Tom Binns has created the funniest Psychic, Ian D. Montfort, who can speak with dead people you don’t know. Genius, pure genius and a must see.
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Sam Jeffery - KeepingupwithNZ.com'4 1/2 Stars - ...a truly exceptional performance, unique and full of laughter, and it would be an enormous surprise if a single audience member went home anything other than satisfied.'open/close
On Tuesday night the Q Loft played host to Tom Binns and his comedy psychic alter-ego Ian D Montfort. Hailing from the North East of England, and not to be confused with the “Sunderland Psycho”, D Montfort wowed a packed audience with a performance full of laughs, wit and some actually seriously impressive clairvoyance.
Having been winner of Best International Show at last year’s International Comedy Festival there was an enormous sense of anticipation as D Montfort strolled onto stage clad all in white. He did not disappoint. Swooning around the stage, and oozing campness ,D Montfort informed his audience that he is “in touch with the spirits” – just not with “any that we know or anyone we’ve recently lost”. The show is of course a jovial mockery of the fallacy of mediums and psychics, and it is performed with utter brilliance.
The long-running theme of the show, set out early by picking on a poor front-rower, revolves around D Montfort’s insistence on dispelling any skepticism. The singled out naysayer was then subjected to a number of psychic treatments, including the macabre reading of Tarot cards that indicated his impending doom. D Montfort of course played on this for the rest of the show.
Many audience members were subject to readings, and pot-shot guesses were passed off as psychic insight, with the razor sharp wit and speed of the responses ensuring an unyielding stream of laughter throughout.
From D Montfort’s jovial teasing of Zack, the luckless usher, to his homosexual innuendos and quirky mannerisms, this was a performance of immaculate comedy timing and poise. It was simply impossible not to laugh at the presence that appeared on stage.
What’s perhaps more extraordinary is that this was also a performance laced with genuine, and almost unfathomable, psychic brilliance. On numerous occasions D Montfort was able to identify the impossible – pet chickens named Jenny and a Runes reading that was frankly baffling, spring to mind.
All told it was a truly exceptional performance, unique and full of laughter, and it would be an enormous surprise if a single audience member went home anything other than satisfied.
As we're taking our seats, an usher is asking anyone who would like to, to write down a secret on a piece of paper and keep it to themselves, to be used in the show. When Montford appears, they're asked to pop the notes in a collection box which are then transferred to a fishbowl at side of stage.
Without ever picking up a single one of those papers, he proceeds to pepper his show with the secrets submitted. How on earth does he do it [insert big winky emoticon here]?
He has several ‘gifts' that he's keen to share with us, all the while trying to placate the cynical side of the audience's nature, from straight-out guess-work to investigative questioning, to Viking Bones and Tarot Cards.
A campy northerner in sandals and white muslin attire, Montford is played by Tom Binns with a controlled earnestness that obscures a sheer glee for indirectly denouncing frauds and sham carny types that still persist in our popular culture.
He perfectly captures that false professionalism spouted by those looking to make a quick buck from the easily fooled.
The show is bookended with intentionally swift disclaimers about the nature of the material on offer here, which if you're too busy fiddling with your refreshments or car keys you'll miss: all part of the sleight-of-hand on show here.
His lines of questioning with willing (and sometimes unwilling) audience members are just vague enough to prove his ultimate point: that around about 85% of these kind of ‘real' psychic performances are based on guesswork, assumptions or well observed body language.
When he gets predictions wrong the edges are fudged with a slightly pointed vagueness to bring his point home and to drive the comedy to a higher place.