Latoya Newman

‘YOU are getting sleepy, sleepy… and when I snap my fingers you will rig the machine and make me the winner of this week’s Lotto.”

If I had the ability to hypnotise, that’s what I’d do.

But professionals like Andre the Hilarious Hypnotist are way more ethical than I am. He’ll just make you try to hit on a waitress – and probably get a klap in the process – or speak “moon language” in public.

Andre – originally from Durban – brings his new show home after five years’ absence from the local stage.

The run also commemorates his 20th year on stage.

Andre has come far since his early days as the Holiday Hypnotist – entertaining Vaalies at caravan parks in and around Durban. The entertainer now travels the country with regular sold-out runs of his hypnotically funny show.

Andre explained that from a young age he always knew he wanted to be a magician, but this changed when he first saw his mentor on stage.

“I loved magic and mentalism, and throughout my school career I used to irritate my colleagues with little magic tricks. But one day I saw Max Collie perform in Joburg, and I remember thinking, this is it. This is what I want to do’.”

Andre shot to fame in the 1990s after Collie died. Since then he has performed in more than six countries, broken attendance records in nearly every theatre in the country and featured in his TV specials on kykNET.

This year also sees the introduction of a fresh take on the show – when the crazy goes viral.

“Because everything has gone viral, I wanted to maximise on that. A TV show has been an option, which has been great, but we thought, why not take it on to the streets, into Durban?

“So people who partake in my show are invited to supper or lunch with me. And let’s just say they might find themselves doing some strange things – like cheering every time a sexy waitress walks past, or frantically rescuing a doll from water and giving it mouth-to-mouth.

“These clips are then loaded onto YouTube. So people get to be part of an extended show, too.”

These developments are part of the reason we’ve not seen or heard much of Andre in Durban over the past five years. Because the show is multi-faceted, it requires him to run it from a venue for about three weeks.

“I’ve battled to find a theatre where I can run the show for that long. The length of time needed to accommodate this kind of a show, where no matter how much publicity and marketing you do, after the first few shows it’s ultimately word of mouth that gets more tickets sold.”

Those “victims”, er, volunteers, who opt to partake in the show need not worry about feeling like they have missed it all.

Andre said all volunteers will get two tickets to attend another show.

Promising a new look and a fresh, fast-paced show Andre The Hilarious Hypnotist’s new show runs at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre from August 7 to 26. Shows run Tuesdays to Saturdays at 7.30pm and Sundays at 3pm. Tickets are R85. Bookings at Computicket. Call 0861 915 8000 or visit