Matt Hale’s highway to the Hypno Zone

Grab your Day-Glo, big hair and Rubik’s Cube as Australia’s Comedy Hypnotist Matt Hale brings an 80s twist to his brand new Fringe World show Top Fun!  A former radio personality and winner of three national comedy awards, Matt Hale is a regular Fringe favourite, combining audience participation with the incredible abilities of the mind, turning the traditional hypnosis show on its head. This year you can catch Top Fun! at multiple venues from Friday, January 20 to Sunday, February 19, with tickets for the full run of dates on sale now. BRAYDEN EDWARDS got on the highway to the Hypno Zone with Matt Hale to find out more.

It’s great to have you back at another Fringe World! What kind of year was 2022 for you?

I’m so happy to have ended the year with it almost feeling normal again. It was another crazy rollercoaster ride with last year’s festivals being heavily affected by COVID restrictions and audience hesitancy to attend big events. But I’ve just come off the back of a super busy private/corporate event season, where it felt like every one was finally ready to get out and celebrate together again.

We might have seen you at Fringe before – but not like this! How is Top Fun! different from your previous shows?

I’ve never actually themed one of my shows before, as I always try and incorporate the current zeitgeist and big things of the year, but I noticed there were a lot of 80s related things that were massive (Top Gun, Stranger Things, lot of 80s sounding music etc). As it’s such a fun decade to play around with, I decided to go all in on it. Audiences who were around in the 80s dig the nostalgia, and younger audiences seem to be loving the retro discovery of all things 80s.

Take us back to 1985, what are you listening to and what are you wearing?

Well first of all, not only do I actually have hair, but I’m having it dyed with highlights regularly! Musically, a real wide mix. I was an absolute pop tragic – massive Frankie Goes to Hollywood fan, but also Wham! and all those kind of iconic 80s pop sounds. However, I was a huge fan of a Welsh rock band called The Alarm. But ’85 was also the year my ears started tuning in to hip-hop/dance music/sampling – Doug E Fresh, Colonel Abrams, Paul Hardcastle and more…

And what’s the most ‘80s’ item you own today?

I’m pretty sure I could dig out an old Sony Walkman!  I know I’ve definitely got a box full of old audio cassettes.

What’s one myth about hypnosis you can reveal to us?

There’s no hypnosis show law that says you have to turn people into a chicken. My 100% Chicken Free Guarantee still stands with every show I’ve ever done!

Audience involvement is a big part of your shows, which means they must be pretty unpredictable for you as well? What was the most surprising thing you have seen from an audience member/volunteer?

I’m constantly surprised by how people interpret different suggestions. For example, in last year’s show, we had people waddling across the stage like penguins – but one girl went full penguin, and launched herself into a very impressive belly slide the length of the stage!

And what’s something we’ll see at your Fringe show this summer that we won’t see anywhere else?

People using their imagination to have the most insane fun night out ever. Oh, and it may be the only show to include Rubik’s cubes, fighter pilots, wookies, meerkats, cheerleaders…and the new drummer for “In The Air Tonight.”