Aaron Calvert: Declassified
- Rowena McIntosh
- 16 August 2018
Channel 4 star recreates urban legends on stage
As the audience take their seats to see Aaron Calvert, star of Channel 4's Hello Stranger, there's a video playing on stage with giant lettering stating 'everyone can be hypnotised'. Calvert describes it as something we have all felt: the state between being awake and being asleep. Everyone who sees the show has the chance to experience the sensation, as listening to the persuasive timber of Calvert's voice, he leads a group hypnosis.
The show is framed around the fact that the CIA used to keep classified files on known psychics. In Declassified Calvert delves into these files, to recreate urban legends on stage. Under his charismatic instruction people read minds, forget basic skills and achieve feats of wonder that fill the auditorium with amazed gasps.
Full disclosure: I was invited on stage to take part at one point, and can attest that Calvert creates a comfortable space for his participants, even those used to lurking alone at the back. No one is made to do anything daft, on the contrary they get to impress the audience. It's not a reveal a minute, hypnosis and mind-reading require more build-up than sleight of hand magic tricks but during Declassified Calvert carefully crafts an atmosphere of shared wonder in a show so involved with the audience, it's guaranteed to be different every time.
Gilded Balloon at the Museum, until 26 Aug, 6pm, £10-£12 (£8-£10).