Hypnotist and mind reader extraordinaire, Aaron Calvert, with his own Channel 4 show, brings his new show Declassified to The Gilded Balloon this August at the Fringe.

Aaron spoke with The Fountain about trying to recreate urban legends at the Fringe this year as well as providing top tips to new Fringe performers.

TF: You are performing at the Edinburgh Fringe this year, how exciting?

I’m so excited to be coming to Edinburgh for my third year in a row. I’ve had sell out runs the past two years and I can’t wait to see what this year holds. Of course Edinburgh means I get to spend a month in a wonderful city full of incredible shows and some tripe, so it’s always destined to be fun.

TF: Your show certainly sounds intriguing, what is the premise?

In Declassified I take the audience on a thrilling journey to showcase the capacities of the human mind by pushing the boundaries of what people are capable of. With a combination of astounding mind reading and fascinating hypnotic demonstrations, you will witness members of the audience perform the inexplicable in a series of superhuman feats. Inspiration taken from a mix of true stories and urban legends, I want audiences to leave with their own legends to tell.

TF: And what drove the project, where did your influences lie?

Declassified takes inspiration from the urban legends; such as mothers lifting cars or ripping off doors with their bare hands, showing feats of superhuman strength when their kids are trapped. Whilst training as a doctor these stories were used to demonstrate what the human body is truly capable of and it captured my imagination. What if I could recreate these feats live on stage? The trouble with these ‘true’ stories is there’s usually no witnesses, no video evidence and often just a sensationalised news report about the incident. I’ve spent the last few years researching true stories, urban legends and reading through declassified government documents to find the incredible feats people claim. I’m going to recreate these feats live on stage, but this time there’ll be two hundred people to witness what happens.

TF: What are your plans for the Fringe, having been before are there any tips or musts you would offer to first-time performers?

Fringe is always exciting, I can’t wait to perform for 26 days straight and in-between catch up with some incredibly talented friends and see some amazing shows.
If this is your first time at fringe my top tip for surviving fringe as a performer, which has kept me healthy for the past two years, is… treat it like a job and treat yourself well. If you want your show to be a success you need to put your best show on every day, you owe it to your audience. If you’re unwell, hungover, tired or moody you won’t put on a good show and your audiences will know it.
Audiences are key to the success of your show at Fringe, no marketing campaign can do as good for your show as the word of mouth of your audience. Don’t let them down by being hungover on stage.

TF: And what are your future plans beyond your show?

Declassified will be heading out on tour post fringe, check out www.aaroncalvert.com for dates, and there’s also another TV show in the pipeline so keep your eyes peeled…

Aaron Calvert: Declassified, The Gilded Balloon at the Museum, August 1st– 26th, 6pm

Photo courtesy of Richard Milne