It’s Extremely Entertaining

“Mr. Newton is a stage hypnotist with the manner of a TV compere. He gets a great crowd on stage. They strain to be put to sleep. When the best of them fall, they fall like ripe fruit. He looks at the ripe fruit on the stage and picks out the juiciest examples.

After this, it is extremely entertaining for the rest of us. We congratulate ourselves on not having fallen for this guy’s charm. Mr. Newton makes it clear that hypnotism is an art with the maximum possibility for abuse – but he will take it so far and no further. He will make his subjects perform like schoolchildren. He will make one of them perform a striptease act – but without taking off more than one garment. He plays on that profound fear that the hypnotist may be both therapist and villain. He does not mind amusing us by pretending to be the latter”.

James Fenton, SUNDAY TIMES, Edinburgh Festival, 1982

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