by Denise Almas
Crude, crass, and utterly amazing easily describes the laugh out loud performance of Anthony Cools, hypnotist and comedian extraordinaire. The Anthony Cools Experience is a tremendous exercise in what can happen when you give someone else power over your mind, pushing you to do things you probably would not consider.
As you enter the theater, you pass a sign stating that you are waiving any rights to what happens in the theater and that the Anthony Cools Experience has the right to videotape and sell what happens during the show. At the start of the show, a little white rabbit greets the audience with warnings about the
vulgar language and acts that will be performed; however, the rabbit does issue caveats regarding specific words that may not be uttered. This bunny sets the few lines that Cools will not cross.
After establishing the boundaries, Cools first asks for volunteers as he does not hypnotize anyone who does not want to be. However, after the five minutes it takes to put his volunteers in a trance, he takes those people off the stage who did not fall into a hypnotic state and replaces them with audience members who did. Warning: Do NOT fall asleep if you do not want to be a volunteer replacement!
After collecting all of his volunteers, Cools begins to hypnotize them to do both simple and completely bizarre acts. At the simplest, he hypnotized one lady to forget her name. With a completely blank stare on her face, “Nikki” did not even know her name when Cools directly said it to her.
Another volunteer was hypnotized to believe that every time he heard Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” that behind was burning and the only way to put it out was to scoot his bottom along the stage. Of course, when hypnotizing this person, Cools used the least proper words possible in order to rouse the audience, intensifying the laughter and energy of the show.
Anthony Cools has always been fascinated with the paranormal, specifically hypnosis, and began performing in 1994. He advises the audience that historically people thought you could only be hypnotized if you were not very smart. Instead, he says the more intelligent you are, the easier it is to hypnotize you. According to Cools, the sharper you are, the more able you are to focus and visualize, allowing yourself to become vulnerable to the hypnotic state.
Volunteering at the Anthony Cools Experience is what makes the show. Every night is different as every audience is different. So, you are guaranteed a fresh show as no one can predict how the volunteers will react to the hypnosis. The only predictable part of this show is that Cools is a tremendous talent who is not afraid to push the envelope. Indeed, if you are not prepared to see, hear, and speak “evil”, then you will not enjoy the “experience”. Instead, if you are open-minded and enjoy outrageous shows performed by someone who has mastered an art, this show tickles the funny bone and hits the jackpot.