Fringe 2019 Review: ‘Hypnotic Hyjinx: A Comedy Hypnosis Show’
Illusionist Spencer Hojdila has returned to the Orlando Fringe, this time accompanied by fellow performer Daniel Cyral, for a mesmerizing evening of Hypnotic Hijinx. Don’t go in expecting anything in the way of framing story or production values; instead, this is simply a straightforward stage hypnotism act, exactly as you might see in a Vegas casino’s secondary showroom. Ten volunteers are drawn from the audience and subjected to standard relaxation techniques, supposedly sending them into a suggestible semi-conscious stage. Once “under,” the participants are encouraged to engage in embarrassing activities for the amusement of the remaining patrons, such as standing like statues, feeling freezing cold or (the all-time classic) clucking like chickens.
I’m no hypnosis expert, but I’ve seen many such shows over the years, and I’d estimate Hojdila and Cyral’s success rate during their press preview at slightly under 50%. Hojdila has a warm, easy-going persona that puts participants at ease, and he pulled off a truly memorable effect by making a woman forget how to count her fingers. Cyral’s style is more aggressive; he cajoles and manhandles subjects who are struggling to submit, and rushes roughshod over suggestions that fail to stick. As a team, their casual banter generates laughs, but extended introductions and odd personal digressions burn a lot of showtime. The meat of their routine doesn’t arrive until nearly 30 minutes in, and the leisurely 75-minute set could easily have been condensed to an energetic hour.
Hypnotic Hijinx’s entertainment value is highly dependent on the volunteers’ susceptibility to being hypnotized, or at least their willingness to play along and pretend, so your mileage may vary. But if you’ve always been curious about being hypnotized – or just want to sit back and laugh at someone who is – then take a risk and let Hojdila and Cyral attempt to cast their spell on you.
Hypnotic Hyjinx: A Comedy Hypnosis Show
Ages 13 and up
Thursday, May 16th 9:00 PM
Sunday, May 19th 6:15 PM
Thursday, May 23rd 10:45 PM
Saturday, May 25th 1:30 PM
Sunday, May 26th 9:00 PM