Mischief Theatre Company has pulled off yet another magical comedy in the best tradition of that comic genius Tommy Cooper whose tricks always seemed to go wrong.

The Welsh prop comedian and magician – best known for his catchline ‘just like that’ - made a living out of getting laughs when his magic tricks failed to go right, and Mischief follows admirably in his footsteps with Mind Mangler: Member of the Tragic Circle.

Starring Mischief Theatre’s artistic director Henry Lewis Mischief director Jonathan Sayer, this production comes to Bath’s Theatre Royal direct from a six-week season in London’s West End.

The creators of the global smash hit The Play That Goes Wrong and BBC TV’s The Goes Wrong Show have come up with a mind-bending comedy that engages the audience well before the curtain goes up.

Henry Lewis as The Mind Mangler and Jonathan Sayer as The Stooge. Photo: Pamela Raith PhotographyHenry Lewis as The Mind Mangler and Jonathan Sayer as The Stooge. Photo: Pamela Raith Photography (Image: Pamela Raith Photography)

Audiences are invited to join the ‘Mind Mangler’ as he makes his spectacular return to the stage with his new two-man “solo” show.

Theatre staff hand out pens and cards inviting the audience to divulge their darkest secret, which are then promptly emptied into a glass bowl on stage.

They are then subjected to hilarious feats of mentalism as the play spirals into chaos as Mind Mangler Henry Lewis attempts to read your mind, mind, mind and the result is an absolute barrel of laughs from start to finish.

Written by Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields, Mind Mangler is full of the farcical silliness for which Mischief Theatre is well known, fused with dollops of audience participation, not all of it genuine, and lots of ad-libbing.

Sayers pops up several times as audience member and as The Stooge, and there’s lots of laughter originating from the on-stage and off-stage interaction with genuine audience members. Thanks to this, I now know what a yellow-bellied sap sucker is. It’s a woodpecker!

Henry Lewis in Mind Mangler: Member of the Tragic CircleHenry Lewis in Mind Mangler: Member of the Tragic Circle (Image: Pamela Raith Photography)

Underlying the magic – or lack of it – there’s a sub-plot of two best friends, one of whom acts as The Stooge but also pretends to be the Mind Mangler’s manager, and the other who has recently lost his house, his dog, and a lot of his self-respect in a messy divorce which has left him almost bankrupt.

The show consists series of short sketches with tricks, involving nervous audience member having a deepest, darkest secret revealed, their thoughts read, or their name guessed.

One of the highlight of this for me was that ‘John’  “was reviewing the show” which of course I am and I was - but sadly that wasn’t my secret – I left that to my wife who seemed strangely relieved her dark secret wasn’t revealed, unlike the poor lady who had to confess she hadn’t voted for her husband in a local election in which he was standing!

The end result is that the two-hour show absolutely flies by and leaves the audience wanting more.

While the staging is simple, there’s a plethora of props, from an oversized chalkboard, to loaves of bread and fishes, and a full-size ice cream freezer into which Lewis climbs just before the interval.

Mind Mangler is directed by Hannah Sharkey and appears to be a slick production that copes admirably with changes for each performance, in terms of audience participation and engagement.

If you haven’t seen it yet, do go. You won’t be disappointed. It’s lots of fun and one of the best night’s out that I’ve had in ages.

Mind Mangler: Member of the Tragic Circle appears at the Theatre Royal Bath to Sunday, June 16. To book tickets contact the Theatre Royal Bath Box Office on 01225 448844 or visit theatreroyal.org.uk