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Derren Brown: Infamous, Palace Theatre

Written and performed by Derren Brown

★★★★★
Pros: You will be completely enthralled and enraptured by Derren Brown’s hypnotic and mesmerizing show.
Cons: None except the frustration of not being able to work out how he does it! Worse still, you won’t be able to discuss it with anyone for fear of spoiling it for them, or for fear of Derren Brown finding out and using his mind powers against you.
Our Verdict: Without a doubt, go and see it. You will be captivated and amazed.
Courtesy of West End Frame
Memory tricks, magic, misdirection and mind reading are all seen in Derren Brown’s new show, Infamous. But, in this review, the exact contents of the performance will remain a mystery as it is not something that can be experienced through words. This show, absolutely, must be seen to be believed. Also, I don’t want to encounter the wrath of Derren Brown by revealing what happens!
Derren Brown knows how to work a crowd. He is funny, charismatic and mysterious. He comes across as confident and yet shows hints of self-depreciation and insecurity; memories of childhood bullying, teenage angst and adult refutation are recounted in between his “tricks”, making him extremely likable. Greeted by a fairly macabre setting, rapid changes in lighting and a minimalist set, Derren’s sudden outbursts of instructions and information keep the action flowing and the audience in awe. He comes into the auditorium, talks directly to members of the audience, includes them in the show – choosing them by way of throwing a frisbee around the theatre – and keeps everyone on the edge of their seats. He loves what he does and this makes the experience even more enjoyable and engrossing.
I became one of the eager audience members to participate in the show. To confirm for those who asked me afterwards, I am not a plant. I was one of 60 people who volunteered to go up to observe some of the show from the stage itself and became one of the lucky ones who was targeted to have him recall my memories of a deceased loved one in precise detail. I have absolutely no idea how he did it, but it was incredible. Being part of the show made all skepticism about how it is done evaporate into obscurity – I wasn’t a plant so the rest of the people involved couldn’t have been either.
I am quite keen to go again to try to spot something to give me a clue as to how on earth he did the things I saw. He says a lot of what he does are tricks. Some of it is clever manipulation and suggestion, reading body language and making generalisations which apply to many people of a certain demographic. However, as shown in the mind blowing finale, some of what he does appears to be an incredible feat of memory and skill built up over years.
This is a well-structured, incredible, unbelievable, mind boggling, and completely astonishing performance by a man with an incredible talent. An absolute must see.
Please feel free to leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below!

Derren Brown: Infamous is on at The Palace Theatre, London until 31 July 2013.

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