I’m going to preface this review of Derren Brown’s newest show, Infamous, by saying up front that I will not be talking about any of his tricks or indeed anything that actually went on in the show. Several times throughout, Derren implored the audience, be they media-types, bloggers or simply tweeters, to keep everything a secret and not to ruin it for other people coming to the show. I couldn’t agree more with his ask and am only happy to comply–Infamous is one of those types of shows (typical Derren) where you have to go in with a fresh mind and attitude, ready for anything.
For my friends back home who might not have heard of Derren Brown, I can do no better than quote Derren’s bio on his website:
Derren began his UK television career in December 2000 with a series of specials called Mind Control. Since redefining the genre of magic for intelligent, modern audiences, he has become synonymous with the art of psychological manipulation. His TV shows have become must-see events. Amongst a varied and notorious career, Derren has played Russian Roulette on live television, convinced middle-managers to commit an armed robbery in the street, led the nation in a séance, stuck viewers to their sofas, successfully predicted the National Lottery, motivated a shy man to land a packed passenger plane at 30,000 feet, exposed psychic and faith-healing charlatans, and hypnotised a man to assassinate Stephen Fry. On top of this he tours the UK every year with a sell-out stage show.
Sound interesting? Crazy? Borderline scary? Yep, that’s Derren Brown.
That was one of the most intense things I’ve ever seen… and I saw it several years after it happened, fully knowing he didn’t shoot himself.
So a few months ago when I saw that he had a new show starting in June 2013, I snatched up tickets for N’s birthday (he’s a huge fan) and needless to say he was bursting with excitement.
I myself, upon entering the Palace Theatre (where I’ve seen Priscilla, Queen of the Desert) felt a bit nervous. I’ve seen lots of Derren’s shows on tv and had no idea what to expect. The stage was simple–a backdrop to create an almost prison-like setting with a simple chair in the middle of the stage (that’s all I’ll tell you as you’ll read that in most press reviews). With the line “We are all trapped in our minds” the show took off in a flash.
Again, won’t tell you a single thing about the show, I expected to be astounded and I wasn’t disappointed. All through the show, Derren reiterates that what he does is not magic, not impossible and that anyone can do it. Needless to say he doesn’t tell you how as he’d be out of a job, but I still can’t wrap my head around any of it. This is the same man who, using math and a formula, predicted the National Lottery live on air before it was read out. He’s big on odds and statistics and indeed these play a heavy role in Infamous as well as the rest of his shows.
Also, I feel it super important to note that I made my London West End debut and was on stage for part of the show. I know it sounds old but I won’t tell you why or what happened–I really don’t want to ruin anything because it’s that good.
If you’ve got a spare evening and are up for having your brain seriously fiddled with, GO. Honestly… it was worth every penny of the ticket price. Book soon, tickets will sell out amazingly quick as word spreads about this show. It was just brilliant and sickeningly smart and astounding.
I’ll leave off with “Dickbrains unite!” Anyone who has seen the show will know what that means.
If you’re interested in learning more about Derren Brown, his shows, books or paintings, check out his website. For tickets, you can book directly through the Palace Theatre’s website. Channel 4 have put most of Derren’s shows up on Youtube, though I’m not sure if you’re able to watch outside of the UK.