BWW Review: Mark Toland's MIND READER Baffles at Liberty Magic
When we meet someone new for the first time, we know nothing about them. We make assumptions about them based on the way they dress, how they talk, and what they tell us. But imagine knowing their birthdate, their likes and dislikes, and even their first crush - without the person ever telling you. That is the gift of Mark Toland. His aptly named new magic show Mind Reader reveals his passion for the art of mind reading while baffling and amazing audience members.
As Mr. Toland begins his journey into his audience's minds, the skeptics in the audience begin to question more and more their own skepticism. Mr. Toland has crafted this show with the audience in mind; instead of rabbits being pulled out of hats, thoughts are pulled out of minds.
The venue for his Pittsburgh residency is Liberty Magic, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust's new intimate theatrical venue dedicated to elevating the art of magic. It holds under 100 people and allows you to feel like you are not only watching the show, but that you are the show.
Participation is voluntary, but, from this critic's perspective, highly encouraged. By the end of the show, you know more about Mr. Toland as a talented mind reader and more about practically every member of the audience.
It's one thing to attend a 75-minute show by someone who does one trick right after another, but it's another thing to attend a theatrical performance by Mr. Toland. He is a natural entertainer; his ability to improv and bounce banter back to an ~at times tipsy~ audience showcases his craft of the skill and skill of the craft. Without giving away any of the allure and magic, Mr. Toland's show only gets more and more impressive with each mind hack attack, and his routine borders stand up comedy for the amount of laughs he receives.
Mind Reader is a show about living in the present, and although I am reflecting on this performance from the past, I have been sworn to secrecy from revealing anything more about his future performances. Mind Reader makes for a perfectly unique evening in Pittsburgh; allow yourself to open your mind and fill your glass, as Mr. Toland delivers a standout performance of mind over matter.
To see or not to see score: 7/9; Recommended Show
Photo by: Stephanie Toland Photography, Trainman Photography, and Sarah Elizabeth Larson Photography