a fan of Marc Salem, but these performances were far from his best.
Drewmcadam
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Well, he has a chance to redeem himself on the Graham Norton show on the 20th. Good luck to him, I say. That aside, the reviewers LOVE him - have you READ some of the reviews? One said: "The most dazzling show in London's West End" to which Marc said: "Haven't they SEEN the Lion King?" Typical - self-effacing. A lovely man who obviously enjoys the company of his audiences. He deserves all good fortune. If only we could involve the audiences in the fun, rather than try to impress them. There's a lesson to be learned here somewhere!

Oh yeah, I know you'll like this. Marc's answering service says: "I knew you'd call..." and the sign on his dressing room door reads: "Don't knock - I know you're there."
Jonathan
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Since I can't make it out to one of his shows (unless he comes to Oklahoma, USA), what is it specifically that makes his show so enjoyable? I'm assuming it is his presentation/performance...but what does he do that makes it so good? Is he really funny is that it? Is his personality just very charismatic? Is it his patter and the way he presents the effects making them seem more amazing? What specifically did you mean by involving the audience in the fun?

Jonathan Grant
brownbomber
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I saw Marc's show last Thursday and enjoyed it. It's not what I would call 'state-of-the-art' mentalism but his presentation and patter is excellent. In fact, even though several of the effects failed, the whole crowd thoroughly enjoyed themselves (and they certainly weren't as sensitive as I am to the mechanics). Personally, I prefer an edgier approach to mentalism - but you can't help but like Salem's personable and humorous approach.

bb Smile
Paul
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Marc tells me his show has now been extended through until the end of June so still plenty of time for British mentalists to see him Smile

Paul.
MarkAllison
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Jonathan,

I went to see Marc based purely on recommendation from The Cafe, so really didn't know what to expect.

The overwhealming aspect of his performance is that he's so likeable. His show involves an awful lot of audience participation and he treats all of the vounteers with the utmost coutesy and respect. So when the volunteers do get up, they're not worried that he's going to embarrass them or belittle them.

There is also a lot of humour involved. He does make some jokes at the expense of the audience and volunteers, but they're good natured and he immediately follows them by apologising and saying that he won't do it again. This comes across in an honest and sincere way which only endears the audience to him further.

His show contains some very strong routines that have clearly been performed many times giving the show a nice pacing, there's very few slow points in the show and nothing goes on too long so that the audience begins to lose interest and / or get bored.

There's a nice variety to his routines resulting in very little repetition. Again this helps with the pacing as an audience is much more likely to get bored if they're seeing something that looks the same as an earlier effect (even if the method is totally different). Most of the non-magical audience members (as well as some of the magical ones) were truly astonished at the climax of most of the effects in the show.

Mentalism is much more about the performance than the method, so all of the above points should really be combined to justify that he's an accomplished mentalist Smile

So in a nutshell, Marc Salem's Mind Games is 90 minutes of impressive effects being delivered by a likeable and funny performer.

Cheers

Mark
Drewmcadam
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Well summarised, Mark. One additional point; the real beauty of Marc's show is that the audience come away feeling that they have LEARNED something. Marc is very strong on teaching (it's his first love), and it certainly comes over in his show.

Drew
Dr Omni
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Saw the Marc Salem show the other night. On the whole, it was very impressive. There was only a fairly small audience, as it was the night of the Arsenal v Man Utd football match (soccer to those on the other side of the pond). This worked slightly to Marc's disadvantage, as he sometimes came up with "signals from someone in the audience" which didn't follow through. Marc is definitely a born showman, with a sharp line in repartee.

I think that some of the effects worked more successfully than others. The strongest was when four volunteers on stage drew a picture, and then he appeared to use "reading of body language" to return the correct picture to each spectator. I think that in this day and age, people are more impressed by a mentalist claiming to be able to read subtle body language (a la Banachek, Kenton Knepper and and Derren Brown) than they are by the claim to be a "psychic" (a la Uri Geller in the 1970s). Because the scientific evidence to "prove" telepathy, PK, clairvoyance and predictions simply hasn't come through, most people today would assume that such demonstrations are a trick, even if they don't know exactly how the trick is done.

