Matt Hale’s Feelgood Factory at the Adelaide Fringe – Review
by Carla Caruso
★★★★½ – 4½ stars for energetic fun!
When I told my husband we were heading to a live hypnosis show, his first reaction was: “Oh, no, I don’t want to get picked out of the crowd!” His fears worsened at the theatre when he saw the huge semi-circle of seats onstage.
But WA comedy hypnotist Matt Hale – leaping onstage in a pink tee and ripped jeans – was quick to reassure the audience that it was a “volunteers only” show.
“I’ve got zero interest in embarrassing anyone. I want you to get better use of your mind.” By the end, he said, if you didn’t volunteer, you’d think: “Damn, I wish I had.”
“If I could control you,” Matt joked, “I’d be getting you to buy me drinks all night at the bar. [Instead] it’s about focusing a thought so much that it feels real in that moment; you go into a trance.”
As he explained, we often do this when we’re on our phones or driving anyway – that ‘highway hypnosis’ of ‘how the hell did I get here safely?’ – and purposely when we do meditation or yoga.
“The back of your mind takes over,” he said, adding: “You can’t be hypnotised against your will. It’s a two-way street. Afterwards, you’ll feel like you’ve had two hours’ solid sleep.”
My husband aside, Matt didn’t have a shortage of willing volunteers on the show’s opening night. Most interesting was watching how differently each participant reacted to Matt’s honeyed instructions. Some he dubbed “floppers” because they became a little “too chilled out” and nodded off. A few self-consciously giggled, not seeming to fully give themselves over to the experience. Matt, though, was good at whittling the group down to a core, who were willing to let themselves go.
The volunteers were made to do everything from ‘shoulder’ dancing to riding teeny horses along to Old Town Road, act like moustache-twirling baristas, and mangle a Bon Jovi song (later insisting they’d got the lyrics right).
Post-show, I asked Tory Bickley about her experience up onstage, and she confided: “It was quite surreal. I thought I would be nervous in front of strangers, but I didn’t have a care in the world. The first few tasks he gave us – riding the horse and [playing] air-guitar – I felt like I really had a serious job to do. If I did it onstage [not in] hypnosis, I would have been laughing so much because I would have felt ridiculous.
“Then … I’m not sure what happened. I think I became too relaxed. I could hear everyone around me making coffee [grinding] sounds etc. and instead I was quietly groaning! I think I had gone past the stage of following instructions and that’s when I went back to the audience.”
Hearing Tory’s description, I realise Matt was right. I wish I’d gone onstage too (despite my husband’s reluctance about it). Then again, maybe I still can – as the promo material says: “No two shows are ever the same!” I could make my return. My twin boys had a blast in the audience too.
Interesting tidbit: Matt also happens to be a TV presenter for Nine’s Destination WA and a former radio personality, and has written a bestselling book, Mindhacking Happiness!
For more information, please visit the Adelaide Fringe website.
What: Matt Hale’s Feelgood Factory
When: Until 15 March 2020 (shows at 7.30pm)
Where: Empire Theatre – Gluttony | Rymill Park, Adelaide
Who: All ages – including families!
All photos by Carla Caruso for Play & Go Adelaide
At Play & Go Adelaide we make every effort to provide accurate information to the best of our knowledge at the time of publication. We recommend confirming times, dates and details directly before making any plans as details may be subject to change.
Want to get all the latest events and activities straight to your inbox?
Subscribe to our weekly email newsletter below to keep up to date with our latest posts and find out all the best events & activities for Adelaide families. Newsletters are only sent once a week, and you may sometimes get a special offer exclusively for our subscribers only!