During the second week of the Melbourne Magic Festival, I witnessed the mind reading genius of Max Maven in his self titled show ‘Max Maven’. Max was the second International headliner of the festival and visited us all the way from California, USA. Before I write this review I must mention – Yes, he did have a fantastic accent and narration voice (something I thoroughly enjoyed, along with his dry sense of humour) and No – he did not read my mind (though perhaps that was for the best). I also must confess that I have been delaying this review on purpose – it is a challenge to succinctly write about a mind reader who knows when audience members are thinking in colour!
Max Maven appeared as if from a faraway land and was dressed in dark robes with a piercing stare as he considered his audience. From the moment he glided to the microphone, I knew the audience was in for a very special evening. Max commenced his show with a surprising card effect involving an audience member he selected. I stared in disbelief as exactly the same card kept returning to the audience member even though Max appeared to make it even less likely for the card to appear again (even after what it seemed like 10 times in a row!). Max seemed to have such control over his audience members that he knew where certain audience members would sit when they approached a row of chairs on stage. I stared on in disbelief, hoping that my mouth wasn’t too ajar however I’m sure that if he caught my eyes they’d have been wide with wonder (and perhaps a touch of apprehension!). My favourite moment of the entire evening was Max correctly guessing an (obscure!) item from a lady’s handbag and then guessing what the same lady had drawn on a sheet of paper – all while completely blindfolded via duct tape strapped over his eyelids. My jaw dropped when Max announced that even though his helper from the audience had drawn an image in black and white, she was thinking of the image in colour!!! I have seen some mentalism / mind reading over the years but never a statement so finely tuned as that.
I left the show honestly questioning many things: where I was in the world, how much one can know about their own mind when a mind reader can pick when people are thinking in colour or not and which chair other audience members are going to sit on. I left the show with my day emptied but my mind full.
Verdict: if you come across the opportunity to witness the marvels of Max Maven, take the opportunity and see his show! I found it mind expanding and a magic experience like no other and I’m sure you will too.