Matt Hale Travels Back To The Hypno-Zone Of The '80s In Top Fun

Matt Hale
Our eclectic team of writers from around Australia – and a couple beyond – with decades of combined experience and interest in all fields.

Things are about to get totally tubular as hypnotist Matt Hale presents a brand-new show with an '80s twist as part of Fringe World in Perth.

Time to party like it's 1985 – Matt will bring his signature, award-winning and engaging performance style to Fringe World, combining the incredible abilities of the mind with the fun of (willing) audience participation – it's always your choice to be involved or not. No two shows will be the same.

Matt has three National Comedy Awards under his belt. He’s a regular presenter on Channel Nine, and he has hypnotised people all around the world.

Before bringing all the colour and excitement of the '80s plus the classic Matt Hale hypnosis to the stage in 'Top Fun', Matt answered a few questions.

Once again you've written a brand-new show, so what makes this one different?
You know my shows are always about the most fun you can have, so I'm embracing possibly the most stupidly fun decade there was – the '80s! There's been a massive revival in all things '80s, whether with younger audiences who are loving discovering the music, movies and weird things from then, or from those who actually lived through those years and love reliving them. The show all started with a terrible pun show title name on the resurgence of '80s classic, 'Top Gun', and I tumbled down the wormhole from there once I started listening to some '80s playlists. Gleefully tragic!

You're constantly in the top selling shows of Fringe, so what makes them so popular year after year?
I definitely try to make sure that when you leave one of my shows, whether having taken part, or just watched from the audience (always your choice of course!), I want you to be absolutely buzzing! I've tried to give them a real party feel. There are so many amazing shows at Fringe that provoke a whole range of emotions and meaning, but I think it's so important to be able to provide an hour of unbridled, pure, silly, fun as a complete mental escape from whatever else is going on in your life. I also get a lot of people who see the show, then either want to come back and jump up on stage and try it themselves, or want to bring a whole group of friends or family along to enjoy that same buzz.

There's always such a rush for the stage to take part – why do you think that is?
First of all, I always let everyone in the audience know that I want them to come up, feel amazing, and have the time of their life using the power of their imagination. Is it going to be silly? Absolutely! But what I also reinforce is that I have no interest in embarrassing anyone – in fact, I want people in the audience who don't take part, to be sat there at the end full of envy, thinking "damn, I wish I'd volunteered now!" Plus ever since I started doing these shows, I wanted to strip away the mystery of hypnosis, and I think my explanation at the start of the show really helps.

How come you send some people back from the stage?
It's always an open invitation to everyone to volunteer for the show, so consequently I have no idea who's going to be a suitable subject until they're up there. As I use a general group 'hypnotic induction' (the relaxing part!), it's not going to be the perfect technique for everyone. Some people might need longer, more personalised attention, or a different approach, but obviously that's not possible with the time constraints of the show, so I'm looking for those people who are able to relax and focus easily as we go through that process. However the same person on different nights can go from being sent back quickly one night to being an absolute superstar another, depending on what's on their mind.

What does hypnosis feel like?
We actually all experience it regularly. If you've done any yoga, mindfulness, meditation, visualisation, you've definitely used that same state of mind on purpose before. But you're also most likely to slip into that same state of mind accidentally when your find yourself daydreaming, zoning out! It's the ability to relax and focus on a thought so much that it starts to feel real in that moment. Much like we do when we get so involved in a sad movie, that we can even cry, even though you know it's just people pretending to do something that someone else has completely made up! People who take part, commonly say things after the show like "wow, I was aware of what I was doing, I just didn't seem to question it at the time!"

And finally, back to the theme of the show. Fave movies/songs from the '80s?
'Ferris Bueller’s Day Off'. 'The Blues Brothers'. 'Back To The Future'. 'The Breakfast Club'. Frankie Goes to Hollywood – 'Relax'. Spandau Ballet – 'True'. The Alarm – '68 Guns'. Grandmaster Flash & Melle Mel – 'White Lines'.

Matt Hale plays Studio Underground at State Theatre Centre of WA 20 January-5 February, Beer Garden at The Court 8-19 February and Park View Hall at Scarborough Sports & Community Club 11 and 18 February (Fringe World).

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