Comedic hypnotist Matt Hale has become a staple on the Perth Fringe circuit but don’t think for one second that he isn’t keeping things fun, relative and fresh. The guy’s shows just get better year on year. This year’s aptly titled ‘Matt Hale’s Feelgood Factory’ includes everything from cunning social media hacks to communication with endangered sea-life.
Antonino Tati asks why people keep coming back for more of this guy’s madhouse antics…
Hi Matt! Not many people realise it but we are under hypnosis every day. One example you’ve brought up in your book is that hypnotic state we’re in when we’re driving; with so many things going through our mind, we easily manage to get from point A to B. What other examples of hypnosis exist in our everyday lives?
People talking to you while you’re engrossed in your mobile phone. You’ll probably start answering them, and [be] agreeing to things, but then when you get off your phone, you suddenly wonder what you just agreed to!
Congratulations on the success of your shows year after year. What do you think people enjoy most about the shows, and do you find some folks love coming back for more?
I think it’s the sense of pure fun and joy that people love most – being able to switch off from a usually hectic life for an hour, whether as an audience member or part of the show, and indulging in complete happiness and laughter. I quite often get someone after the show tell me they haven’t seen their partner relax and enjoy themselves like that for years. Allowing yourself to smile and laugh is an important part of life, and quite often that gets put to the bottom of the list.
It must be quite a challenge to change up your show each year. Where did you turn to for inspiration for this year’s show?
For the last couple of years, I’ve had people mention it’s always the ‘feelgood show of the festival’ so it was a natural progression to amp that up, and completely focus on that being the goal of anyone watching or taking part. As you’re aware, right from the start, I demonstrate that doing silly things makes you feel amazing – as kids we know that, as adults we somehow tend to forget that – so out of the gate this year, I show I’m 100% in with that, and provide an hour for others to join me and feel it too!
“My show has always been one to avoid the clichés, and so it’s fantastic to work in hot topics, music, events and trends.”
Do you find it’s important to reference contemporary culture; to remain on-point with what’s trending? I noticed, for example, that social media is referenced a lot… Also, does the content change night after night?
Absolutely, my show has always been one to avoid the clichés, and so it’s fantastic to work in hot topics, music, events and trends. Not only does it keep the show relevant, but I find the audience can really have some fun with it. There’s always a couple of viral songs/dances that seem to work there way in. Let the ridiculousness commence! [Currently Matt loves to work in the Baby Shark Dance and does a ridiculously good job of it].
You weren’t always a guru of hypnosis. In fact, you used to be a radio presenter. How did working in radio lead to a career as a hypnotist?
I always had a fascination with the mind, but I think working in radio really helped, as on radio it’s all about theatre of the mind. Your words alone on radio have to paint a picture in your listeners’ minds… Obviously, that leads perfectly into what I do on stage.
You also DJ’ed occasionally, club-style. Once I attended a Fringe event where you aimed to get an entire crowded dancefloor hypnotised. How different and difficult is it to hypnotise an individual, compared to hypnotising larger group?
With a large crowd, I’m not hypnotising them in the traditional sense – yes, I’m using a lot of hypnotic techniques – but essentially it’s more a guided visualisation. For some people that will really allow themselves to fully engage in those thoughts and for others, they may choose to dip in and out of reality!
Tell us a bit about your book that’s now available; what tips does it offer?
Mindhacking Happiness shows you how you can “self hypnotise” to feel the way you want… and run that on autopilot. Our minds learn good and bad patterns and habits all the time, so if we can use these the way it does, we’re definitely on our way to controlling our happiness and success.
What are a couple of fab Fringe shows you’ve enjoyed this year; what would you recommend to our readers?
I have to shout out to some of my magician friends who constantly amaze and amuse me on and off stage: Matt Tarrant – More Unsolved, Dom Chambers – Random, and Pierre Ulrich – Wacky Magic and Mad Science. Such a great entertaining and educational show for kids, that last one. Also, I can’t wait to see Djuki Mala again this year – they were definitely one of my faves from last year. Plus for something so ridiculously out there and incredible – the immersive theatre experience of A Midnight Visit is something you’ll remember for years.
‘Matt Hale’s Feelgood Factory’ is on at Megamouth at Yagan Square, and at other venues in and around Fringe World. Click here for dates, venues and tickets.
Matt Hale will also be making a special appearance at Lake Karrinyup Country Club for an afternoon of hypnotic fun on the 12th hole this Monday 4 February, in the lead up to the ISPS Handa World Super 6 Perth.