I felt that Marc's "blindfold" routine would have been more effective if it had been shorter. Unfortunately, he did slip up once during the routine when he pointed to the second hand on a spectator's watch (which supposedly he couldn't see!)

It was good entertainment, and has made me decide that when I do my first mentalism show I will present myself as capable of "reading body language" and "unconscious communications" (what I've actually read, of course, is people like Tony Corinda, Bob Cassidy and Banachek).
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Jonathan
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What does he teach exactly? Thank you for your reports, I copied it and will keep it to look back on. Points to really keep in mind!

How does he use body language to supposedly divine drawings? How is that rationale explained? Just curious as I might want to add that bent to some of my effects.

Jonathan Grant
Dr Omni
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Marc's "day job" is a psychologist living, I think, in New York City. As part of his patter, he says that he's done psychological consulting for the US intelligence services, law enforcement and court cases in the US, and Sesame Street, as well as academic teaching of psychology. Far as I know, this is true.

But of course, with any performer you have to draw a distinction between image and reality. Also, there's a distinction between presentation (including patter) and method. With the drawing routine in his London show, he invited four members of the audience up on stage, then gave them each a large piece of paper and asked them to draw something while his back was turned. Then the four drawings were mixed and handed to him. He asked each of the four to answer "no" to the question "Is this your drawing?" when the drawings were shown to the four. He showed the first drawing, each person answered "no", and he handed the drawing to the person who had drawn it, explaining that he could tell that that person was lying from the way he stood in a "defensive" posture, or avoided eye contact (or some other patter). This was then repeated four times.

It's quite likely (even, I think, very probable) that he actually used a much simpler method to know who had rawn each picture (think of a different spelling of Mr Salem,'s first name - hint, hint), but was was impressive to me was the presentation.

Banachek and Britain's own Derren Brown is also very strong on this kind of thing, a presentation and patter about "reading subtle body language" and the like while probably relying on a much simpler device. The actual method used is less important. As Shakespeare has it, "The play's the thing."
Hypnotist and mentalist.
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MarkAllison
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He explains that he's using body language / lie detecting techniques to devine drawings - which is plausible from the spectators' viewpoint, although the actual method is somewhat different to that.

When I saw him he showed each piture to each participant in turn and told them to say that they didn't draw the picture. Obviously the person who actually drew it had to lie. He then explained the physiological response that the 'liar' made which enabled him to correctly identify them.

Cheers

Mark
Mr Amazing
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The presentation for the pictures is, I think, Tony Griffiths. It is briefly described in Lesleys Paramiracles.

Omni - I also found the blindfold thing a bit too long, but I imagine that if I didn't know the method (or rather - if I accepted that is was for real), that would not be the case.

/Matias
Bruno
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Yes Marc Salem is good if a little dated, but we will need the next generation of stage mentalism pretty soon, like now, if the art is to be revived and turned into the new 'rock n roll'Derren Brown is leading the way and I believe it will happen. We need edgy, imaginative, low tech routines with high entertainment value. The time is ripe mentalism is the new Rock n Roll.
Jonathan
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Most will disagree with me but I believe David Blaine IS the next generation's mentalist. Sure he does silly magic tricks and old mentalism stunts but his style reached the world with his serious "I have weird powers" persona. He made that stuff cool for a LOT of younger people who don't think that stuff is very "x-generation". JMO

Jonathan Grant
The Bear
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It's interesting to hear a couple of opinions about the blindfold routine being too long. I had read something similar before I went so was expecting a long routine, but on the day, it actually seemed to fly by. I think the thing that kept it going was by Marc interspersing the object reading with calling out details about several audience members.

I agree with the comments that the 'psychological influence' explanation is more plausible that the 'psychic' one, though in all probability there's room for both of these styles. After all, if all mentalists suddenly went down the psychological influence route, then the one that chose to stick to a psychic explanation would suddenly become the most interesting to a lay audience, by virtue of being 'unique'.

I think the most important thing is to be true to your own persona, and perform in the style with which you are most comfortable.
There are two types of people in the world. Those that divide the world into two types of people, and those that don't.
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