By Michael “Buzz” Buzzelli, ‘Burgh Vivant
Let’s get this straight – Mark Toland does not possess supernatural skills, but, sometimes, it’s hard to tell. His show, “Mind Reader” seems very convincing, but Toland will be the first to admit that he is merely fooling you with tricks and not actually reading minds. The tricks are unfathomable (and I promised not to divulge any of them).
Mentalism is a performing art and it’s not to be confused with numerology, psychometry, Tarot card reading or speaking to the dead. It seems like he knows your birthday, your profession and where you want to go on vacation – he really doesn’t use telepathy or ask your deceased relatives. It’s a trick. And a darn good one.
Toland is an award-winning mentalist, winning rave reviews for his talents and tricks throughout the world. He won a five-star review at the Edmonton International Fringe Festival. The Chicago-based mentalist’s 2017 “Mystery Tour” earned him praise from coast-to-coast.
Magic is 10% tricks and 90% presentation. Toland not only astounds, he puts on a delightful show with witty banter and clever crowd work. He is also 100% charming.
When you go to the show, expect the unexpected. You can expect gasps and shouts of glee with an occasional mutterings such as “How did he do that?” and “What the heck?” Don’t try to understand it. Just go with the flow. The audience is very involved. Toland picks people at random by making them throw around a miniature stuffed version of himself (a Tolie bear?). Because the mind reader is choosing different audience members each night – the show is different every evening. Toland uses a lot of improvisational skills with his magic tricks, and it’s really fun watching him work with the audience.
Liberty Magic is the perfect venue for Toland’s show. Nearly everyone gets a chance to participate in the show at the intimate little cabaret setting of Liberty Magic (be sure to catch some pre-show entertainment with Mark Tierno performing sleight-of-hand card tricks).
“Mind Reader” runs until August 4 at Liberty Magic, 811 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15222. For more information, click here.