Keith Barry’s sinful delights

MASTER MENTALIST Keith Barry is back in Galway next week with his latest show, 8 Deadly Sins, which is on at the Black Box for two nights only.

8 Deadly Sins is based around tireless research Barry completed on the existing Seven Deadly Sins, with an eighth one of his own devising added on for good measure. In the course of the show, Keith brings his audience on a roller coaster ride of laughter, suspense, and amazement unlike anything they will ever have experienced before.

The show involves audience members falling into giant coffins, unaware of what fate will have in store for them when they land. Another routine sees people being selected at random to enter Keith’s confession box where he will be challenged to mentally extract their imaginary sins - reading their minds in the process.

8 Deadly Sins also features a life-risking daredevil escape the likes of which has never been attempted before.

“It’s completely different,” says Barry of the show. “For instance, unlike in The Asylum, the show I did last year, there’s very little hypnosis in 8 Deadly Sins. I try to make every show that I come up with different in terms of content and different visually. I think this will be the most visual show I’ve put together.

“Mentalism can sometimes be visually boring – there’s not a lot to look at – but with this show there definitely is. It’s a visual feast. Everything is designed to bring people into a fantasy world where they’ll laugh until their faces hurt, and hopefully be amazed as well.”

8 Deadly Sins broke box office records when it ran for five weeks at Dublin’s Olympia Theatre last summer and proved why the Waterford mentalist is regarded as one of the best in the business with its non-stop rollercoaster display of illusion, mind reading, hypnosis and the bizarre.

The show was showered with plaudits from reviewers, with The Sunday World stating, “It would be a sin to miss Barry’s magic”; the Irish Independent observing that “Barry had the audience in the palm of his hand”, and 98FM admiringly declaring that “Keith Barry’s new mind bending offering which will leave you mesmerised, how the hell does he do it? Outstanding.”

The show marks another triumphant step in the spectacular upward curve of Barry’s career since he broke through in the early noughties with his first TV appearances. It was not long before he began wowing American audiences, especially in TV shows where he plied his mindbending tricks on celebrities such as Colin Farrell, Samuel L Jackson, Justin Timberlake, Beyoncé, and Harrison Ford.

2011 saw the airing of his latest Discovery Channel series, Deception with Keith Barry, in LA. Keith has now starred in more than 40 international TV shows and they have been shown in 110 countries around the world. He is also a recipient of the prestigious Merlin Award (the magicians’ Oscars ) for Mentalist of the Year from the International Magicians Society.

Barry has come a very long way since his interest in magic was first triggered by a Paul Daniels Magic Set from Santa when he was five. Interestingly, NUI Galway can also claim some of the credit for launching him on his present career.

Barry’s wife, Mairead, studied psychology at the university and it was through reading her textbooks that Barry began to realise how he could fuse their insights with his passion for magic.

“I’d stay up late into the night reading her books, trying to figure out how psychology and magic would work together,” he says. “Then I researched and found out that this wasn’t a new thing. Way back in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, magicians, hypnotists, and mentalists had been mixing all the traditions together. I found out everything I could about what they did and used my own knowledge from my girlfriend’s books to teach myself how to be a mentalist.”

Barry has clearly put those early studies to good effect as his worldwide success attests.

8 Deadly Sins is at the Black Box on Friday January 13 and Saturday 14 at 8pm. Tickets are €30 and available from the Town Hall on 091 - 569777 and www.tht.ie

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