There are neither spoilers in this review nor photographs. Brown asks the audience again and again not to tweet or spoil the show. This is understandable as even a little knowledge, I think, would ruin the carefully blended mix of surprise, suspense and impressive skills.
As advertised the show is suitable for years 12 and up. It’s also worth dressing in layers if it’s cold outside because the theatre will get very hot. I don’t think this is limited to the Playhouse because Brown does need to see the audience throughout the show and this requires sets of bright theatre lights beaming heat on the audience.
The start of the show also advices that “due to the levels of concentration” if you leave outside the intermission then you will not be allowed back in. I first interpreted this ruling as nothing to do with concentration but everything to do with stopping any malicious or event spoiling fun and games from people in the audience; such as swapping or planting information, or simply breaking the heartfelt plea not to ruin the show with a race to wi-fi and a blog post.
By the end of the show I had a lot of sympathy with the concentration claim. This is a show which you enjoy more if you can pay attention. You can’t pay attention if you are being forced to your feet in order to let someone out. Equally, I was increasingly annoyed at the squeaky door beside me in the theatre. The squeaks did disrupt the show and my ill humour grew to those who had to pop out and then back in again – but mainly I wondered why so many Playhouse staff had to come and go (okay, so were sat right beside the sound booth) and why on earth they hadn’t oiled the hinge. You’d think a theatre like the Playhouse would keep their doors as silent as possible.
Infamous begins with Brown wondering (in directly; no spoilers, remember) how similar we all are. I imagine this is a trick he knows well – after all, he is a master of understanding those unconscious clues we all give off in our body language, the ways we react and respond to issues.
By the time Infamous had reached its conclusion and the countdown clock said 0 seconds I was wondering whether Derren Brown had proved the opposite. In his show I saw a huge audience of people all with very different responses to his incredible talents, with different needs, beliefs, levels of willpower and aspirations.
The spoiler free review?
I say “loved it” with the admission I’m yet to say “loved it” for any of the TV shows. For some reason, although they interest me, they also manage to find an uncomfortable zone for me. I get frustrated at the people in them. I’ve seen Derren live a few times, even just speaking during a science festival, and he always shines. Derren Brown Live is far better than Derren Brown on TV – so keep that in mind if you’re a fan of the TV shows.
Also, unlike the TV show, in the theatre setting Mr Brown can come speak to you. He might. The chap behind me confided to his wife, “I’d volunteer – but he terrifies me”. My suggestion is that if you’re that scared of audience participation (and I’m not keen on it) that you think carefully about going. Sitting at the back is no defense.
You can buy Derren Brown: Infamous tickets from Tickmaster or, hopefully, directly from your local theatre.