Note: This review is from the 2017 Fringe

The petite theatre at Sweet Holyrood is the perfect stage for self-professed mind-reader and motivational speaker Phil Ainsworth. With a bigger audience the show might not seem as impressive, given the reliance on audience participation.

Part magic, part mind-reading, and part motivational, MoMentum delivers on all three fronts. It encourages people to live in the moment with tips and tricks to do so. Lovers of this art form would be intrigued and amazed by what Ainsworth pulls out. However, a sceptic might not be so impressed with some of the more generalised statements voiced. Still, as everything is based around what the audience thinks, feels, and writes each show is different.

From the get-go MoMentum calls on crowd participation. The audience imagines themselves as a particular playing card, and then told to lie about it. Ainsworth then proceeds to correctly pick out those who are lying. It’s intriguing as Ainsworth explains the reasoning behind his decisions. He’s easy-going, comfortable and able to get the crowd chuckling. Again, being able to move around the small theatre to people at the back of the room creates a sense of inclusion; we’re all in this together.

Goals and ambitions form a large part of MoMentum, a core staple of any motivational speaker. Writing hopes down is also not unique, however Ainsworth figuring out a specific ambition is rather mind-boggling. He also delivers good mind tips on reaching your goals – again, not exclusive to Ainsworth yet still stimulating to the audience. A few extra facts about psychology and how to be more persuasive hone out the show.

As a motivational speaker Ainsworth has it down pat. He’s optimistic yet realistic about goals and how the human mind works. Sceptics of telepathy may not leave convinced, but if you’re into mind-reading and motivational speaking, this is a show to head along to.