The Upcoming

Derren Brown: Infamous at the Palace | Theatre review

Derren Brown, that illusionist from the telly, has a new live show and its title seems to reflect the man’s own reputation: Infamous.

This name gives nothing away, the show’s programme gives nothing away and Brown makes the audience promise not to reveal the content either. So although there is a buzz around the show, the crowd does not know anything about it until Brown himself appears on the unlit stage.

However, there are a few things everyone will know to expect. There will be lots of audience participation – be prepared to feel uncomfortable and genuinely shocked at Brown’s incredible skills. You can also expect to be surprised and feel tense with suspense.

It is a very intense show, quite exhausting to watch. As a viewer it is hard not to question everything. Brown is having a drink of water – is this a timed event, does it mean something? The barman asks enthusiastic questions during the interval: “What’s your favourite bit, which part blew your mind?” Posing the question “Is he a plant?” in the more suspicious minds. Of course the audience will never know, and it is better that way.

Brown is unexpectedly funny, something that does not come across so much in his many television shows. This show, directed by Andy Nyman, is Brown’s sixth and he is clearly used to this now. Infamous feels very well rehearsed, the production around him moves seamlessly. The stage set is minimalist with a gothic, rustic and sometimes religious sense. It changes subtly throughout the performance, as does the lighting, music and sound effects. 

The muttering in the stalls before the show were very varied, there were some hardened fans who had been to see all his shows, but there were a few sceptics among the crowd. Seeing it live, however, is something indescribable. The audience cannot help but be impressed. Brown is a very clever man and slightly bonkers. 

Infamous is a truly amazing performance, but there is one question that the audience is left with after the show – does Brown have a social life? The answer: probably not!


Elly Perry

Derren Brown: Infamous is on at the Palace Theatre until 17th August 2013, for further information or to book visit here.

Watch the trailer for Derren Brown: Infamous here: