Curently Playing: Yes

Mind-readers come and go on the Las Vegas Strip but none matches Gerry McCambridge, whose The Mentalist Live is currently enjoying a long run at the V Theater. You're certain to enjoy yourself but how much you get out of McCambridge's show depends on how much you put in.

For instance, prior to the show proper, the requisite lovely assistant hands out cards on which audience members scribble information about themselves. The willingness of spectators to fill out the cards and help collect them enables McCambridge to "read" the audience for prospective participants. The more proactive you are, the greater the likelihood that you'll be called up onstage - if that's what you'd like.

McCambridge makes no mystical claims for himself, repeatedly stressing that mentalism is a hard-won skill, not a gift. He doesn't reveal all of his tricks. However, in a lengthy routine near the top of The Mentalist Live, he has an audience member pick a name from the phone book, seemingly at random. McCambridge then shows, step by step, how he actually guided that spectator, unknowingly, to the desired outcome. (Having seen the show twice, this reviewer can say that if McCambridge is using any "plants," they're extraordinarily well concealed.)

Using a nonstop stream of patter as misdirection, McCambridge leads viewers through a series of complicated stunts, one of which entails bombarding the stage with Nerf basketballs. In another, he guesses the colors of the cards that volunteers are holding (and his batting average at this is far better than Luke Jermay's was). One envelope contains money but McCambridge is able to brilliantly psych-out the person who's holding it, steering them into second-guessing themselves. As McCambrige has shown earlier, manipulation is a huge component of mentalism.

The climactic, cringe-inducing gambit has McCambridge collapsing a series of inverted cups, one of which conceals a sharp spike. While this act has drawn blood on occasion, mind usually prevails over matter. For an evening's mind-frak, The Mentalist Live is as entertaining as Marc Savard's Comedy Hypnosis, also at the V, but considerably more family friendly. Highly recommended.

The Mentalist Live plays Thurs.-Tues. at 7:30 p.m., in the V Theater, Miracle Mile Shops, 3663 Las Vegas Blvd. S. Tickets $49.50-$60.50. No one under 18 admitted.

The Mentalist Live
Thurs.-Tues. at 7:30 p.m.
V Theater, Miracle Mile Shops
3663 Las Vegas Blvd. S.