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Christopher Carter Messes With Your Mind 

Christopher Carter Messes With Your Mind, at ComedySportz, through June 10. Given all the psychic hot line nonsense and postmodern magic acts, it's become increasingly difficult to buy into anything remotely supernatural. However, I challenge anyone to sit through this performance without suspending a tiny bit of disbelief. With toothy charisma, "mentalist" Christopher Carter explains that he is no wizard but has simply studied--and now knows how to access--the powers of intuition. He even explains a few trade secrets, like reading subtle, involuntary body language to guess the card picked out of a deck. But just as it seems his entire act can be reduced to petty trickery, he blindfolds himself to within an inch of his life (with four layers of duct tape over silver dollars on his eyeballs) and starts announcing birth dates and answers to questions he couldn't possibly have known. (There might have been 25 audience plants, I suppose, but it's unlikely.)

More than just a series of stunts, Carter's show also includes some Magic History 101; one of the greatest mind readers of the past few centuries was Washington Irving Bishop, whose powers were so widely admired and feared that scientists autopsied his brain hoping to learn his secrets--unfortunately, as it turned out, he wasn't dead yet. Lasting just over an hour, Carter's baffling feats offer tremendous fodder for dinner-table debate (during which you can also try to replicate his expert spoon bending). But whether he brings out your inner skeptic or your psychic wannabe, Carter will leave a lasting impression.

--Kim Wilson

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