Nic Wright

Edinburgh Fringe review: Ian D Montfort’s Midday Séance

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Sunderland’s leading medium Ian D Montfort returns to the Fringe this year with his Midday Séance – a timeslot considerably less spooky than his preferred midnight interval, but evidently even psychics aren’t immune to administrative hiccups.

Right off the bat, Montfort asks the crowd to manage their expectations; his understated venue is apparently the only building in Edinburgh that isn’t haunted, and due to the time difference, the only available spirits are Australian. No matter though, as Montfort has plenty of tricks up his sleeve in today’s show.

Mystics might be ripe for parody, but puppet-master Tom Binns’ skewering of clairvoyancy is inventive and clever, as he picks holes in the setup via Montfort’s catty, defensive self-delusions.

Not content with entertainingly harrying the work of spiritualists though, it’s Montfort’s uncanny knack for cold-reading that elevates the show to water-cooler status. Equal parts Alan Partridge and Derren Brown, Montfort performs a bit of divination using the less-touted method of picking humbugs from a bowl, weeds out some of the audience’s grubby little secrets, and deduces which dearly departed celebrities’ hair clippings he’s faced with with cutting, and often hilarious accuracy.

An impressive routine, peppered with gags, and an endearing dire central character in Montfort, Binns creates an intriguing mix of the baffling and the wickedly humorous.

Much of the set however, will be old news to many comedy fans, with very little in the way of new material making an appearance; the show does lose a little of its impact with repeat viewing, though it still makes for a unique and amusing set, thanks in no small part to Binns’ witty and well-observed characterisation.

Date of live review: 23 August 2014 @ Bob & Miss Behave’s Bookshop

Click to read all our Edinburgh Fringe reviews so far.