Posts Tagged ‘hypnosis’


Throughout this festival I’ve been hearing people rant and rave about Dr Stef and his hypnosis show. Comments have been wide-ranging, from “absolute farce” to “absolutely amazing”, so  I decided to get in on the action and see for myself what all the fuss is about.

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It’s almost a cliché that theatre is a kind of magic, and that every year the Festival casts a spell on Grahamstown. Spectacles that are beyond belief emerge in theatres and on the streets, as puppets come to life, audiences are transported in time and space and illusions become reality.

This isn’t the only magic that is Beyond Belief. Brendon Peel’s show of mentalism and illusion brings magic in another sense. His speciality is mind-reading, because the mind is where true magic can happen.

“What we’re doing is not some cheap kid’s magic,” he said. “We will entertain you.” Peel’s interest was sparked by a book on the performance of magic shows that he read as a teenager. “I then went to the library and took out every book on magic, and read them all cover to cover.”

He is not the only magician in town this year. Stuart Lightbody returns with two shows, Dark Imaginings and Stuperstition. He will open up the recesses of his audiences’ minds and explore their superstitions. Stuperstition kicks off with Lightbody devouring an entire bottle of sleeping pills, and moves through a range of superstitions, dissecting them to show how easily the mind plays tricks on us.

Another returning act is the popular Dr Stef’s Side-splitting Hypnosis. Stef Junker is a performer, hypnotherapist and owner of a paragliding company. His show, in its 18th run, is an enormously popular event, which has people smelling shoes, eating onions as if they were apples, and acting without inhibitions.

What to expect

Despite its long run, the show will offer something new with each performance. “I usually decide on what I’m going to do in a show about 10 to 15 minutes beforehand,” Junker said. Using only volunteers, Junker will put them under hypnosis in two different kinds of show, one for all ages and one strictly for adults.

With more on offer than just rabbits and hats, these performers aim to bring the skill of magic and hypnosis to a broader audience. “Go and see a sophisticated magic show. Put aside your preconceptions and discover a new art form. I feel like magic has room to grow in South Africa,” he said.

– Brendan Ward –

‘Hypnotic’ best describes this fusion of middle-eastern, Indian and African dance and music. Strongly influenced by the whirling dervish dances, and accompanied by slow-building visuals and spoken poetry, the performance intrigues, but does not satisfy completely. Feel the tensions between the internal and external universes as you are drawn into the whole experience. HH

Cape Town local, Dr Stef, known at Festival for his comedic hypnosis show Dr Stef’s Side Splitting Hypnosis, is getting serious about hypnosis and his role as a doctor in Stef’s Hypnotherapy Sessions. In a wetsuit and goggles, Dr Stef carries his kite surfing board, pasted with posters of his show, across the Village Green. He puts on his bug-eyed goggles and points to the woman closest to him excitedly. “Oh, it’s you! You’re looking gorgeous today. I made my show just for you!” But there’s a serious side to the man: he’s a “doctor” that can rid you of your smoking addiction, weight problems and anxiety about getting into the passenger seat of a car.

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Brilliant entertainment! A real festival hit! Dr Stef takes the audience on an unforgettable journey into the world of the sub-conscious. And if you’re wondering if it’s real… just come and see for yourself! NF

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