Skeptics who attend the Mentalist Ehud Segev’s Anomal may wonder if the volunteers chosen by the performer to participate in the show are actually paid assistants; but I can personally testify that this isn’t the case, because Segev called me onstage for his grand finale. After successfully guessing the recent travel plans of several audience members, he asked me to read a personalized note that held all of that information. The note was stapled inside a miniature envelope locked in a zippered compartment of a wallet that my friend had volunteered to carry. A full day later, we’re still no closer to figuring out how he did it.
After the mentalist performance, one could sense other questions buzzing through the audience’s heads: How did the mentalist Segev guess the first letter of that girl’s name? How did he know what song was stuck in her head? How did he get that credit card to revolve around him like a satellite? And how did he bend those spoons without touching them? He’s so skilled a magician that it’s difficult to explain all of this as mere sleight-of-hand, close observation, and lucky guesses. In fact, it almost seems believable when the mentalist Segev half-jokingly claims that his powers are based in Kaballah, the Jewish mystical practice that originated in his hometown of Safed, Israel.
When he’s not dazzling the crowd with his skill, he spends much of the show talking about when he first discovered his talents and how this affected his relationship with his parents and his fellow schoolmates. Though he has some interesting stories, he’s a better magician than an actor. On the plus side, his stories have an inspirational message for kids, about surviving being “weird” in school. (One of the most enthusiastic audience members was a seven-year-old girl, who loved being the center of attention during a particular trick.)
For the most part, however, the mentalist Segev has great rapport with the audience and an eager-to-please spirit. Before and after every show, he can be found thanking each theatergoer for attending. Where else can you find that sort of hospitality in the theater?