By MYRON LOVE
Haim Goldenberg believes that when confronted with a problem you are having trouble solving, looking at the problem from different angles can lead to a solution.
It is a philosophy that the Israeli-Canadian mentalist uses in his stage show – with sometimes surprising results.
Billed as a “real life” mentalist (whatever that means), Goldenberg made his Winnipeg premiere at the Berney Theatre on Saturday, January 11, with two shows – the first in English and the second in Hebrew.
And the family-friendly entertainer did not disappoint.
Goldenberg mixes self-deprecating humour with his illusions. He began the evening with some number play.
He first asked a member of the audience to pick a one-digit number with the mentalist writing down a number on paper at the same time, Naturally, the numbers were the same.
Then, he exhibited some prestidigitation with a Rubik’s Cube – an object he returned to later in the show .
Next, Goldenberg called up a volunteer from the audience – a young man – whom he hypnotized with a combination of snapping his fingers and repeatedly counting to ten. He then had the volunteer pick a page number from a book that Goldenberg held out to him.
The volunteer chose a page which the mentalist showed was impossible for the subject to have seen because the page had been ripped out of the book.
The “pièce de résistance” for the evening was a threefold demonstration of the performer’s abilities.
For the first portion – a knife act – he called on a volunteer to blindfold him with black duct tape and guide his hand while he correctly determined in which of four covered columns a knife was concealed – by eliminating the other three columns one by one.
Then, while still blindfolded, he vowed to manipulate four Rubik’s Cubes in less than 55 seconds.
Now, audience members would have been expecting that he was going to align the colours on all sides – as is usual in solving a Rubik’s Cube. Instead, in 35 seconds, he re-aligned the four cubes and stacked them so that on one side, the number “35” – the time it took for him to re-align the cubes - was spelled out spread across the four cubes.
For the final part of this portion of his routine, he asked a young woman to think of an individual in her life and a moment with that person that stood out - and draw the scene. Goldenberg, without first seeing her drawing, drew an identical picture.
Following that, he played a game of poker with a young volunteer – offering her up to $2,500 if she won.
Playing with oversized cards, he unsurprisingly won all three rounds even when, on the third round, he let her look of the cards she was choosing before picking them.
For his final act, he asked an audience member to give him a four-digit number, which was then multiplied by a two-digit number from a second person in the audience, and again by a second two-digit number. With a volunteer on stage, Goldenberg crunched the number on a calculator leading to a total of 11120815.
He then revealed on a large sheet of paper the same number he had written down earlier and pointed out the significance of the number. 11120815 can also be read as January 11, 2020 - the day’s date and 8:15 – the exact time that he read out the answer and the time that the show ended.
How did he do it? It would no doubt take a mentalist to understand it!