Vladimir Dimitri Kockov of the Soviet Republic of Monrokvia is the alter ego of British comedian and mentalist Jasper Blakeley. As a wildly sexualized but daring character, Kockov manages to combine comedy, mentalism, and a genuine character wildly different from the real Jasper Blakeley and put it all onstage as a wonderful package.
Unlike a Boris Pocus who is merely an extension of Jay Sankey’s zany self, Kockov is an exercise of contrast with his alter ego. He is very quick-witted, a bit of a rascal, and ultimately knows how to make light of even the gravest situation. While Kockov is funny, he is anything but a bumbling magician. His performances are flawless, skilfully executed, and his finale is downright dangerous as he does an actual four-gun Russian Roulette. Amid the laughter, people do know that the routine is genuinely life-threatening, but Kockov’s character, while definitely more than willing to call upon himself, does not take away from this fact.
The Plunge of Death is his version of the spike/knife roulette. It’s the version I am fond of because not only are the materials easy to acquire, it also lends itself to a lot of excellent byplay when contrasted with the other forms of this act.
Kockov is a relatively new performer in the mentalism circles, but he certainly has gotten around, travelling all over the world and impressing and amusing them at the same time. His mentalism work is top-notch, as they are, like any mentalist worth his salt, excellent and fresh new takes on classics in the art form. His unique character, being maintained religiously throughout his show, is something that makes his performances memorable, as it allows Blakeley to break out of the shell his very clean-cut looks force him in and allow him to be the whirling dervish that Kockov is known to be.
Recalling the film “The Prestige”, I am strongly reminded of how a performer elicits a different kind of reaction by religiously portraying a character without breaking it all throughout. Kockov as a character is very interesting and colourful, and really is an exercise in packaging. Anyone can do mentalism, but only few can really bring mentalism to a level where in spite of a full show of nothing but mentalism, the audience doesn’t end up bored to tears.
Essentially, that sets Kockov apart from a lot of other performers: he is thoroughly devoted to a character and sees it through in his performance. It can only be helpful to a performer to have that kind of consistency.