Illusionist review: Luke Jermay, Edinburgh

Luke Jermay
Luke Jermay
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MIND reading. Is it really possible? We have all seen the psychological and sleight-of-mind approach. But simply telling somebody what they are thinking? Well, if the gasps of astonishment are any gauge, then it would seem that the answer is yes.

Scottish Storytelling Centre * * * * *

Although Jermay is just one of the Edinburgh International Magic Festival performers, he is different. There is little – if anything – to do with the conjuring art here.

Blackout. The lights come on and Jermay stands centre stage. Bearded and heavily tattooed, he cuts an imposing – and slightly menacing – figure.

Five people selected completely at random select playing cards. Jermay tells them what card they have in mind. Fair enough. But he then tells them their astrological star signs. What?!

And that was just for openers. There were words and phrases selected from books.

He knew what they were thinking. People thought of their best friend’s names. He knew what they were thinking. One woman was even told – and verified that he was correct – the colour of her underwear.

Say what you want; to gain powers like this Jermay must have sold his soul to the devil.

But he was still just warming up. He went on to tell people intricate details of past events in their lives, and detailed accounts of their personal circumstances that only they knew. How could he possibly know that one heavily pregnant woman in the audience had packed a fluffy mouse in her hospital suitcase?

It should be genuinely scary. And yet his easy chatter and sometimes hilarious lines ensure that nobody feels threatened. Everybody felt at ease and in the safe hands of a seasoned performer.

So how does he do it? The obvious explanation is that he uses stooges. But a quick chat with those who participated, and their friends, will confirm that they are even more baffled than the audience. Utterly astonishing in the extreme.

The entire audience was left slack-jawed in amazement. It would seem that mind reading is, indeed, possible.

n Run ends July 5.

drew mcadam