Globally renowned mentalist and hypnotist, Keith Barry makes a welcome return to the Radisson Blu Hotel Athlone on Saturday, January 14, with his new and aptly named show - ‘HypnoMagick’.
It’s been a whirlwind year for the Waterford man again this year, with a particular highlight being the release of the second installment of the hit movie Now You See Me. Having already consulted on the first Now You See Me, Keith was even more involved in the sequel, which featured such star names as Woody Harrelson, Mark Ruffalo, Daniel Radcliffe, Michael Caine, and Morgan Freeman.
“It was an amazing experience,” Keith says. “On the first movie, I worked for two weeks on the script with Ed Solomon down in his studio in Santa Monica, and then I worked with Woody Harrelson both off set and on set. But on the second movie I was involved in working on the script from day one.
“I sat down and started jamming out ideas with Ed. After about a year the script was done and at the end of that process the producers asked me if I would go on set for all four months to assist all the actors in their various roles. It was great to see it all come to fruition in the end.”
Judging by the stories doing the rounds about Woody Harrelson running around hypnotising people and Dave Franco’s ability with a deck of cards, the actors were more than receptive to Keith’s teachings.
“Woody took it on as a method actor if you like, so he really wanted to learn hypnosis and mentalism. When I saw how dedicated they were I was happy to share as much of my knowledge with them as I could. Dave Franco took it so seriously that he would go home and practise for hours - if he continued at it he could become one of the best card throwers and spinners in the world.”
As well as rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous, Keith is also heavily involved in aiding people with issues like anxiety, motivation, and phobias, working with sports stars such as Scott Evans, Ireland’s badminton Olympic hero from Rio, and this is work he takes great satisfaction from.
“I suppose people don’t realise that, as well as being a hypnotist and an entertainer, for the last fifteen years I have been assisting people with anything from anxiety and stress to motivation and confidence. Scott was someone who responded brilliantly. By using hypnosis you can really teach people how to control their subconscious mind. So I did that with Scott and it seems to have had a positive effect.”
‘Hypnomagick’ promises to be another exciting mixture of hilarity and intrigue, and Keith is going even bigger this time around.
“For me, it is all about trying to creatively challenge myself. I keep notes from all 13 theatre tours I have done up to now and I always make sure that each show is completely different,” he says.
“The first half of the new show includes implanting thoughts in people’s minds, extracting thoughts from their minds, influencing their behaviour subliminally, and some colourful magic - not the standard stuff.
“There is a mass hallucination effect that takes place in the minds of the audience - so they’ll know that it is happening but they won’t be able to stop it from happening.
“In the second half I hypnotise the audience to do all sorts of outlandish stuff. I make them think they are part of a UFC fight conference. So I’ll have a Conor McGregor on stage with a Japanese fighter that can only speak his Japanese, and they’ll end up having a bit of an argy-bargy.
“There’ll be laughter police going around trying to arrest people who are laughing; air stewards and stewardesses will be giving the safety instructions and making sure everyone’s bags are in the proper position for take-off. So all kinds of stuff in the second half that culminates in a mass experience again to end.”
Keith’s new show is heavily audience-interactive, but nobody will be dragged up on stage against their will. “Over the course of the night close to a hundred people will come up on stage. I know some people don’t want to come up on stage and that’s fine - I have cameras I can turn towards the audience, so people can still interact from the comfort of their seats.
“I love playing Athlone. There are some venues around the country where people are very reserved and it is like pulling teeth trying to get them up on stage. But in Athlone people are running up to the stage to get involved, which obviously makes my job a lot easier.”
Keith Barry plays the Radisson Blu Hotel Athlone on Saturday, January 14. Tickets are available from www.ticketmaster.ie