By Jay Menard
It’s very hard to review Mark Toland’s show — not because there’s not enough content or because it’s hard to describe, but because that’s the way Toland wants it. His show is about mystery and the unknown, which can be undermined by prior knowledge. Far be it for me to deny his request, so the best I can do is encourage you to see the show and experience amazement first hand.
What I can tell you that Mark Toland – Mind Reader is a fast-paced show that consistently hits with its tricks and feats of mind-reading. There were repeated gasps and expressions of, “how did he do that?”
Most importantly, Toland has a presence and a personality that is engaging and affable. He plays the small Procunier hall well, drawing us into his confidence, making us co-conspirators in the experience, yet still amazing us with his abilities.
Toland’s a pro — he mentioned that he spends the majority of his time working corporate gigs and it shows. He has a polish both in style and presentation. He is able to sow the seeds of doubt throughout the performance, only to reap added shock and wonder from the results of his tricks. He skillfully guides the audience through a one-hour set and leaves us walking out the door, thrilled with what we’ve seen and wondering how it was done.
The show is about mystery — something Toland references repeatedly throughout — and the end, without giving it away, is a perfect note upon which to conclude. We walk away not knowing — but that lack of knowledge only serves to fan the flames of imagination. It’s a celebration of mystery that deserves to be experienced first hand.
**** — four out of five stars
This review originally appeared on theatreinlondon.ca