Peter Antoniou in 'Comedium'

To be or not to be? That is yet again the question. Can one man be a comedian and a psychic medium – a comedium? Peter Antoniou certainly gives it a go. This psychic comedian has the makings of a great performance at his fingertips. But it doesn’t quite add up. I prefer my magic – well, a bit more magical. A bit more Uri Geller than Ross Geller from Friends, if you know what I mean.

Balancing between a magic and comedy is tricky; just when you think you can take Peter Antoniou seriously he swings another cheesy joke at you.

Balancing between a magic and comedy is tricky; just when you think you can take Peter Antoniou seriously he swings another cheesy joke at you. Antoniou’s confident and likable stage presence kept the momentum going nicely. There were no showbiz trappings in this performance; all he had to work with was a deck of cards, a stack of paper, a clipboard and a pen. I have no clue as to why this performance is filed under cabaret; comedy would have been much more suitable. Maybe that too raised my expectations for the performance.

The difference between a good magician and a great magician is that when they’re good, you try to pick their act apart. But when they’re great, you don’t care, you just run with it. With Peter Antoniou, I never quite got to the second base. Most tricks were easy, such as guessing between four people who wrote what on little notes. Handwriting gives away your gender and then you just look for little clues in people’s behaviour. I bet most of the audience got them right, too. Some later acts were more impressive like guessing four-digit numbers, birthdays, past girlfriend’s names or objects from the audience while blindfolded. Still it felt more like clever party tricks than grand displays of psychic powers.

I think part of the problem was that this show was written for a late – and drunk – crowd. The show started at 4.30, when most people were coming from their Saturday shopping just to stretch their legs for a bit. It was a full house at the Komedia Studio, but the atmosphere never rose to the occasion. Later at night it could have been the intense, intimate atmosphere just right for great magic. This was a tasty starter that left me yearning for something a bit more substantial. In a stadium rock concert, Antoniou would have been a worthy warm-up, not quite the headliner yet.

Reviews by Johanna Makelainen

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Award-winning psychic comedian, Peter Antoniou, comes to Brighton Fringe with his brilliantly successful 2013 Edinburgh show. Removed from all the showbiz trappings this is an intimate show that is just the audience, Peter and the most amazing and astounding demonstrations of mind reading you are ever likely to see. “Prepare to be flabbergasted. Five Stars!” (WhatsOnStage). “Full of laughter and bewildered smiles… You don’t want to miss this!” (Broadway Baby). "Brilliant" (BBC).