Posted by Wizard
Oct 08, 2009

Curently Playing: Yes

Punctuality is essential if you're attending Anthony Cools' eponymous hypnosis show at Paris-Las Vegas. The opening gambit is a new 3-D video segment, so be sure and get there early.

Promptness is particularly advisable because Harrah's Entertainment's penny-pinching ways have made obtaining tickets for Cools a wild goose chase. Prospective attendees are directed to the box office. However, upon arriving at the official Paris-LV box office (the one next to the currently unused showroom), one is steered to Cools' makeshift showroom, at the opposite end of the casino. But you can't get your tickets there. No, you have to go to the Eiffel Tower gift shop next door. But don't get in the line for Eiffel Tower tickets or you'll be there all night. Go to the other cash register to purchase admission.

Since there is no signage to help one through this runaround, what is needed is not a hypnotist but a mentalist. Paging Gerry McCambridge!

Despite some redesign work, Cools' venue is still a cut-rate compromise: a low-ceilinged meeting room with uncomfortable seating and merely acceptable sightlines. It's been retrofitted with a few modernistic touches that clash with the 19th century-style moldings of the casino's faux-French aesthetic.

Compared to Marc Savard, whose Mesmerized! holds court nearby at the V Theater, Cools seems more comfortable with off-color material and his loose, very boisterous audience comes ready to play. Cools' patter is thickly peppered with the 'F' word and the raunchier he is, the more the audience loves it. The hypnotist is equally happy to oblige, leaning heavily on erection- and scatology-based gags. He and Savard do some of the same shtick, such as having audience volunteers imagine they're playing in an orchestra or making a pornographic film.

Specialties chez Cools include programming audience members to make crank calls, switch genders or convince them they're orangutans, and then send them rampaging into the audience. Unfortunately, the "plants" in the group are fairly obvious, although they allow Cools to get off some of his better zingers. ("What's your name? Lucky? Not with that shirt, you're not!") In any event, Cools' unhurried pace suggests a man confident in both his material and his audience appeal ... confidence that proves well founded.

Anthony Cools
9 p.m., Tues., Thurs.-Sun.
Paris-Las Vegas
3655 Las Vegas Blvd. South
(702) 946-4567
$52.75 & $74.75