Performance review: Hypnotist Matt Hale: Top Fun! 80’s Spectacular

An energetic and hilarious evening of comedy, music and air guitar solos.

From sock dancing to comedic suggestibility, Matt Hale’s Top Fun! 80’s Spectacular contains high-energy humour cranked up to full volume.

An impactful opening comes complete with an 80s movie montage and the strategic blasting of tunes specifically selected to induce maximum nostalgia in the mostly middle-aged audience. In the first few minutes, Hale channels both Tom Cruise and Kevin Bacon, divesting himself of his Top Gun attire and using some Footloose (and fancy free) moves. 

Pop culture references, age-revealing movie quotes and song lyric recitations get the audience chanting and singing along with Hale, whose on-stage energy seems boundless – and that’s before the hypnotism aspects come into play!

Hale’s comedy hypnotism catalyses audience participation at its most uninhibited. The palpable excitement of audience volunteers is infectious from the beginning – in a good way – as the combined powers of mindfulness, suggestibility and undiluted silliness incites a series of raucous performances. The strutting, cheerleading, barnyard bleating and air guitar performances improvised by attendees are all accompanied by stage lights, smoke machines and an iconic 80s soundtrack, creating an atmosphere of unadulterated nostalgia and the sense that anything could happen. 

Watching the volunteers oblige Hale in unison is as fascinating as witnessing the performances themselves. The idea that they may be hypnotised gives people psychological permission to be silly, have fun and indulge in the kind of uncensored spontaneity not usually observed in public, let alone on stage in front of family and friends. 

Read: Performance review: Mr Snotbottom, FRINGE WORLD

Energetic, enthralling and genuinely funny, this entertaining combination of sight, sound and surprising suggestibility is a fun night for adults, particularly – but not exclusively – those who are fond of all things 80s.

Hypnotist Matt Hale: Top Fun! 80’s Spectacular 
Various venues in Perth as part of FRINGE WORLD
Tickets: $30-$40

Hypnotist Matt Hale will be performing until 19 February 2023

Nanci Nott is a nerdy creative with particular passions for philosophy and the arts. She has completed a BA in Philosophy, and postgraduate studies in digital and social media. Nanci is currently undertaking an MA in Creative Writing, and is working on a variety of projects ranging from novels to video games. Nanci loves reviewing books, exhibitions, and performances for ArtsHub, and is creative director at Defy Reality Entertainment.