It’s a long way from Grand Cayman to Las Vegas.
But for Derek Marshall the gambling and entertainment mecca is becoming something of a second home.
The comedy hypnotist has just spent a week in Sin City performing at the V Theater at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino. Derek tells us how his latest stage appearance came about.
“There were two hypnosis seminars happening in Las Vegas. I was guest speaking at one and the other one is a training seminar hosted by Las Vegas headliner Marc Savard,” says our buddy.
“I have taken Marc’s training in the past and we have developed a really good friendship over the past few years. When I arrived in Vegas, Marc was sick with the flu and rather then perform sick he asked me to step in for a few nights. He rested before teaching a four-day hypnosis seminar to over 50 students from around the world.”
Indeed, Marc Savard’s nightly show at Planet Hollywood is considered to be the No. 1 show in Vegas, if not the world.
“His Comedy Hypnosis show is an audience participation show where he will invite volunteers on stage to be hypnotised and be a part of it,” says Derek.
“He normally starts with around 40 volunteers on stage and after hypnotising most of the group he does some suggestibility tests to narrow his volunteers down to the best eight to 12. From there, the show is controlled chaos with nothing but laughter from the audience for 75 minutes.”
Because of the short notice, Derek performed a version of the Savard act, which worked well, he says, because he was working with all the sound and light technicians plus stage assistants who were all familiar with the usual headliner’s show.
“It’s always fun filling in for Marc Savard,” Derek says.
“He has a really great staff and it’s very exciting even just hanging out backstage in his dressing room with them before we hit the stage. The excitement in the theatre is indescribable. The funny thing is that when you walk out onto the stage for this first time you actually cannot even see the audience, the lights are so bright!
“You feed off their energy and once they start laughing at your first few jokes your nerves calm down, excitement takes over and before you know it you are half way through the show. We had some incredible volunteers who enjoyed themselves very much,” he adds.
Derek is, of course, a popular act here in Cayman, too. Nonetheless, it must be quite the culture shock to suddenly hit the former Rat Pack hangouts.
“What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” smiles the entertainer.
“Yes, the audience is very different; that being said, just like here in Cayman everyone who attends a hypnosis show is there to have a great time and to be entertained.
“In many ways Vegas is a tougher audience because you are managing so many people and the audience has very high expectations. Especially as a stand in filling in for Marc Savard. I had some big shoes to fill.”
Derek’s show takes place at Margaritaville every Thursday with doors opening at 7pm and showtime at 8pm. As demand grows, he says, Fridays and Saturdays will be added.
“Margaritaville gigs are always evolving,” he says. “General Manager Chris Redlund has been extremely supportive of Cayman entertainment. Not only through providing great food and drink specials but also he has built a new full size stage which really helps with the presentation of the shows. As we are now in season and the audiences continue to get bigger we are able to show more complex demonstrations of how the mind works.
“It’s amazing how many people tell me they don’t believe in hypnosis and then after the show they are so intrigued with what they have just witnessed,” he adds.