Fringe review: Comedy Hypnotist Matt Hale’s Feelgood Factory

Comedy hypnotism may sit outside the comfort zone of some festival-goers, or at least on the fringe. But that didn’t stop 20 eager volunteers approaching the stage to be put in a trance on the opening night of this show.  ★★★★ ½

Feb 21, 2020, updated Feb 21, 2020
The Feelgood Factory: Matt Hale in action at one of his previous shows. Photo: Tenae Francis

The Feelgood Factory: Matt Hale in action at one of his previous shows. Photo: Tenae Francis

Fun is the theme of Comedy Hypnotist Matt Hale’s Feelgood Factory, and Hale delivered it in spades for those on stage and in the audience alike.

The UK performer burst on stage with some high-energy moves to warm up the crowd before simultaneously hypnotising the 20 volunteers. While this process was a little drawn out from an audience perspective, once the uninhibited talent began to shine, the hour-long show took on a life of its own.

About a third of the volunteers were in a deep sleep-like state on stage, too relaxed to participate much, while the others let their subconscious minds take over and followed Hale’s instructions to become mime artists, actors, dancers and singers, with hilarious results.

The family-friendly show in Gluttony’s Empire Theatre gained a lot of laughs from the audience but it appeared that those having the best time were the volunteers on stage, even if they didn’t remember it later.

Hales has just arrived in town for his first Adelaide Fringe after performing at the recent Perth Fringe Festival.

More than 90 per cent of Wednesday night’s volunteers were women, with the vast majority of those aged in their 20s. While under-18s were not able to be hypnotised, Hales went to great lengths to explain that the hypnosis was voluntary, safe and enjoyable for all participants. And the smiling faces of the tranced during and after the hypnotism told the same story.

As the show reached a crescendo that paid homage to Jon Bon Jovi, the audience, too, walked away smiling, and maybe just maybe a little jealous that they hadn’t rushed up on stage to take part.

Comedy Hypnotist Matt Hale’s Feelgood Factory is on at the Empire Theatre, Gluttony, nightly (except Mondays) until March 15.

 See more Fringe and Festival stories and reviews here. 

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