Infamy, Infamy!


Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton, Wednesday 7th May, 2014


It’s almost impossible to review a show without mentioning any of its content but I’ll give it a go. It’s also difficult to label Derren Brown. Is he an illusionist? A magician? He states clearly he’s not a psychic or imbued with any supernatural powers (like everyone else, then). I shall call him an entertainer and what Brown does, in his inimitable way, is entertain.

Tension is rife in the packed auditorium and it doesn’t let up. At any second, anything might happen and – worst of all – the spotlight of attention might land on us. In the event, Brown is very kind to his victims/volunteers, with a slightly mocking approach, and you get the impression that those who do participate are not uncomfortable or embarrassed. Even so, I am relieved and yet somehow disappointed when it’s not me. Odd.

The evening is filled with a range of stunts, some on a grander scale than others, and with each one you try to work out what he’s doing and how he pulls it off. I think I’ve fathomed one of the tricks but I could be wrong. The point is, it doesn’t matter if you can work out what he’s doing (you won’t). The point is you spend a couple of hours being entertained by this extraordinary man who dazzles and confounds us with his feats of mental agility and his powers of perception.

It’s a celebration of the capabilities of the human brain. Brown demonstrates some of the commonalities of human experience while setting himself apart as a singular example of the species. Mind-blowing.


About williamstafford

Novelist (Brough & Miller, sci fi, historical fantasy) Theatre critic and Actor - I can often be found walking the streets of Stratford upon Avon in the guise of the Bard! View all posts by williamstafford

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