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Brain teasing on a grand scale

"YOUR brain will be hacked like a computer." Now there's a worrying statement. Lest we think Keith Barry is on a mission to uncover his audience's deepest, darkest secrets, the Waterford mentalist insists that he's not out to embarrass his hapless participants. Well, not at first, anyway.

Brain Hacker isn't a magic show. Instead, it's a riveting exercise in mind control and hypnosis. Or is it? Should we be sceptical?

Of course. Fresh from his recent TV3 stint, during which some of these stunts were tested, Barry knows that there are people sitting in the aisles who refuse to believe that a man can read another person's mind.

A cunning individual, our mysterious host invites the sceptics to join him – and they're not leaving Barry's side until every last bit of cynicism has been eradicated.


He doesn't plant "stooges". It's the reason he's brought along a handful of toy rockets. Catch one of them, and you'll end up on stage.

Once there, you could take part in a human xylophone experiment in which Barry teaches his new 'band' to perform a song (selected at random by a separate punter), without anyone in said band knowing what that song is in advance. Including Barry.

Sound stressful? Oh yes, Barry likes to complicate things.

If that's not enough, he's only gone and learned the answers to thousands of Google questions. Oh, and he can also make us see things. And he might just figure out your pin number while he's at it.

An intelligent, witty and extraordinarily committed performer, Barry (37) is confidence personified. Some of it is merely suggestion.

For example, there's a rib-tickling hypnosis skit towards the end. You know the drill – one audience member will think they're drunk; another won't be able to speak, and so on. Sure, it's entertaining, but you sense that at least one of them is putting it on for show.

Still, it doesn't take away from the fact that Barry has devised his best live set in years. It could do with a spot of editing (160 minutes is way too long, man), but he just about manages to keep the pace up with thrilling group workouts, lessons in science, and fascinating chalkboard exercises.

How does he do it? I don't know. I don't think I want to, either. Amazing stuff, Barry.


Running until April 18