Comedy takes many forms. Some comedians throw slick, short puns at you by the dozen. Some weave tales of derring do and experience, embellished and fantastic. And others observe us, and remind us of how frail, desperate or silly we all are.
Tom Binns, on the other hand, has become famous for simply being someone else. The actor, broadcaster and stand-up comedian became best known in the early naughties as the hapless radio DJ Ivan Brackenbury.
In 2010 he made the comedy headlines for the right reasons as a new character, Ian D’Montfort, the spirit medium, and his show ‘Touching The Dead’. And – yes, you got the vibe – it’s D’Montfort who is headlining Tiverton’s Comedy Hall on December 14th.
The extraordinary thing about Binns is his method. He has observed that psychics can be targeted by comedians, for their acts are seen (in the main) as stage show fantasy. The arrival of medium TJ Higgs in Tiverton in 2009 caused the kind of reaction in some that likened her to a witch, the devil or antichrist. Somewhat harsh, when others consider mediumship to be little more than a parlour trick.
Binns has had instruction from an expert, in order to understand how mediums tick. And his comedy show, far from being a string of one-liners, is often as believable as the real thing. Except, with Binns at the helm, we know that only a ship of fools would believe he’s talking to the dead.
Binns makes his mockery of mediumship extremely funny, but it’s billed as mockery – leaving room for you to make your own mind up about the real psychics out there.
You’ll find out for yourself when you see the show. And this is not to downplay the opening acts for night. They are both from the same mind. Firstly we have Tom Binns’ other alter ego, Ivan Brackenbury, who brings the joy of an inadequate, nervous, thoughtless radio DJ to life, playing badly chosen songs for people suffering in their hospital beds and making inappropriate comments and quips – all done with a big heart and cringeworthy desire to please. The Brackenbury character has proven popular on the medium it spoofs, on radio, with regular slots on Steve Wright and a series on the BBC. Not surprising since Binns has spent years as a radio DJ and presenter, not least as host of Channel 4’s Riise – the replacement for The Big Breakfast.
Finally we’re introduced to Tom Binns himself. Tom rarely takes to the stage as Tom, and in this new addition to his show – which got rave reviews in the recent Melbourne Comedy Festival – he tries his hand at ventriloquism. And like everything Tom does, the research and attention to detail is breathtaking and he could take on the world’s best and funniest as if he’d been doing it all his life.
Tom Binns as Tom Binns, Ivan Brackenbury and Ian D’Montfort are at Tiverton Community Arts Theatre on Monday December 14th. Tickets from www.comedyhall.co.uk or The Busy Bee in Tiverton. Tickets are just £12.