Our Edinburgh Reporter Naomi O’Leary finds herself both astonished and entertained by Peter Antoniou, a young mind-reader with talent for making audiences laugh. Pictures by Camilla Greenwell…
How does one end up being a psychic-comedian? “I was just a very weird child,” says Peter Antoniou. “I got people to pick a black card or a red card, to see if I could influence which one they picked. And I could. Then I thought, if I can put things in people’s minds, perhaps I can take things out.”
It seems to be working. His shows paid his way through university, from which he graduated just last year. Yet for a psychic of such impressive powers, Peter is not spooky at all. People seem to be drawn to him, warmed by his self-deprecating humour and wry wit.
He picks the toughest customers in the crowd to demonstrate his abilities. Steve is a bulky train driver who barks out responses in a gravelly baritone. Alex is a Scottish weather forecaster, which has to grind a man’s enthusiasm down. Peter asks Alex to fasten his eyes closed with duct tape. Alex complies in a no-nonsense manner.
Blinded, without moving from his position on stage, Peter asks another audience member to silently collect random possessions offered up by the crowd. Then, one by one, he describes the objects flawlessly.
“The object is mainly gold. With a blue bit. It’s a ring. You rarely take it off. It was given to you by an older gentleman. You lost it recently and got in a huge stress trying to find it. Now you put it on a chain and hang it from a pin in your bedroom when you’re not wearing it.”
The owner of the ring is a woman in the front row. She is gaping in complete astonishment.
But the most impressive moment of all comes after the show is over. Having correctly described a digital watch belonging to Steve the train driver, Peter asks him to change the time on it to an hour that is personally meaningful to him. He then forgets about it entirely.
With the show over, and the audience filing out of the room, Steve stops in front of Peter. “What time is it?” he challenges, hiding his watch with his hand. “Oh no I forgot!” says Peter, “you should have said something!”
He then stares hard into Steve’s eyes. Finally, Peter speaks: “Five fifty-seven.” Steve gasps in disbelief. He pauses for a second, and then envelops Peter in an enormous bear hug.
More Edinburgh reviews and pictures:
Oedipus: A Love Story
The Incredible Book Eating Boy
To find out more about Peter Antoniou and the other IdeasTap members we’re supporting at this year’s Fringe - and to find out how you can come and meet the IdeasTap team at our Edinburgh hub, go to ideastap.com/Edinburgh
All photographs by Camilla Greenwell, winner of our Edinburgh Photographer brief.