Comedic hypnotist at Lambert's Cove Inn
Photo courtesy of Liam Vincent
The dining room of the Lambert's Cove Inn will be transformed into an elegant nightclub this weekend as new general manager Mike Rego launches a series of Dinner-and-a-Show evenings, which will run through the remaining winter months.
First on the roster of three scheduled performers is comedic hypnotist Liam Vincent, who involves volunteers, minus their inhibitions, in his show. In February, the inn will host a comedy magic show, and in March, a team of comics from a group called the New York Hysterical Society will entertain audiences. All three events include a three-course dinner followed by a one- to two-hour show.
The warm and sophisticated atmosphere of the West Tisbury inn's recently renovated dining room should lend itself well to an upscale nightclub setting. With the lights dimmed, the room's sumptuous gold and burgundy theme will be further enhanced by the addition of black tablecloths, votive candles, and curtains in front of a makeshift stage and at the entrance. Mr. Rego is even bringing in an off-Island professional to help with sound and lighting. The dining room will comfortably seat about 75.
Mr. Rego came to the Lambert's Cove Inn this past summer from a long stint working for the Marriott Corporation, and a recent stint with an event-planning company in New Hampshire. His experience at the latter job inspired him to bring an entertainment component to the Vineyard for the winter.
"When the owners hired me they talked to me a lot about broadening our horizons and expanding our season," Mr. Rego said "We have a lot of year-round residents here and a lot of restaurants that close down for the winter. We wanted to try to do something for the locals — give then something to do and draw a little business in the winter."
Aside from special events and Valentine's weekend, the inn's restaurant is not traditionally open from New Year's Day through April. These special nights will mark the first time that patrons will be given the opportunity to enjoy chef Joe DaSilva's innovative gourmet menu in the winter.
Liam Vincent, the hypnotist performing on Saturday, had a successful 10-year career as a stand-up comedian in his native Britain, where he was featured in a BBC comedy special, before moving to New York and developing his hypno-shows. He will blend PG-rated comedy, impersonations, and showmanship with his playful use of hypnosis subjects as entertainers.
"I'm about the only stage hypnotist around at the moment who has come to hypnotism from an entertainment background, and it wraps nicely into the atmosphere of the show," Mr. Vincent said. "The audience comes along for the whole experience, not just the hypnosis."
The comedian/hypnotist explains that not all people can be hypnotized and he performs a couple of simple tests on potential subjects to make certain they will be able to attain a "waking-sleep" trance state where they are then vulnerable to all manner of, mostly silly, suggestions.
Even for those who have watched a hypnotist routine on TV, a live show has advantages that go beyond seeing your friends and neighbors behaving foolishly.
Mr. Vincent notes, "The audience rapport in a live show like this comes from identification with the subjects, and you just don't get that in a televised performance."
He adds, "At the same time, too, I think seeing something like this happening right in front of your eyes helps lend credibility to hypnotherapy, which has always been seen as a fringe practice."
In February, the Lambert's Cove Inn will host master magician and illusionist Steve Charette, who, among other things will levitate one of the dining room tables. Mr. Rego notes that he is particularly excited about this stunt and he adds that the magician will perform some tableside tricks during the dinner portion of the evening before presenting his one-hour illusion show.
In March, the show will be straight-on comedy with a selection of stand-up performers from New England. Mr. Rego hopes that if the first few shows are successful the inn will be able to host some other dinner theater events including music and possibly holiday themed nights during the restaurant's otherwise dark months.
Dinner and a Show 6–10 pm, Lambert's Cove Inn, West Tisbury. $65 not including tax, corkage, gratuity. lambertscoveinn.com; 508-693-2298.
Gwyn McAllister, of Oak Bluffs, is a frequent contributor to The Times.