BATS Theatre (Out-Of-Site) Cnr Cuba & Dixon, Wellington

08/05/2013 - 11/05/2013

Q Theatre Loft, 305 Queen St, Auckland

14/05/2013 - 18/05/2013

NZ International Comedy Festival 2007-09, 2013

Production Details


An alter ego of character comic Tom Binns, Ian D Montfort reaches over to the other side and connects the audience with really famous dead celebrities of their choosing. The laughs come thick and fast as the audience howls with laughter and recognition. It goes beyond satire as Binns artfully reads members of the audience, revealing their deepest, darkest secrets.

Taking character comedy to a higher level in a performance that parodies the elusive spirit medium profession, Binns is not only funny but surprisingly impressive. His ability to ad-lib and remain in character never fails to astonish audiences as he delivers jaw-dropping messages from beyond the grave.

As Drew McAdam of the Scotsman said, “The question – is it real, or is it a spoof? The answer: yes . . . Just as you are settling down to enjoy the parody of his spiritualist persona he suddenly starts telling individuals things about themselves that he genuinely could not possibly know. It’s obvious from their reactions that they are shocked and dazed by his knowledge about their partners, pets and the tiny details of their lives.”

Writer, actor, stand-up comic, TV presenter and radio host, Tom Binns has just completed filming a TV pilot for BBC1 called “Ian D Montfort Show”, recorded a BBC Radio 2 series, “Ian D Montfort is Unbelievable”, and an Ian D Montfort DVD. Previously, he had his own chat show on BBC5 called “Tom Binns Munchies”. As well as writing for other TV shows, he was one of the presenters on Channel 4 breakfast show RI:SE, and has appeared on “Knowing Me Knowing Yule With Alan Partridge”, ”Friday Night Armistice” and “Fist Of Fun” as a comic actor. He has been twice nominated for the Adelaide Fringe Comedy Award (2010 and 2011), voted a Fosters Comedy God in 2010, nominated for a Chortle Comedy Award in 2011 and was named in Chortle’s list of 50 Most Memorable Gigs of the decade. In 2007 he was nominated for the Edinburgh Comedy Award for his other character, hospital radio DJ Ivan Brackenbury. He has written a book, “How to Get Famous – a Cynical Guide.” 

*****  “a spookily skilful, wonderfully observed and hysterically funny character who contacts dead celebrities with incredible results.”Time Out, London. 

As part of the 2013 NZ International Comedy Festival


Dates: Wed 8 – Sat 11 May. 9:30pm
Venue: BATS Theatre (corner of Cuba and Dixon Street)
Tickets: $15 – $20 (booking fees may apply)
Bookings: 04 802 4175  

Dates: Tues 14 – Sat 18 May. 7.15pm.
Venue: Loft at Q Theatre (305 Queen Street)
Tickets: $20 – $25 (booking fees may apply)
Bookings: 09 309 9771

For the sweetest deals and hottest comedy news throughout the Festival head to 

Pseudo-spiritual double bluff?

Review by Nik Smythe 15th May 2013

I caught a portion of “Britain’s Top Psychic Comedium” on Sunday at Le Comique, so I already feel initiated into the psychic/psych-out stylings of this Ian D Montfort fellow.  He’s a casual blond hipster with a twinkle in his eye, who looks as much like he might bust out a doobie and a hackysack as read your mind or predict your future.   

As my ability to pick specific British accents is rudimentary at best, I have to cheat and go online to work out whether he’s doing camp Irish lilt or gay Geordie…  Turns out the latter is closer, as Wikipedia describes the character as being from Sunderland, which I learn via Googlemaps to be on the North-East coast, not 20k from Newcastle, so well done me!  (Tom Binns, the human conduit of Mr Montfort is from Sheffield, Yorkshire by the way).

…None of that has anything whatsoever to do with the show I’m afraid, but I did use up a hundred or so words there, thus lessening the risk of spoiling all his best jokes trying to fill page space.  Really though, I couldn’t spoil them all, there are just so many as he exploits the inherent qualities and clichés of all things esoteric: channelling, astrology, numerology, Tarot, ‘doodlology’ et al.

