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Hypnotist will have you under his spell
3:46pm Friday 10th August 2012 in What's on in Lancashire
FAR away from the world of stage hypnosis — where willing volunteers end up clucking like chickens and strutting around singing to Kylie Minogue hits — is the therapeutic couch where 80-a-day smokers turn for help to quit.
And while Forrester McKelvie — who goes by the stage name Acari and will appear at Blackburn's Thwaites Empire Theatre later this month — was drawn to train in hypnotism by the lure of the crowd, he gets equal reward from changing people’s lives for the better through hypnosis.
“I went into it wanting to be a comedy hypnotist,” he said. "I had never seen it used in therapy and it wasn’t such a common practice when I started.
“There is a very serious side to hypnosis. Every major hospital uses it. You can have open heart surgery under hypnosis and not feel a thing.
“Smoking, weight loss, alcoholism and drug abuse are commonly treated with hypnosis, with smoking and weight loss by far the most common.
“You get a different buzz from either the stage work or consultations; when it’s been a good show and everyone’s enjoyed it you hear them leaving the venue buzzing.
“But it’s really good if you help somone stop smoking after 30 years and they’ve tried everything else — then they’re on the phone telling you they feel fantastic, and you hear from their family and friends wanting to book consultations too.
Acari trained in America 14 years ago, after quitting his job as a publican — inspired by hypnotists he had seen growing up in Dundee.
After qualifying, he started consultations and learned the trade with therapy treatments, building up his show with performances in pubs and clubs before moving on to theatres.
“Now I have about 25 different shows I can do, each one lasting three hours and selected on the night depending on the group of volunteer. I never do the same show at a venue.
“We got a good response last time we came to the Thwaites Empire, and got loads of emails from people saying they can’t wait to see us again.
“It’s a family show but volunteers must be over 18. People come on stage as volunteers and I can have a one man jumping about doing Swan Lake like the Russian ballet and others dressed like Kylie Minogue, Lady Gaga, Freddie Mercury and the Spice Girls.”
- Acari - Comedy Hypnotist, Thursday, August 30, 7.30pm, Thwaites Empire Theatre, Blackburn. Tickets £10 and £8 from 01254 685500.