Provided that your expectations are modest, you're likely to enjoy yourself at Mental. It's as low-budget as a Vegas show can get and is squeezed into the dinkiest showroom on the Strip (at O'Shea's), where the stage lights glare into one's eyes. However, heavily tattooed British mentalist Luke Jermay has a brisk style, an engaging presence and an unpretentious manner that wear well over the show's duration.
If you've seen Gerry McCambridge's mind-reader show at the V Theater, some of the tropes will be familiar. For instance, just before the performance, audience members are requested to provide information about themselves. These cards are kept in a box to one side of the stage and are later used to identify spectators who Jermay "reads."
Unlike McCambridge, Jermay doesn't expose any of the tricks of his trade, but both men traffic heavily in the power of suggestion. Those viewers who want to believe their minds are being probed also appear to be the most generous with "tells" and verbal prompts that help Jermay hone in on the answer he seeks. Or, in the case of a lugnut that - suspended on a piece of string - seems to swing purely by thought control, close scrutiny shows that Jermay is able to talk his volunteers into moving their arms ever so slightly and without their being aware of it.
The bulk of Mental, though, is comprised of "readings" of audience members. Sometimes Jermay seems uncannily prescient. When stumped, he tends to fish for information and (rather obviously) coax his subjects into giving the game away. It may not be mind-reading but it's definitely entertaining - several audience members seemed quite pleasantly shocked by what Jermay was able to read off them - and the time flies past.
Jermay's encore is much the same as McCambridge's, too, although the Briton makes a point of using the more skeptical audience members for this trick. The gag involves four color-coded chairs and five envelopes. One of the latter contains a $10,000 check. Jermay's objective is to steer his quartet of subjects away from the envelope with the money and toward chairs whose color matches the piece of paper they produce from their chosen envelope. On media night, Jermay kept the money but only batted .500 when it came to matching the colored cards and chairs.
For $50 a person, especially at a joint as dodgy as O'Shea's, Mental is no bargain. But it diverts one effortlessly, which is the whole point of the exercise.
Tues.-Sat., 7 p.m.
3555 Las Vegas Blvd. S.