Review – Luke Jermay: 6th Sense

Jul 4 2013 | By More

✭✭✭✭✩   Get outta my head!

Luke Jermay

Luke Jermay

The Scottish Storytelling Centre
(Part of the Edinburgh International Festival Of Magic)
Sat 29 June – Fri 5 July
Review by Paul Johnson

There are places in Edinburgh where you definitely wouldn’t get away with calling someone a mentalist to their face – but Luke Jermay probably has the word writ large somewhere among the patchwork of tattoos that cover his body.

If he does, it might just have been paid for by his consultant fees to US mystery-detective series The Mentalist.

That Jermay has also been an adviser to Derren Brown gives an idea of the area of performance covered by the term mentalism. But where Brown bamboozles, there is something of the mystic about Jermay. And not just because of the Indian drumming backing tracks or the slightly unnecessary, ‘join hands with your neighbour and chant om’ scene.

Just when you think he might be cleverly reading body-language, Jermay cleanses his hands in a large bowl of water before clasping those of a volunteer from the audience.

Like a tap being turned on, the information flows from one mind to another. Correctly naming someone’s star sign could be a cleverly intuitive guess; to then give the actual day of birth has to be something else.

Yet he waves aside the ripples of applause – he has even more waiting to be spilled. Thankfully, it doesn’t gush out in quite the same torrent as during the initially nervous start to the show, during which he came over more like he was reciting his script rather than the relaxed delivery of later.

But he really does deliver. With another volunteer he names the person they shared their first kiss with. One woman thinks he couldn’t possibly know the colour of her underwear. He does. It’s brown and black. Now, white, black, cream – even a lay-person might have a reasonable chance of guessing correctly. But brown and black? Really?

Working with the inexactitudes of the human mind and psyche

Someone else selects a book at random, a page from that book, a word from the page – not a short word, or an obvious one. Jermay connects. He sketches on a pad but discards the picture. He tries again. Something is confusing him. What is the word? “Newspaperman”. He turns the pad to show his stick-man doodle. Then picks the discarded sheet from the floor to reveal his earlier drawing of a newspaper.

Throughout the performance the mystic returns to one woman who’d been given tarot cards, and he not only identifies which card she has turned over but then relates this to a revelatory aspect of her life.

When the tarot bears three coins Luke teases that he knows a certain number connected to her bank – before whispering in her ear. From her surprised reaction we can only assume what he said was PIN-point accurate.

Yet he doesn’t get it right every time and no matter how often Jermay asks one audience member she’s adamant she never had a teacher called Mr Walker.

In the context of all the other hits throughout the 75 minute show it would be harsh to call that a fail – indeed, it almost served to emphasise that he is working with the inexactitudes of the human mind and psyche. Yet not to be discouraged, Jermay proceeds to name her childhood friend and day, month and year of birth.

The slight vulnerability demonstrated by that wrong call actually added to Luke’s likability. His manner towards volunteers is charming and friendly. He is very witty and there are laughs aplenty throughout the show but never unkindly ones at the expense of his guests.

And despite the edgy appearance given by the tattoos and standard all-black uniform which seems to be de rigueur for so many entertainers on the magic circuit, he comes over as a gentle soul.

On this performance the biggest mystery remaining to be answered must be – how long before Luke Jermay is packing out theatres across the country?

Running time 1 hr 15 mins.
Run ends Friday 5 July
The Scottish Storytelling Centre, 43-45 High Street, Edinburgh EH1 1SR
Sat 29 June – Fri 5 July (except Mon 1 July), at 8.30pm.
Details on MagicFest website:



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