Mind Mangler
Rating: 4.5/5
Venue: Apollo Theatre, London
Cast: Henry Lewis and Jonathan Sayer

Join the Mind Mangler as he attempts a spectacular return with his West End debut two man solo show. Witness hilarious feats of mentalism spiral into chaos as he attempts to read your mind, mind, mind…

Following a sold-out UK Tour, and disastrous New York season, do not miss Mind Mangler at London’s Apollo Theatre, a guaranteed night of laugh filled magic and mind-bending silliness that will leave you gasping for breath.

Mind Mangler: Member of the Tragic Circle is based on a character originally created in Magic Goes Wrong by Penn Jillette, Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer, Henry Shields, and Joseph Teller. In this comedy show, the Mind Mangler returns to the stage announcing his upset to the audience about his cancelled world tour. He then tells us how a producer is interested in his work and presents his many talents throughout.

For a show that is part of the Mischief Theatre’s reign of productions, I would say that it is quite different to any other Mischief theatre I have previously seen (The Play That Goes Wrong, Peter Pan Goes Wrong). It has extremely hilarious moments, as well as some emotional and improvised moments, for which I applaud both Henry Lewis (The Mind Mangler) and Jonathan Sayer (The Stooge) for being so incredibly quick and clever with witty responses to the audiences reactions and remarks. The show could be described as a pantomime in some senses, with the actors' non-stop jokes and bantering with the audience, but also has a slightly more mature feel than other Mischief Theatre Group productions.

From the moment you enter the auditorium you feel a part of the show; in the sense that as you enter you're given a card that you're encouraged to write on. I’d recommend that if you are coming to see this show (which you absolutely should because it is one of the best non-musical shows on the stage as of now) you should bring something to write with as they have a few pens to hand but not many. This card is then used shortly into the first act where it becomes the first part of the immersive experience during the production.

This set design, by Sara Perks, can be described as feeling as though you're watching a comedy television show, with simple but eccentric set. The lighting design by David Howe gives a stereotypical dressing room vibe to the set. During this interactive show, they brought out microphones and a phone camera, that linked to the main screen on stage, showcasing the audience. I really liked this aspect as it kept me engaged and in anticipation of what could happen next in such an unpredictable show. While some parts are scripted, there are moments where audience members could say or do things that Henry Lewis and Jonathan Sayer could not foresee, which means they'll never be two shows the same!

Even during the interval, the cast are very interactive and encourage you to help with one of The Mind Mangler’s tricks in the next act, which is incredibly fun, because not only do you get the chance to go on stage, but also feel as though you're part of whatever happens next when the magic show continues.

The second acts explores the story of the Mind Mangler, giving him both a name and a backstory as to why he began the magic show that you are watching. This section highlights where this production gets it's name from, 'Mind Mangler: Member of the Tragic Circle', and offers more emotional moments. However, all is resolved towards the end where we're given a very heart-warming and deserving ending to the delightful show! I had an extremely pleasant time watching this Mischief Comedy production.

You can book tickets to see Mind Mangler at the Apollo Theatre, here.

Review by Emma 

**photography by Pamela Raith**

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