Have you ever witnessed an extraordinary action which left you bemused yet intrigued? There is no experience comparable in Toronto that will leave you with such a feeling. Beyond Mental Borders offers audiences a show packed with enthusiasm, audience interaction and humour. The team consists of mentalists Armand Antony, Shelby Handley and Nicole McCafferty. Armand and Shelby are the faces of the performances, while Nicole is the stage manager and standby mentalist. The chemistry between Armand and Shelby is undeniably evident in their ability to pull in the audience with humour from the start of the show. Their act is largely based on audience interaction, with each segment concluding with audience members and act participants seeing their decisions were accurately predicted. The accuracy of these predictions are so compelling, audience members are able to truly engage in and witness mental connections between themselves, Armand and Shelby.
Something the audience can appreciate is the setup of the seating. Considering the isolation many have felt over the last few years, the seating at the show encourages audience members to communicate with each other quite frequently; this interaction ultimately fostered an overall feeling of connectivity throughout the audience. It was apparent that many of the tables were brimming with conversation and laughter, despite having just met one another. The atmosphere of the show is mind-bending, comical and interconnected.
Armand’s comfort onstage is likely attributed to his time as an actor and musician. While his background studying prediction, cold reading and psychology, provides him with the ability to predict thoughts with a high degree of accuracy. Shelby joined the team following the departure of member Alexandra Brynn. Shelby uses storytelling and other creative means to connect with the thoughts of the audience. The duo was able to pull names, nicknames, favourite bands, and even the phone number of an audience member from the thoughts of participants in their acts.
Both Armand and Shelby offer mentalism as something that can be learned by anyone with “enough reading, dedication and practice”. They believe the biggest challenge “… is the patience of sticking with the learning side of things and being okay with getting things wrong a lot early on”. Mentalism is definitely worth exploring, this show is an indication of the power of thought, persuasion and connectedness.
The show originally opened in 2019 and was forced to halt in-person performances so the team offered Quarantine – an online illusionist show. Once restrictions lifted Beyond Mental Borders reopened in March and have sold out 16 consecutive shows. The Rec Room, which is located in downtown Toronto, currently houses Beyond Mental Borders. This is a beautiful location; it is within walking distance of many of Toronto’s most iconic landmarks and offers plenty of activities to enjoy once the show is over. The Rec Room is a playground for adults, with gaming consoles, a lively environment and delicious food, it is a whole experience. This unique atmosphere is a great place for date night or a family outing and it will leave you wanting more.