There is naturally a great deal of audience participation, lubricated by the small cards each member is handed at the door to write down personal details including a secret, and a question.  Periodically through the show he randomly picks these out of a hat and has a crack at guessing the secret and/or answering the question.  On this night for instance, he revealed who shot JFK! 

At first Montfort openly utilises the phony tricks of any number of counterfeit spiritualists we’ve all seen before, be it obvious methodical generalisations – “I’m getting a woman in the room who’s either lost weight or is thinking about losing weight, does that make any sense?” – or shameless buck-passing guilt-mongering: “If I get anything wrong, please don’t blame the spirits; take some of the blame for yourselves!” 

Then, just when he’s all but outright declared that this whole metaphysical racket is just that, a conniving pretence designed to exploit the hopes and fears of idealistic fools for personal profit, he hits you with a truly mind-stumping zinger that the average human brain cannot reconcile. A pseudo-spiritual double bluff? The secret of the Tarot routine I’d already seen on Sunday, for example, is no easier to dissect the second time around. 

The crowning illusion (or, is it illusion?  …Yes it is.  Or is it?), is set up from the beginning as he identifies a confirmed skeptic in the audience and hands him a sealed envelope containing premonitions allegedly scribbled out the night before. 

After continually referring back to the poor chap (semi-ironically named Damien) throughout the show, at the climactic moment he reveals said predictions to test their accuracy.  Turns out he was spot on this time, but who knows how it’ll go for him on the other nights?  …Probably he does, actually. 


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Mysterious comedy ideally pitched

Review by John Smythe 09th May 2013

Masquerading as Ian D Montfort, a lightly camp psychic from North East England – Sunderland, to be precise; well known, apparently, for harbouring a psychopathic killer – Tom Binns plays fast-and-loose with our willingness to suspend disbelief.

As we take our seats he distributes small folded cards, asking us to write our initials and signature on the front, then inside – taking care that no-one sees – write our full name, a secret about us that no-one knows and a question we’d like answered (that we don’t already know the answer to). These are collected by an audience member in a colourful shopping bag which remains fully visible down-stage centre throughout the show.

Also fully visible at all times, up-stage centre, is a sealed envelope which contains predictions Montfort keeps on referring to in portentous tones. 

He has the spirit medium / clairvoyant / astrologist patter down perfectly, every now and then chatting with someone on ‘the other side’ in a variety of ways that give us a strong impression of their varied personalities.  

Initially it seems clear it is all a piss-take, what with his talking about working off “vocal vibrations” to determine our star signs. Having identified a sceptic to work with – a Dutchman called Thijs (pronounced Tice) – the means by which he deduces his star sign is blatantly obvious, albeit subverted on this occasion by his pronunciation of ‘e’ as if it was ‘a’. Yet every subsequent time he engages with someone throughout his 80 minutes, he accurately picks their star sign.  

This is his genius: he plays about making it look as if it’s all an amiable con-job then floors us all with inexplicable insights and knowledge. When he picks a card from the bag, clearly holding it closed, he unerringly teases out the secret contents with unnerving accuracy. Only now, as I write this, do I think I know how he does it (but of course I won’t give it away). And yet those star signs have never been written down …

Montfort’s accuracy in the Numerology sequence, involving an audience member with a die and plastic coffee cup, remains a mystery. And his Doodle-ology demonstration, whereby he accurately reproduces an audience member’s doodle, draws an impressed gasp and applause for us all.

There is a dark side to his show, brought out through a deck of Tarot cards and at the expense of Thijs, whose happy demeanour as the game plays out this night encourages Montfort to take it to the proverbial wire. More specifically, he takes it to the afore-mentioned sealed envelope. And the revelations therein are guaranteed to have our jaws dropping as we applaud the spooky skill. 

Tom Binns as Ian D Montfort is a well-crafted show, ideally pitched for the Bats auditorium. If you like comical mystery or mysterious comedy that will challenge your perceptions while entertaining you, get along to this one.


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