‘We’re all trapped inside our own heads,’ states Derren Brown at the top of his latest show. Disappointing, eh? Who wouldn’t want to take a peek into Derren’s mind and discover his methods? And in ‘Infamous’ – which sees Brown writing with regular collaborator Andy Nyman again after 2011’s solo ‘Svengali’ – there are plenty of astonishing acts of ‘mind-reading’ to leave you befuddled.
Of course, as with any Derren Brown gig (or magic show in general), we can’t reveal exactly what happens here. But we can say that ‘Infamous’ is a funnier, more personal and less creepy show than Brown’s previous offerings, and features mind-boggling memory feats, a lot of super-accurate ‘guesswork’ and the odd splatter of blood.
Sat on a single stool in the middle of a disused-theatre set (think ‘Dragon’s Den’ minus the wads of cash), the newly slapheaded Brown begins with some simple, but effective pieces of telepathy. From there, the show slowly builds in scale and impressiveness to a spectacular multi-illusion finale that constantly exceeds itself.
‘Infamous’ is a masterclass in presentation. The key to all of Brown’s tricks (and they are just tricks) is the set-up and atmosphere, and allowing the audience to decide whether the method is really reading body language and predicting behaviour, or in fact something more simple. One illusion in the first half is effectively repeated in the second, but by repackaging it with a more sombre environment and subject matter, it’s far more powerful and emotional.
Perhaps that’s Brown’s biggest trick of all; he’s not making conjuring seem trendy or cool, he’s making it not feel like a magic show at all.
By Ben Williams
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An amazing evening, such a talented man. Could watch this show over and over again and still wouldn't know how it was done, fantastic.
Having been a long-standing fan of Derren Brown (seen all the TV shows, read the book etc. ...), I was very pleased to be in town at the right time to bag a couple of tickets as I had always wanted to see the live show but never had the chance. I had some trepidation, however, that my high expectations might leave me a little disappointed; this I most certainly wasn't. His self deprecating humour and candid rapport with the audience is the perfect vehicle for a fresh barrage of stunning feats of his specialist turns. Anyone familiar with his acts will recognize the memory stunts, the acts of suggestion and hypnotism and the fun close up card trickery. It's all there, and more, in this show with new twists that absolutely deliver delight and infuriating moments of perplexity in equal measure. Andy Nyman has spun the perfect narrative through the show and the threads are all bought together in a really bamboozling finale. What really comes across, and what I certainly took home form this performance, was a message of positivity that DB has been bringing more and more to his TV shows over the years. From an evening in the company of a debunker extraordinaire, inspiring illuminator of twaddle and general voice of reason, there is much to think and chuckle about here.
Absolutely brilliant! From start to finish the show is totally absorbing and Derren comes across as a wonderfully honest and likable character. What I hadn't expected was his humour - he is a very funny man and keeps the show running at a great pace. Terrific night out.