Perth hypnotist Matt Hale’s name is practically synonymous with Perth's Fringe World. The former TV presenter and radio personality has been a Fringe World staple since the festival’s inception and has regularly performed to sold-out crowds who have been hypnotised by his one-man shows which infuse comedy and hypnosis into one jam-packed hour of fun.
Hale’s latest show, appropriately titled ‘Bonkers’, has much of the same tricks of his previous shows that has left Perth crowds wanting more year after year.
Going into a Fringe show one never really knows what to expect and especially one that involves hypnosis, but Hale immediately quashes any concerns weary participants might have about what they’ll do or say under hypnosis. Hale assures audiences that the purpose of his hypnosis is not to embarrass or ridicule participants but to give them an opportunity to experience a different level of consciousness and asks the audience to volunteer themselves.
Participants included a mixture of enthusiastic volunteers and what appeared to be a few sceptics, but throughout the hour it seemed all had fallen under Hale’s hypnosis. Participants seemed convinced they were in all sorts of bonkers situations from being a headlining act at an air guitar competition, to being on the world’s most thrilling rollercoaster, to lifting some heavy weights at the gym. The participants perform the majority of their acts with their eyes closed and it’s always amusing to see everyone’s different interpretation of Hale’s instructions. Other participants were hypnotised to be convinced they’re anything from the world’s biggest star to being the biggest hypnosis fan or sceptic – which made for an interesting and amusing dynamic between the two different participants.
Hale knows how to work the crowd from the moment he steps on stage. Whether you’re under hypnosis or not, it’s easy to see why his shows regularly sell out – thanks to his high energy and unusual talent. While some Fringe shows can sometimes try too hard to push the envelope and rely too heavily on shock value or profanity to get laughs, Hale has always been consistently funny and amusing on his own terms.
'Bonkers' is a show suitable for all ages and is the perfect show to bring your children or your parents to. If you’re a fan of Hale’s previous work you will enjoy 'Bonkers' immensely, but if you’re looking for something new you might be left wanting to be cast under a different hypnosis.
'Bonkers' plays Piazza at Cockburn Gateway Shopping City, Redmond Theatre, Main Hall at Girls School, Preston Room At Rendezvous Hotel and Main Stage at Metro City (Perth Fringe World) until 14 February.