Happy Medium? - Ian D Montfort Review

August 26, 2011

Ian D Montfort Spirit Medium

Tom Binn's as Ian D Montfort:Spirit Comedium

@ the Pleasance Theatre

25 August — 28 August Pleasance Courtyard  Above 6:15pm

If I'd  have had any reservations on seeing Tom Binns' spoof psychic character Ian D Montford, they quickly dissapeared on seeing comedy luminaries Dara O' Briain and David O'Doherty in the queue. Quite the coup for an Edinburgh show with no shortage of competition in the comedy stakes. But Binns/Montfort quickly proved himself worthy of such esteemed company.

Montford wastes no time in setting the scene; within minutes I could have easily been in a dilapidated, grim bingo hall in Sunderland, desperately wanting to contact Mr Jacks my long dead terrier. Spoof or not, Montfort's readings are brilliantly eerie, at once sending up the practice of cold reading whilst displaying a knowledge of the whole procedure that adds a strange sense of authenticity to the act.  It was a win-win situation for Binns really; if it worked it was brilliant and if it didn’t it was all part of the joke. Thankfully, he didn't have to fall back on 'irony' or being 'meta' - it was just plain funny.

Montfort cleverly and gently ribs his audience with his readings and hits so many right notes with his brilliant acting and comic timing. But I wish that we got to know more about the character though. In particular, I think not revealing the dark secret behind how he got his skills might be a missed trick; perhaps by hinting at the repressed recesses of his childhood memories - Montford could have endeared himself to the audience even further.

The concept itself would, believe it or not, work so well as a corporate entertainment act; it's quick, never too close to the bone, intriguing and massively entertaining. The hour-long show shot by and I really didn’t want to leave his company by the time it was over. Ian D Montfort's  show was  original, razor sharp, hysterical and even dabbled in genuine surprises that would impress even the most hardened sceptic. A must see when he returns to london.