Banachek’s Mind Games Live is an engrossing must-see show in Las Vegas. I saw the production at The Strat and three weeks later, I returned to watch it again. Banachek is described as a “world famous mentalist.” My conclusion: Banachek is not a psychic. Banachek is not a magician. He is an alien with super powers. That’s the only possible explanation for what he does.
This soft spoken man has an audience member pick a page from a book and select a word on the page. He identifies the word selected. No way! No – there are no hidden cameras, no hidden mics. None of that. In fact, he offers $100,000 to anyone who can prove he uses any aids. So how does he do it?
He tells us, “I’m not a psychic, but I do what psychics do” He is in fact, the only magician ever to convince scientists that he can bend and move objects with his mind. At each show, he does just that, bending a fork with seemingly no effort — just mind bending.
But there’s more. One lucky child is invited on stage at each performance and with Banachek’s instructions, that child bends a fork.
He selects someone and asks that person to read the last few numbers on her drivers’ license. Turns out he has already written those digits down on a large pad. Alien? Must be.
He has audience members write down random thoughts on pieces of paper. He verbalizes those thoughts. Gotta be an alien… Only explanation.
While you may not have heard of him prior to this show, rest assured Banachek been around. Ask Penn & Teller. Penn called Banachek’s show, “the greatest mentalist act in the world.” Banachek developed the “bullet catch” which was the closing illusion in Penn & Tellers’ show for many years. He’s worked behind the scenes with many illusionists and magicians including mega-star Chris Angel who, by the way, was at the Las Vegas opening to cheer him on.
Most of the show is about mesmerizing and intriguing mind games with the audience, but this master of his craft alarms and amazes when he performs an illusion reminiscent of Russian Roulette. He has audience members come on stage and select from a number of knives.
Two are real and are potentially lethal. The volunteers pick the ones to use for the stabbing. He lies prone as audience members fear that the wrong blades – the real ones – might strike him.
How can he possibly know the serial number on a bill from an audience member? How can he possibly call out the initials of a woman in the audience and then know who her celebrity crush is? Are all of these folks in the audience hired or pre-selected? I know for a fact that they are not. I knew some of them.
In the course of the show, you learn a bit about Banachek who was born in England, and was schooled in South Africa and the United States. He has been the recipient of many prestigious awards including the coveted “Mentalist of the Year” by the International Magicians Society. This is known as a Merlin Award. And Banachek deserves it for sure.
I’m told that Vegas producer Adam Steck of SPI Entertainment has been working with Banachek’s team for a few years to find the right venue for this mesmerizing show. The Strat Theater fits the bill. Banachek is a master of his craft and I expect this show will be around for a long long time. And with his mental powers, I expect he knows it as well. Go see Banachek’s Mind Games Live at The Strat Theater at the Strat at 4 p.m. The early hour works well if you want to bring the kids. Kids over five will find a lot to enjoy here just as the adults do. See Banachek’s Mind Games Saturdays through Thursdays. And see a master at work.