Along with celebrity impersonators, strippers, and Cirque du Soleil, hypnosis shows have been a mainstay of the Vegas entertainment landscape for a very long time. That was until COVID-19 wielded its mighty ax. So long, Anthony Cools. Farewell, Marc Savard. So what are fans of the genre supposed to do? Well, you head on down to Fremont Street and check out the rip-roaring antics of Kevin Lepine - HYPNOSIS UNLEASHED, that's what!
I must admit that although he's been around for a while, Kevin Lepine never really grabbed my attention. Perhaps his long-ago location at Binion's Gambling Hall turned me off. Replacing a short-lived Elvis exhibit in the back of the once-popular casino, Lepine's makeshift "theater" didn't make his show seem worthy of my time and attention. He has since moved on to better venues, most recently landing at downtown's Four Queens Hotel. A reminder to self: "You've praised plenty of humble productions in the past, so you shouldn't have pre-judged. Now you know what you missed".
12/4/21 performance of 'Kevin Lepine - HYPNOSIS UNLEASHED'
If you've never been to a comedy hypnosis show, the concept is pretty simple. The entertainer gets acquainted with the audience (and vice versa), he or she gives a crash course on how hypnosis works, presents a list of rules, then invites random people on stage. After a few minutes of guidance, meditation, and observation, the host selects a few who've seemingly been most susceptible to suggestion. The rest are sent back to their seats, then the real fun begins.
If you're a skeptic of hypnosis, your odds of enjoying HYPNOSIS UNLEASHED might be significantly reduced. I had my own suspicion that at least one of the onstage participants was "acting"...not a plant, mind you, but an aware individual. Nevertheless, the ensuing sixty-plus minutes were riotous in the extreme. Lepine has a delightful way of playing the crowd as much as he does his subjects, the result of over ten years on Las Vegas stages. He's witty, spontaneous, and the kind of guy you'd want to sit down at a poker table with on his nights off.
Jason Wheeler (left) at HYPNOSIS UNLEASHED
Speaking of poker, Lepine is a former winner of the Mike Hammer Celebrity Poker Tournament (more on Hammer in a bit). He's also a certified hypnotherapist, and is credited with helping Jason Wheeler win this year's WORLD SERIES OF POKER tournament:
“With Kevin’s words and my hard work, I am proud to say I am a 2021 World Series of Poker Champion! For anybody who is wondering if hypnosis can help them in life or just to have fun go check out Hypnosis Unleashed - The Vegas Hypnosis Show Starring Kevin Lepine” - Jason Wheeler, 2021 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Champion, $800 No-Limit Hold’em Deepstack
Lepine with (L to R) Lance Burton, Mike Hammer, and Mac King
The intimate 4Q showroom is a great fit for Lepine's production. Fog, lights, lasers, and video backdrops create a surreal atmosphere that allows you to become immersed in a world of artificially-induced dreams. Lepine's adorable assistant Emily Lauren Lepine (Kevin's wife) helps take the audience on a roller coaster ride of symphonies, showgirl catwalks, horror movies, racing cars, and fits of itching, all as seen through the wide eyes of their audience participants.
Kevin Lepine HYPNOSIS UNLEASHED performs Tuesday through Saturday at 9 pm, right after the comedy and magic of Mike Hammer at 7 o'clock. Hammer is an accomplished performer who's been packing them into the Four Queens for over a decade. He'll still be getting a lump of coal in his stocking this year (wrapped in a pair of blackened Angel wings) but we'll save that story for another day. This writer recommends seeing both shows back-to-back for a fabulous and fun evening on Fremont Street.
"Everyone who steps on my stage has a superstar in them. It's my job to bring it out!" - Kevin Lepine
HYPNOSIS UNLEASHED has moments of adult humor/language and is recommended for those 18 and older. You can order tickets, as well as for Mike Hammer Comedy Magic, by visiting the Four Queens website.
Photos courtesy of Kevin Lepine