Robert Haley: Mind Reader
A consequence of the Internet Age is the widespread availability of filmed performances on video sharing sites such as YouTube – from stand up comedy to mentalism. Heading into Mind Reader, a mentalist show by Robert Haley who doesn’t profess to be actually psychic but rather employs suggestion and sophisticated observation, I had seen plenty of videos online of other acclaimed mentalists such as Derren Brown and arrogantly thought that this would prevent me from being truly impressed. How wrong I was. I left Haley’s show amazed – baffled in awe.
I was slightly late to the show and immediately upon my entrance I was randomly selected from the crowd and invited to come onstage. Haley asked me to think of a word and to write it down on a small piece of paper. This piece of paper was then discarded and Haley asked me to imagine holding a spray–can and to draw the word on an imaginary wall. He then started questioning me with a grin that implied he knew the answers already. Haley proceeded to write the word on a large piece of paper, showed it to the crowd and asked me to say it aloud. He was right. It’s pretty mind-blowing seeing this happen, but to actually be onstage and be involved in it was something on a whole new level.
What also makes Mind Reader dazzling is its claim that there is no magic involved. There’s no over-the-top flair. There were hardly any props. This was raw, and it worked. It made the show feel like Haley was playing with your mind, not just using cheap tricks.
Haley’s stage presence is charming as he engages the audience with wit and invites discussion. Despite his young age, it’s clear that he is well experience. However, there was a slight but detectable trace of nervousness in his stage presence. This was one of Haley’s relative “off-nights” (he erred on a few occasions but I heard whispers of a 100 percent perfect show the next night) so perhaps that influenced his presentation, but this is a very minor criticism.
Haley is certainly one of the most intriguing and talented mentalists out there. I don't know if he reads thoughts, or implants them. Highly recommended.