4×4: Peter Antoniou puts his mind to work to see what audience is thinking

4×4: Peter Antoniou puts his mind to work to see what audience is thinking

Peter Antoniou doesn’t claim what he does is magic — although he does admit that at age 9, he wished for “superpowers.”

“I think I was quite a perceptive child,” says Antoniou, a Brit perhaps best known in this country as a semi-finalist on “America’s Got Talent.” “I often had a sense of things going on around me that I shouldn’t have had any idea about. But I think that’s not an uncommon occurrence for people. I think the skills that I’ve developed are a lot like learning to play a musical instrument — anyone could do it, but some people have a natural flair for it.”

Antoniou comes to the King Opera House in Van Buren May 4 for his “comedy mentalist” show. He answered these questions for What’s Up!

Q. Did any of your skill come from “the Sherlock Holmes method”?

A. I’ve always loved detective stories, so I definitely read the Sherlock stories as a kid. And I do think that being perceptive is a massive help in my skills. Our brains really are supercomputers picking up so much information all the time that we aren’t even consciously aware of. Like right now, if you think about how your left foot feels, you become aware of it. But before you read that, your brain was just filtering out that information. Being able to combine intuition with tapping into the information my brain is perceiving is the backbone of a lot of what I do.

Q. How did the idea to combine what you do with comedy come about?

A. At college I was in an improv troupe that I ended up running. But trying to organize six other comedians for tours around the UK was more trouble than it’s worth. So I took all of our comedy club contacts and started doing mind reading at comedy clubs. Including the comedy felt like a natural move. I think having your mind read or fortune told is quite a scary idea for a lot of people, so the comedy reminds them the show is just for fun, and it’s a relaxed situation.

Q. Tell me how your show works — do people ask questions? Do you single out audience members? What can people expect?

A. The show is a collection of different demonstrations of my skills. I know this will be a lot of people’s first experience of a show like this, so I wanted to make it accessible for everyone. I’ll answer FAQ of my skills; I’ll give some demonstrations of mind reading; and even give some readings. There’s lots of interaction, and we’ll get lots of people involved. No one is forced to take part though, so if you’re curious but want to hide in the back and just observe, that’s totally fine too!

Q. What can you teach people about observation and listening that they can use every day?

A. I go back to our brains being super computers a lot. I think intuition feels like a very woolly word, and a bit crunchy granola new age. As a result people often have a gut feeling, an intuition vibe, about something. But [they] ultimately ignore it because it seems silly to listen to intuition. I’d encourage people to listen to those voices. Just like with the foot example earlier, your brain might be picking up stuff you’re just not aware of. Sit with that feeling, and listen to it. It might just have something to teach you!



Peter Antoniou:

Comedy Mentalist

WHEN — 7 p.m. May 4

WHERE — King Opera House in Van Buren

COST — $20-$30

INFO — kingoperahouse.com

Categories: Theater