Ian D Montfort
Pseudo-psychic satire that has its cake and eats it too
This article is from 2012.
Having effectively retired his hospital radio DJ Ivan Brackenbury, Tom Binns returns to the Fringe with one of his fresher character creations: Sunderland psychic Ian D Montfort. It’s a spot-on satire of the cult of cold-reading, with Montfort’s intentional vagueness bringing to mind the John Edwardses and Colin Frys of the world (‘I’m sensing a man of colour – and I feel comfortable saying that, because it’s not clear which colour, he could be black or white’).
The catch is that, every now and then, he gets it right. Amidst the gently insulting psychic-babble (‘You’re someone who’s a leader, who also likes to follow the crowd – is that right?’), Montfort drops in small tidbits of real information that leave the audience member in question slack-jawed. Then there’s barely time for a brief round of applause before he’s back satirizing his own apparent abilities.
Everyone will have their own theory on exactly how it’s accomplished – Montfort scotches one rumour, stating ‘Even if I did have an in-ear mic, it would only be of use if there was a genuine psychic on the other end’ – but that’s part of the fun. That, and having the portentous pretension of clairvoyance thoroughly dismantled in front of you.