MIND OVER MATTER: THE MENTALIST, GERRY McCAMBRIDGE,
By Esther Lynn
There are many different styles of "magic" in the world - from intimate close-up and sleight-of-hand, to very impressive grand and large illusions and displays of "escapology," primarily of the Chinese Water Torture-type performed by the late Harry Houdini (and, in Las Vegas, occasionally by Mr. Dixie Dooley). In Las Vegas, magicians including Siegfried and Roy, Lance Burton, David Copperfield, Rick Thomas and Dirk Arthur have been, prominent on marquees up and down the Strip for years, so magic isn't a rarity in this part of the world.
What is a rarity, though, is a "magician" of another sort, currently on the marquee at the Stardust Hotel & Casino. His style of "magic" might be referred to as "sleight of mind." This amazing fellow's name is Gerry McCambridge and, unfortunately, his name won't be on that famous, star-covered Stardust marquee for much longer. The award-winning mentalist, who won a worldwide following with one groundbreaking network TV show, will end his run at the Strip hotel/casino on October 25, due to the property's announced November 1st closing.
In a relatively short period of time, McCambridge, who moved here from New York in July of 2005, has made quite an impression in Las Vegas. Following a successful 47-week engagement at the primarily locals JW Marriott hotel/casino in the Northwest part of the city, a job originally scheduled to run for three-weeks, McCambridge made his Las Vegas Strip debut on June 2 at the Stardust Resort and Casino. On July 21, after just six weeks in a 250-seat room off the shopping arcade, when the hotel/casino's 850-seat mainroom became available following the closing of the Headlights & Tailpipes production, McCambridge took over the 9 p.m. time slot. Moving from a 5 p.m. show time to 9, proved to be a positive one.
McCambridge earned international attention two years ago when he starred in an NBC television special, "The Mentalist." Overwhelming acceptance to the show prompted repeat airings all over the globe, including in Africa, Australia, Europe and Asia. He has also amazed TV audiences with appearances on the Today Show, Late Night with David Letterman, Soap Talk, The Vegas Show and The Best Damn Sports Show...Period. The International Psychic Entertainers Association voted Gerry McCambridge Best Entertainer in Comedy and Mentalism.
In an unusual blending of comedy, mind reading, intuition and a fascinating ability to predict behavior, McCambridge has managed to collect an impressive fan base, among them Muhammad Ali, Howard Stern, Dennis Miller, Donald Trump, David Spade, Courteney Cox, David Letterman and Tim Burton. Hotel owner Steve Wynn called McCambridge one of the most unique acts he has ever seen. Numerous celebrities, as well as major corporations, have hired McCambridge to entertain and amaze at private events.
A performer for more than 20 years, it appears that Gerry McCambridge is able to read minds. During his show, audience members select each other as volunteers in order to show there are no tricks up The Mentalist's sleeves. One segment involved eight people, randomly picked from the audience. Seven of those people were each handed a large, sealed envelope. They were lined up on the stage and stood there with the envelopes held tightly against their chests. The eighth person was given a Las Vegas white pages phone book which she kept on her lap while she sat in a chair on the stage.
McCambridge indicated how many pages were in the book (1013) and asked an audience member to call out a number between one and 1013. When the number was stated, the lady with the phone directory was asked to turn to that page in the book. McCambridge then announced that there were four columns of listings on each page and asked another audience member to choose a number between one and four. When that number was stated, the lady with the book was asked to run her finger down the column and stop wherever she chose. When she stopped, another audience member was called onto the stage to read the phone number where the finger had stopped. That done, a number of other volunteers verified the phone number selected. The number was announced, loud and clear. At that point, McCambridge asked the row of people standing on the stage to open their sealed envelopes and hold up the pieces of paper that had been inside them for the audience to see. There, spread across the stage, a number at a time, was the phone number that had been the one located in the book.
Suspicious? Were there a bunch of shills planted in the audience? Was the whole thing a setup? We don't think so. McCambridge has a standing offer to pay $25,000 to anyone who can prove he uses stooges, co-conspirators or collects any secret information prior to his show. How does he do it? We would have to say, he does it very well.
McCambridge describes his act as a combination of natural ability and a learned skill. Can it be taught? Yes, he says. If, in fact, it can be taught, we would think it would involve just listening to your inner-self, not turning it into a clever act. I saw this show with a half dozen skeptical friends. We were mystified. We were impressed. Most of all, we were entertained. There certainly isn't any other performer in the city with an act like this. If you want to see something different while in Las Vegas, we suggest Gerry McCambridge.
Addendum: Now Playing at the V Theater in Planet Hollywood.