Stand-up comedy and mind-reading merge to produce psychic comedian Peter Antoniou who will be appearing at this year’s Petworth Festival.
Peter will be in action on Tuesday, July 29, from 7.45pm-8.45pm (no interval) in Leconfield Hall, and in the right circumstances, he might just be able to tell you what you’re thinking.
“I might try to figure out the name of the first person you kissed!”
And the reason he does it all?
“I guess I was just a very weird kid. I have always had a massive love of comic books, and I used to think ‘If I had a superpower, what would I like?’ I always thought that I would love to be able to read what was happening in someone’s mind. I had the attitude that I wanted to find out how to do it. I just used to spend a lot of time with psychologists and magicians, picking up on their ideas. It was through mutual friends or through email, and a lot of them were just intrigued by this kid wanting to know how they did what they did!
He continued: “When you are on a motorway, you see all these other people going by and they are all in their own little worlds, and you are in yours. I just find it fascinating, the thought of being able to peer into their world and see what they are thinking.”
For the show, Peter gets people to think of really evocative things, such as that first kiss – though he admits he struggles to explain exactly how he does what he then does next.
“It is like when you are learning to drive a car and you are thinking about how you change gears, but then when you have been driving for a while, you just change the gears without thinking about it and it would be really difficult for you to pick that process apart. It’s a bit like that now with mind-reading.
“But basically I need people to be reliving that thought because it makes it much easier for me to pick it out. The more concrete it is in their minds, the easier it is for me.
“It works pretty much with everyone, but just at different speeds with different people. I have not yet found out the reasoning why it works at different speeds. Sometimes, the people that are super-sceptical are the ones that are easiest to read. They are trying so hard not to give themselves away, but it becomes like a double bluff, and then sometimes you struggle with the people that are the most willing to co-operate.
“People that are horribly drunk are just a nightmare because they are not thinking anything much at all. You reach a certain point with tipsy when it is fun for me and fun for them, but then you go over the cliff!”
Sometimes, Peter will read something that clearly oughtn’t to be made public – and he won’t make it public. For instance, he once sensed that someone was wondering whether their uncle had faked their dad’s will.
“That would have been pretty libellous to have brought that out!”
If in doubt, Peter opts for a quiet word. He never sets out to embarrass.
The most recent example of this was when he asked people to think of a celebrity. One woman thought of Hugh Laurie and Peter had a flash that she had a recurring saucy dream about Hugh Laurie that was embarrassing to her.
Once again, Peter decided that discretion was the better part of valour.
“I saw her go bright red, and I just nodded to say that I wouldn’t be bringing it up!”
For more information, or to book tickets, visit www.petworthfestival.org.uk or call 01798 344576.