REVIEW: Greg Chapman's The Non-Psychic 'Psychic' Show

By Steve Higgins
March 04, 2024 1:00 AM
Greg Chapman's The Non-Psychic 'Psychic' Show
A trip to the stunning Cotswold village of Bourton-on-the-Water never disappoints, and my visit at the weekend to see Greg Chapman's The Non-Psychic 'Psychic' Show was no exception. Greg, a magic enthusiast, asserts that his sell-out show contains no supernatural elements, despite performing feats others might claim were achieved through psychic abilities alone.

The 90-minute, highly enjoyable show was held in a small theatre in the heart of the village as part of a nationwide tour that sees Greg entertaining audiences with his mix of magical history and comedy. Greg, a quirky character who looks the part, tells us, "I deliberately book intimate, little venues like this one."

In order to manage the expectations of the audience, Greg states, "This show has nothing to do with whether or not psychic powers are real. That's way too complicated for the subject for one night." He also clarifies that, although some psychic claims may be genuine - despite lacking evidence - there is undeniable evidence that many individuals who claim psychic abilities are fraudulent. He tells us, "At least some of those people claiming psychic powers are frauds."

The show serves as a fast-paced and comical overview of the spiritualism movement, garnering plenty of laughs and a very engaged audience throughout. He starts by giving the audience the lowdown on the practice of fraudulent psychics and mediumship that was prevalent in the era of Victorian séances, but these underhanded and often exploitative tactics still survive in various forms today.

The show is peppered with plenty of historical detail on famous examples of fraudulent mediumship, such as the story of the Fox sisters, who tricked their parents into believing their house was haunted by creating knocking sounds with their toes. The sisters went on to become well-known mediums who are credited with the birth of spiritualism.

Throughout the performance, Greg debunks common psychic tricks and demonstrates how easily people can be misled by charlatans. This includes exposing methods used by fraudulent psychics, such as cold reading and the use of stooges. He talked about demonstrations of mediumship used by performers of the past, including the use of spirit trumpets that voices of the dead were alleged to boom out of.

Greg expertly recreated the Victorian séance parlour trick of slate writing, with meaningful words appearing on two small chalkboards that he'd previously sealed inside a box. After putting an audience member's rope skills to the test, Greg demonstrated how physical mediums fooled their audiences while tied to a chair inside a makeshift spirit cabinet. The original spirit cabinet was a creation of stage psychics, the Davenport brothers. Greg's demonstration serves as a historical example of how psychic phenomena can be fabricated for entertainment or deceit.

Later in the show, there was a comical recreation of Uri Geller's powers, but instead of bending spoons, Greg used forks to avoid a copyright infringement case from Uri's lawyers. All this, of course, was to prove that spoon-bending can be faked. Again, Greg's not saying for sure that it is, but it certainly can be.

During one darker part of the show, Greg shares personal reflections on the impact of fraudulent psychics, particularly those who exploit grieving individuals for financial gain. This is highlighted by recounting stories of psychics providing false hope to the families of missing persons, only for their claims to be proven utterly false. Greg told the audience, "I personally believe, and I think everyone here would agree, that it is wrong to lie to a grieving family." This segment concludes with a demonstration of how this sort of trickery can be achieved with two audience members taking part in a psychic experiment relating to the ill-fated RMS Titanic.

Greg Chapman's The Non-Psychic 'Psychic' Show aims to enlighten its audience about the reality behind psychic claims, encouraging skepticism and critical thinking while also entertaining through audience participation and the revelation of mediums' secrets. Greg is on the road with The Non-Psychic 'Psychic' Show until June 2024, with tickets available at various locations across the UK.

Tickets are available via Ticket Source for £10-15, depending on the venue, making Greg's show not only an entertaining night out but also great value for money. Whether you believe in psychic abilities or not, The Non-Psychic 'Psychic' Show is a fun and entertaining evening that might just change your mind.

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