The girl in front of me is about to cry, and I’m not really sure how to deal with this. It’s not often as a performer that what you do move people to tears (it’s certainly not often that what *I* do does) and I’m not sure of the protocol. Maybe I should have stuck to comedy…
Melmoth Darkleigh began his life as just as weird voice. When we were doing the In The Gloaming podcasts I wanted them to have a host, someone like Roald Dahl at the beginning of the early serieseses of Tales Of The Unexpected or the Cryptkeeper from Tales From The Crypt. He was a creepy voice and an excuse to some cackling over the theme tune every month. I can’t resist a good cackle.
The next year we were booked to perform the podcasts as a live show a few times, including in the delightfully spooky Arundel Jailhouse. In the couple of weeks before that show all of the cast dropped out. Some were busy, some were ill, some probably just didn’t feel like going to do a profit-share show in the wilds of the Downs. So, a couple of days before, when the last person got an advert, I was left with a couple of days to write a one-man In The Gloaming show. Which is where Melmoth crept in…
The show took the form of a kind of seance, where Melmoth would summon ghosts from the venue’s past. It was an excuse to wheel out a lot of dark, old character monologues, and hang then together with some new stuff. And the show did quite well, and I did it a few times over the next couple of years.
Magic was always a very minor part of the show. To add to the creepiness I always tried to have a couple of inexplicable moments in the show, to make it really unsettling. This ranged from a bit of cold reading to a Haunted Boggle, which would predict an audience member’s death. Usually ‘drowned whilst wanking.’
This year, however, I decided to raise the stakes. To see if I couldn’t really convince an audience that Melmoth had strange, occult powers. I started doing larger effects, and dropping the monologues.
As I learned and studied more, however, about seances, NLP, hypnosis, mind reading, the occult, and all the other gubbins, a strange thing happened. I found that I had gone from being someone pretending to be a mind reader to actually being a mind reader.
I could reveal words people were thinking of that they had told no one, childhood memories, I could duplicate drawings they had done, and predict choices they were going to make. I became known in my local pub as ‘that weird guy who can read minds’. Which was an improvement on what they had called me before: ‘that weird guy.’
Melmoth would say that this only goes to prove the power of the dark and mysterious forces that surround us (the people of Nutfield and Merstham). I’m pretty sure it’s a combination of suggestion, framing, intuition, NLP, hypnotic language and some good, old-fashioned conjuring. Whichever of us is right, it has been a bizarre few months.
All of which will come to a head on Wednesday and Thursday. Why not come down and see what you think? It will definitely be a mind-f*cking, but I can also promise some mind-cuddles afterwards…