Osterlind benefit show
leaves audience in awe
by Bobby Warren
For more than two hours, the audience at a Richard Osterlind show in Dry Ridge, Ky., could not believe what was unfolding before their eyes. They shook their heads in disbelief, buried their heads in their hands, and looked at one another in bewilderment.
This was how they responsed to Osterlind crawling into the deep crevices of their minds and reading their innermost thoughts. He knew special people in their lives, important dates, addresses where they lived, and pets they owned. He knew what numbers they were thinking, what cards they pictured in their minds, and a whole lot of other information he should neither have known nor had access to.
Osterlind demonstrated his ability as a mentalist during a benefit show Nov. 20, 2009, at Grant County High School to raise money for the Free Kitchen, which provides meals to families in need.
It was a rare opportunity to see Osterlind perform in a public venue. While the master mentalist keeps busy with performances around the country and around the globe, his shows are nearly all corporate events. Consequently, it is difficult for other performers of the magical arts to catch his complete act live.
Those who fancy themselves mentalists or budding mentalists need to watch Osterlind perform his entire show. The Grant County audience got to see his complete corporate act plus his hypnotism show. Even though Osterlind returned from performing in Norway, Sweden, and Denmark the day before his Grant County show, his energy level was high, he interacted well with the audience, and the show flowed smoothly from start to finish with no hiccups.
What made this show such a treasure to watch were all the subtle touches Osterlind used throughout his performance that spanned 2 hour and 15 minutes and included a 15-minute intermission between the mentalism and hypnotism shows. While some mentalists use psychological forces as effects in and of themselves, Osterlind incorporated them to lead up to an effect or enhance it, building his routine layer by layer.
Those subtleties were on display during his Bank Nite routine and were woven throughout the performance. He is masterful at working with an audience, and he is a bold risk-taker who can recognize and build on those hits, which came early and often. Nowhere was this more evident than in the centerpiece of his show, his Q&A routine. He used his marketed effect Thought Scan for the question-and-answer sequence.
Following the show, one woman said she was amazed by Osterlind's performance. "You see this kind of stuff in the movies," she said, never thinking she would witness it for real in her life.
Another young lady, who helped Osterlind during his watch routine, said she was blown away "when he knew everybody's thoughts."
For those who have watched how well Osterlind performs on his DVDs, I am here to tell you he is even better live. As Leland Pennington observed, "He really seemed to enjoy what he was doing." And it was evident.
Following the show, many people stuck around talking to Osterlind and asking for his autograph. He also took some time to chat and snap some photos with fellow performers from I.B.M. Ring 71 in Cincinnati. He also talked about a letter he received from Tony Corinda. (You can hear what Osterlind said about that correspondence in the video below.)
I traveled five hours to see the show, and it was entirely worth it. I would encourage all to do the same should the opportunity arise again. Osterlind is an incredible performer and entertainer. Even if you are not a mentalist, there is something to learn from him about how to work an audience and treat them respectfully.
Read Bobby Warren's story about the Corinda DVD project here.
Here is Osterlind talking about the letter he received from Tony Corinda (and more):
Here is Osterlind's performance of Great Minds Think Alike: