Hypnosis watch

Towle Theater’s “Hypnosis” is an Ingenious Thriller

**** Highly Recommended **** Audiences are loving the Towle Theater’s production of “Hypnosis”, an old-fashioned thriller, with an ingenious plot and enough twists and turns to satisfy any mystery fan. If you’ve ever watched Hitchcock reruns on TV, where you’re never quite sure who’s doing what to whom. On the other hand, since “Hypnosis” doesn’t take itself too seriously, there are plenty of laughs. 4 Spotlights

The Towle Theater is one of Hammond’s best kept secrets. The Towle staff is highly competent, professional and ahead of the curve. They’re not afraid to take chances, often choosing new plays written by unknown playwrights. In fact, every show in their 2017 season was a Midwest or Indiana premiere.

The Great Gordo (Jim Henry) is a sleazy stage hypnotist with a fake Italian accent. During his nightly act, he chooses some random volunteer from the audience for his subject, planting post-hypnotic suggestions for certain behaviors whenever the poor schmuck hears certain ‘trigger’ words accompanied by silly gestures.

One day he chose Alan Briggs (Ian Rigg) as his subject. Gordo does his routine, Alan acts out, the audience laughs at him, he wakes up. Alan, a policeman, seems to be a good sport about his onstage humiliation. For Gordo it’s just another performance.

A few nights later, Gordo makes his way home after a performance. He’s tired and he wants a drink or three. He doesn’t even remember the man waiting at his door who turns out to be Alan, who wasn’t such a good sport after all.
Alan wants Gordo to hypnotize his wife because he’s positive she’s having an affair. He said he’d tell her the hypnosis is to help her lose weight. When Gordo says no, he pulls a gun, so Gordo agrees.

When Gordo turns up at the Briggs apartment, Helen (Stephanie Rohr) is obviously angry. Gordo insists that Alan leave the room and tries to hypnotizes Helen. Once she’s under, she says she’s not having an affair. Gordo plants a suggestion and a ‘trigger’ but it doesn’t have anything to do with Alan’s request.

As the plot thickens, we learn that Helen is impossible to hypnotize, that Gordo is double-crossing Alan, and that this is all part of Alan’s nefarious plan.

It was great to see my good friend, Jim Henry back on stage. A successful playwright, he’s either been shut up in his writing cave … or playing with his grandchildren recently.

“Hypnosis” runs through September 24th at the Towle Theater, 5205 Hohman Avenue, Hammond. Running time is about 2 hours with an intermission. Performances are Thursday through Saturday at 8:00 pm; Sunday at 2:00 pm. Tickets are $19. Free parking is available just off Fayette Street, steps away from the Towle’s alley entrance. FYI (219) 937-8780 or www.towletheater.org.

Read my reviews at www.spotlightonlake.com.