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Comedy Review: Tom Binns as Ian D Montfort

May 16, 2013 Theatre

NZ International Comedy Festival

Loft at Q
May 15, 2013

Guy Williams and UK comic Chris Martin had a live web chat on the NZ Herald website last week and it was pretty enjoyable. Partly as research and partly because it was lunchtime, I decided to join in: “I have a two part question,” I wrote. “What makes something funny and when is the best time to get on the property ladder?”

Chris Martin criticised me for not understanding how to use a two part question but Guy Williams said something along the lines of: “The unexpected is always funny”.

I have held that response close to my heart, mostly because it is easy to understand. I thought of it often last night during Tom Binns’ show because almost everything he did was unexpected.

Binns is a comedian pretending to be a medium called Ian D Montfort. He hands out pre-printed cards for you to fill out as you walk in the door. He does some readings of audience members throughout the show, based around the cards. He does tarot readings and a bit where he improbably guesses some numbers. He gets an audience member to draw a picture in secret, then attempts to draw the same picture.

The medium stuff sometimes appeared impressively accurate in the same way it sometimes does when the real charlatans do it, but it was only ever in service of the comedy, which was so, so good. It was the first show at the festival during which I laughed till I cried, and I have seen some pretty funny shows, and also I am quite jaded.

I never saw anything coming: not when he first came on stage in flowing white shirt and barefeet, not when he started telling Matt in the front row that he was giving off a particularly bad energy and not at the end when he got Matt up on stage for the excellent finale.

Just like a professional medium you might see on a terrible television show, Binns’ character was an awful person pretending to be sensitive and caring. But it turns out that can be really, really funny. And that was unexpected.

Continues to May 18. 7.15pm.


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