A mind reader who can't read minds but who's a bit more honest about it? The Tui billboard writes itself really, doesn't it? Except, with Chris Cox it about sums up his act.
As you wander into his latest show, Fatal Distraction, you're greeted by ushers wanting to get you to fill out some information and provide a list of things for Chris to do in his act.
But even if you think you know where he's going to go with it, I can guarantee you don't have the slightest clue about where the journey's going to take you.
He's asked that secrets of the show aren't revealed - and fair enough, I'll afford this boisterous Brit that very courtesy - suffice to say, it's loosely an act which has a story thread running through it. One of those threads is that you're only one "What if" away from a different life....
However, the major thrill of this show is the audience participation - Chris' show is not one where you can sit back and not get involved; thanks to the hurling around of a soft toy, his victims (in the loosest sense of the word) are chosen and feats performed that simply have you sitting there, scratching your head and voicing out "WTF?"
It's very easy to be cynical about an act like this - sure, you can argue the suggestions are placed in volunteers' heads by potentially loaded questions - though, to be honest, if you're thinking that, it's a surefire sign that this quick talking Brit, a crown prince of distraction, has got under your skin and got your grey matter puzzling away.
Cox is enthusiastic, fast talking, funny, (albeit with a bad line in some corny puns here and there) and the provider of a great hour's worth of entertainment. It's cleverly masterful stuff throughout and it's guaranteed to leave you puzzled but greatly amused.
Thanks to a generally good natured and genial host, you're happy to sit back and be confounded; Chris is even generous to stick around afterwards to meet the crowd.
I'd wanted to go to talk to him and profess to know how he'd done it (I didn't have the first clue if I was brutally honest but pure swagger would never see me admit that) but sometimes, the magic is simply left alone and you're best to bathe in the glow of a mind blowingly good, brilliantly entertaining show which leaves you beaming from ear to ear as it finishes.
From the moment I stepped into the venue and was handed a pen I knew this show was going to be full of audience participation. This was not traditional comedy where the comedian stands on stage with just a mic for company: This was a set, with props.
Chris Cox is the mind reader who can’t read minds. However, he does a good job of making me believe he can do just that. The lanky Brit bounces on stage, charms the crowd with his self-deprecating humour and soon you’re swept along on a baffling, but thoroughly enjoyable hour of entertainment.
He's honest that he can't actually read minds and uses techniques such as reading body language, word association, and you know those props on stage aren't random, but his abilities are still, well, mind blowing.
To read more, go to: http://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/international-comedy-festival/6887612/Comedy-review-Chris-Cox
Blue lycra leggings aside, I would say Chris Cox is easy on the eyes, stomach and heart. As he pounced and stampeded across Q’s Rangatira stage last Saturday night, he made my eyes dart, supplied my belly with a ‘full-of-laughs-ache’ and ponder the existence of magic.
From go, Cox honestly repents his abilities as a mind reader. Then he anticipates thought after thought, and move after move. So maybe he was joking, maybe he can. Either way, it’s entertaining.
Cox oozed stage presence with his commanding pre-show voice through a loud speaker. Add legs plus all the rest and you’ve got a born showman and storyteller traversing a stage filled with his personal props. This even included a single clothes line. In the midst of his comedic hour, I couldn’t help but feel like he had us all pegged.
The audience is asked to fill in the gaps, and then decide, through kindergarten-like games, certain aspects of the woman and their relationship. Then, as though we’re in a comic Cluedo charade, Cox reviles to us - his bemused audience - that our responses were all predicted in advance. Even his inaccuracies turn out not to be inaccuracies, but rather to have been anticipated too.
Magic comedian or quippy anticipator, who knows what this young Englishman’s game is. Just know this: if you intend to be in Cox’s audience, ready yourself to hop on the Cox bandwagon and earn yourself a badge. Scouts honour, there’s a high chance of contribution, close to 1 in 5, that you will donate to the laughs personally.
Fatal Distraction is a clever, high energy game of “what if”. And Chris Cox is as self-described; aimless, mouthy, trashy, flashy, premature and rampant. But if you don’t leave wondering “how the f**k did he do that….?”, then you must have walked into the wrong show.