God versus The Mind Reader
- Jo Bell
- 27 August 2013
This article is from 2013.
Performer Mark Cairns questions the human need to rely on misplaced theories for life's answers
We'll start with this: God versus The Mind Reader isn’t what we’d call cabaret, so its categorisation in the Fringe programme might throw you. That’s not to say it’s not an entertaining fifty minutes, just that’s its more a theological monologue with some tricks thrown in.
Mark Cairns is a New Zealander trying to prove that mind reading isn’t a real thing, by, well reading minds. The format? A number of audience experiments – choosing colours, songs, objects – which during the course of the show could convince many that he has Derren Brown-like powers of mental persuasion. In between proving his skills Cairns shares his personal journey, moving to Edinburgh to work on his show, breaking up from his wife after she ‘found God’ and battling with understanding why people need to believe in religion. There are parts that verge on the ridiculous and the pace could be quicker, but Cairns’ core concept – urging the audience to question the human need for answers by formulating often misplaced theories – is intriguing enough. Whether you buy into it or not, his charismatic delivery is extremely watchable, and the inexplicable final twist could win you over.