Reading minds in Crystal Lake, Joe Diamond an entertainment legend in the making

Published: Wednesday, April 12, 2017 4:20 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, April 12, 2017 4:21 p.m. CDT

By REGINA BELT-DANIELS

I don’t believe Joe Diamond is the mystery performer everyone is “quietly talking about” as his PR suggests. A lot of amazing things have happened to Diamond lately (and how can you stay quiet about that?) – appearances on WGN radio and TV, ABC7, Showtime and the Movie Channel and regular bookings at Chicago’s Magic Cabaret and the Dole’s Listening Room. TripAdvisor named Diamond the “number one perfect evening out in Crystal Lake,” and, yes, he still holds the world’s record for solving the world’s largest corn maze while blindfolded.

Having attended many of Diamond’s shows – initially as a skeptic – I was excited to attend “Dreamcatcher,” his latest show at the Listening Room. The show was packed with fans and the newly curious, all lured by Diamond’s promise to combine his signature mind-reading skills with his ability to interpret dreams. He cleverly engages audience members with random selection for participation in his explanations, tricks and showcases – another great lure.

Yes, there are reasons why Diamond’s shows are so popular and sell out so quickly. His shows are fast-paced with continued audience interaction; Diamond’s sense of humor is rampant and co-exists with his effective communication skills; he is sincere, intelligent, personable, attractive and, best of all, uncannily 100 percent accurate.

“Dreamcatcher” is a somewhat more personal show than previous presentations. Diamond reveals, as a child, he read Sherlock Holmes and Palmistry books voraciously and his grandmother taught him how to tell fortunes with an ordinary pack of playing cards. (And here he explains how a pack of cards is a perfect representation of time: 52 cards = 52 weeks, four suits, four seasons. If you add up all the values in a deck, you arrive at 364, but add the Joker and it’s 365, the same as the number of days in a year, etc.)

Diamond also confesses his first business venture at the age of 8 was a tremendous failure; starting a detective agency in Wonder Lake, a locale that had no mysteries, no murders and no business. He recreates his first paranormal experience (age 12) with the assistance of two young boys from the audience. Suffice to say, the resulting occurrence of spoon bending meets with audience gasps and repeated proclamations of “What?!” and “You’ve got to be kidding.”

Diamond also reinforced the concept of mental telepathy with an activity involving a 40-years-married couple plucked from the fourth row, while quoting Mark Twain’s “mental telepathy is an undeniable fact.” Diamond is literate, if nothing else.

In the latter half of the program, astonishingly while wearing a steel-lined mask checked out by audience members and while holding crumpled pieces of paper given to him by audience volunteers, Diamond is not only able to tell what dream is written on that paper but interpret it as well. Incidentally, the dreams ranged from beach walks with mom and a 1920s cartoon flapper to ponies making cupcakes (you had to see that one to believe it!). And there are many other entertaining segments I won’t reveal.

If you’re not able to catch Diamond at one of his Listening Room or Magic Cabaret shows, try to book a seat for one of his Studio Series program. Currently, two shows are running: “Close Encounters” and “The 13th Hour.” But be forewarned – only 13 people are admitted for the studio shows, and the tickets disappear as soon as dates are announced.

Diamond is an entertainment legend in the making, and his show is the fabric of good theater. My recommendation? Catch it! This Diamond is a gem of a show.

• Regina Belt-Daniels is a working actress and director who began her career onstage in 1985 at the Woodstock Opera House. Currently serving on the Raue Center for the Arts Board, she also is a lifetime member of TownSquare Players and a retired District 47 teacher.

This if from the exact show that was reviewed above! Someone took a video on their iPhone without permission, but when they uploaded the video, it looked so good I asked if I could share it as well! - Joe Diamond