Thanks to a blend of friendly showmanship, self deprecating wit and evident genius, Derren Brown’s passion for mentalism, psychology and illusion has carried him far beyond the competition in the magical top trumps pile.
With TV and theatre audiences across the land left puzzling over his baffling mental feats and seemingly supernatural performances, they applaud in wide-eyed disbelief and perhaps, a hint of fear. What next we ask?
Well, in his latest theatrical spread to hit Notts, his fifth live tour, Derren treats us to a curious taste of the occult, with a decidedly eerie artifact he has rescued from a dark and dusty corner of Eastern European history, complete with Catholic Church sinister list credentials. Creepy stuff.
However, as we’re sworn to secrecy and I still have the evil eye stamped on my hand from the second half, I shall go easy on the details lest I spoil things and find my hand lingering over the knife draw..
Audience participation is the name of the game here and Derren warmly breaks us in with some old school parlour trick psychology and amusingly smutty audience mind reading to gales of laughter. Which has a real feel of back to basics inclusive magic, getting everyone involved and gently worried of being picked! Which continues throughout, with plenty of people being put on the spot. Quite different from his more serious TV shows and other stage tours, this is his first without his usual co-writer and has a definitely more personable feel.
There is plenty to gawp and gasp at, as Derren jovially leads us through increasingly astonishing feats from his repertoire of historical hocus pocus and psychological testing. All the way up to audience member possession. Yes you heard right. Another occult debunking exploration from Mr Brown? Or something sinister? Subtly planted questions? How much has he planned? You’ll be questioning everything by the time you leave.
While this isn’t his most original show in terms of outrageous happenings, nothing shocking here, you’ll definitely be filled with wonder at what goes on, in both funny and slightly creepy ways. Nan safe fun.
Derren Brown Svengali plays at Nottingham's Theatre Royal from Monday 21 to Saturday 26 May 2012