Friday, July 27, 2007

The Quantum Eye

Mentalism is the least impressive form of magic out there: it lacks the glitz of illusion, the energy of performance art, and the risk of escapism. If you're going to make a career out of reading people, you'd either better be infallible, unique, or extremely charismatic. Sam Eaton is, unfortunately, none of these things. He plays the mild-mannered card so much that the stage (not to mention the audience) often overshadows him. The line I heard most during his act, The Quantum Eye, was whether or not his volunteer wanted to bring reading glasses on stage. After a while, it hardly mattered that Eaton was able to act as a human lie detector; predict the times, numbers, and names people were thinking of (not really "show-stopping" secrets); or manage to get people to think they'd picked what he'd already preset before the show. Furthermore, his inability to perform "Transmission" (one out of eight acts), didn't impress me. During "Mnemonics," he seemed to be using physical cues from his volunteers' anticipation rather than the memorization technique he was distracting us with, and while that's probably exactly what he was doing, I'd be disappointed to think that I was bored into figuring it out. The subtitle to his show is "Magic Deceptions"; take the magic out of it, and it's just a series of transparent deceptions.

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