I’d never seen a hypnotist show and worried it might be a cheesy spectacle, but Peter Gross is a pro — smooth and hilarious. He’s put 10,000 people into a trance-like state and assured the crowd that if they volunteered to go under his spell he would not be able to make them do anything they didn’t want to do. It’s not mind control — it’s suggestability. And he can only suggest you to do stuff to the limits of your own sense of decorum.

[image-1]After giving his disclaimers, he then asked for 12 volunteers to get up on stage and get hypnotized. He dimmed the lights, got his subjects to relax, and started put them into a deep sleep. No pendulums were swung in front of their faces, but he did tell them to “slleeeeep.” Once he got them to slip into a trance, he weeded out the folks who were unable to really let go and submit to his suggestions. Finally, he ended up with a handful of VIPs (as he called them): an adorably buxom young woman, a  pair of teenaged siblings, a guy named Earl, and a little kid who slept through most of the show.

[image-2]Earl quickly emerged as the star. He was in a deep state and responded quickly and animatedly to Gross’ suggestions — to act like a playful 5-year-old, to squirt himself in the face with imaginary water, to forget the number seven, to enact a death scene in slow motion, to run upstage and accept blue ribbons everytime the word blue ribbon was mentioned. Ultimately, Earl was Peter Gross’ bitch.

Gross has two shows tonight — a family-friendly magic show at 5 p.m. and another hypnosis show at 8 p.m. I can’t make you do anything you don’t want to do, but I’d suggest you get your tickets now. —Stephanie Barna