I challenge you not to be impressed by Derren Brown, the household name synonymous with illusion and sheer, mind-boggling genius. In case you’re wondering who I’m on about, click here to become enlightened about the “borderline national treasure” (his words not mine)!
I went to see DB’s (hopefully not too informal) show Infamous last week at the Derngate theatre in Northampton because I’ve been bowled over by his TV shows (trailer for Apocalypse below) where you’re challenged to question what you believe to be true, moral or even possible.
I was so excited to see DB live. You can potentially edit TV to give a certain perspective but real life can’t be edited, can it? I was ready have my mind messed with!
If you’re looking for spoilers or give aways, you’ve lucked out with this post for a number of reasons.
For one, I appreciate the skill in what Mr Brown does (not that I understand it) so I’ll treat it with the respect it deserves. He also mentioned that he could make me very ill if I divulge any of his secrets so I’m keeping schtum! (Don’t worry, I don’t think that he meant it, he had a smile on his face).
When we arrived at the theatre, the excitement was evident in the eager audience trying to spot signs in the foyer as to how the show was going to unfold as DB’s shows are often about how the mind can be influenced. There was a real sense of anticipation and I noticed that for once the theatre audience was mainly around my age group, obviously influenced by DB’s TV presence, although there were people as young as 13 upwards.
The first thing that struck me about the show was how DB came out on stage. Literally. I won’t go into detail (go see the show!) but it was refreshing to hear such a public figure openly talking about his sexuality and early life experiences, seemingly without fear of how it would be received. It instantly put everyone at ease and I personally warmed to him immediately (maybe his reason for the personal info, let our guard down!? Skilfully done sir).
The following two and a half hours… well, words fail me which I understand is useful when writing a blog! In the months leading up to the show, I tried not to think too much of of its content as I didn’t want to build up my expectations and be disappointed. No fear of that what so ever.
The show was mind-bogglingly (sorry but the only phrase I can think of) bemusing, amusing, in fact down right hilarious in places, interesting and captivating with plenty of audience participation (don’t worry, not the scary kind) which ensure that you’re hooked at every turn.
It’s difficult to portray to you the sheer spectacle of the show without telling you what happened and if you’re cynical like me, you can never truly believe what you hear about illusionists, magic or whatever you want to call it, until you see it with your own eyes, and chances are that you still won’t believe it then. Mathematics, influence bordering on mind control, memory…
But I hope that I’ll plant enough of a seed in your mind that you’ll check out Infamous. Please. You owe it to yourself because to experience this spectacle at least once in your life.
I was lucky enough to actually take part in the show. I didn’t speak to DB or anyone related to the show/theatre about what was going to happen. Please trust me when I say that I volunteered to take part because I had a genuine interest in the subject matter and wanted to calm my own cynicism/curiosity. As a result my perspective on the subject matter has been clarified somewhat, although not completely elucidated.
For an amazing show, thank you big D. But that’s not the only thing for which I’m grateful.
A point in the show came when DB took a moment to share some truly inspirational words with the audience about his experiences of bullying. Of course he’s a great illusionist and performer but the words seemed sincere and really touched me. They could easily be translated to anyone going through a difficult time and I wanted to share what I remember of them with you. I don’t think that I’ll get in trouble for sharing because I think that people who are go through bullying* and/or tough times need to hear it, and I imagine DB feels the same.
The rough jist of what he said:
Although at points in life other people will make you feel like it the worst thing in the world to be different and stand out. But remind yourself that you are amazing and be proud. History doesn’t remember the people who went along with the flow. History remembers the ‘weirdos’, ‘freaks’ and ‘d*@kbrains’ who deny the path of least resistance and achieve amazing things because going through that s*#t shapes your greatness.
I’m emotional at the best of times but I’ve gone through my fair share of shizzle and it struck a cord with me. Actually it was all I could do not to leap out of my chair and give the man a giant hug so enthusiastic applause and whistling is what I went for instead.
Thank you so much DB for your unfeigned honesty. It meant a lot to this d*@kbrain and I hope that it helps you too lovely reader if you’re in need.
Infamous gets a solid five start rating from me. Our tickets were £32 each for the stalls but you’re included wherever you are. They make a point of making sure you don’t miss out.
To sum up I’m stealing words from one of the (heterosexual) lads in our group.
“I think I speak for us all when I say that there’s a man who left that theatre who wasn’t a little in love with him“. It wasn’t only the boys. I definitely nursing a little crush!
*If you’re in the Northampton area or just interested in what the town’s young people are doing to reduce bullying and hate crime, check out the Youth Forum’s Stamp Out Hate Crime campaign.