Mentalist in a Bun [by Guest Reviewer Tim George]
Going into this, I had no idea what this was going to be about. Everything from the title to the press photos to the description seemed perfectly designed to give you absolutely nothing. For Fringe, that seems like the right idea. After all, the whole point of the festival is that anything goes. It may go right off a cliff but that’s the risk you take.
As it turns out, when you go see a show called Frank the Mind-Reading Hot Dog, that is exactly what you get. Frank is a mind-reading hot dog. The show itself is like an episode of ‘The Mentalist’, only with more magic, mind-reading, and if the protagonist was a very sweaty man in a hot dog costume.
I cannot really describe his process. Something to do with the morphic resonance of chickens. Since hot dogs are made mostly from chickens, this makes them perfect for reading minds and moving objects.
The show moves at a good clip. Frank keeps the show moving by filling in the prep time for each act with bad jokes he pulled off the internet or trading barbs with the audience about his decision to wear crocs.
The show felt like a cheerful send-up of the whole idea of a mentalist. Instead of a cool, sophisticated man in vaguely theatrical evening wear, you get Frank. Instead of tired tales of the mentalist’s origin and techniques, you get Frank’s enigmatic response to a heckler wondering if he is wearing any clothes under his costume. Taking away all the pageantry one normally associates with mentalism, Frank the Mind-Reading Hot Dog concentrates on the act itself. The lo-fi aesthetic and Frank’s everyman persona contribute to make this show more than the some of its parts. It should go over gangbusters.
Frank the Mind-Reading Hot Dog plays as part of Auckland Fringe at Q Vault until 14 February. Details see Q.