Derren Brown Infamous

Derren Brown’s latest show is “well structured and beautifully staged”. Featuring an extraordinary trick at the end, it doesn’t disappoint

All theatre is about the power of language – both verbal and body – to manipulate the audience’s emotions to produce communal joy, laughter, sadness and tears.

Derren Brown‘s shows go off in another direction entirely, using a combination of amazing memory tricks, misdirection and magic to create what seems to be an ability to read minds and control individual and group behaviour.

Described by Brown as a “psychological roller-coaster”, the new show’s details have been kept under wraps but anticipation was already high following his mega-successful shows in 2006 (Something Wicked This Way Comes) and 2012 (Svengali), so how does Infamous fare? Does it match the hype?

No spoilers here at Brown’s request for, while there is much in Infamous that has been seen in his previous stage shows, his affable showmanship creates an intriguing and enthralling evening that needs to be experienced untainted by prior knowledge of what’s to come.

Brown’s occasional smugness is dissipated by self-effacing humour, lulling the audience with apparently random stories from his youth. It’s probably all just part of the misdirection as there’s a feeling that every single word and gesture, every movement, is carefully planned to obtain the desired result. Yet however closely you concentrate on what he’s doing, you still can’t tell how he achieves it. And just when you think he’s finished the show, he pulls a metaphorical rabbit out of the hat with an extraordinary trick that has the audience on their feet cheering.

It’s a mind-bogglingly clever, well-structured, beautifully staged show, with simple but effective visual effects, music and lighting that combine with Brown’s narrative to create an almost other-worldly atmosphere. Up-close camerawork adds to the intrigue and means Brown can’t get away with even the tiniest error.

Maybe it really is magic. Maybe he is telepathic. Just be grateful that the likable Brown is using his powers for entertainment and enlightenment, and he’s not sitting in a remote mountain lair, stroking a white cat and plotting global domination.

Carole Gordon

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