Mind over magic matters
Derren Brown, the master of psychological illusion, is back to amaze audiences in Bucks with his most ambitious show to date – Miracle. BRIAN CLARIDGE talks to Derren about his live shows and when we can expect another television special
HE is acknowledged as one of the world’s most talented live performers and a dark manipulator of magic and mind control. Derren Brown is without question the master of psychological illusion and Buckinghamshire audiences are in for a treat when this multi-talented entertainer returns to Aylesbury Waterside Theatre with a brand new one-man show, Derren Brown: Miracle.
The show opens on Monday, July 6 and runs through until Saturday, July 11.
It promises to be Derren’s most ambitious show to date, although the content of the show remains shrouded in mystery.
This will be Derren’s seventh show since 2003. He has toured every year since then and consistently amazes audiences across the country with his live stage shows, earning him numerous awards and accolades.
He has won both the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Entertainment Show, and a Silver Rose d’Or for Variety. His last show, Infamous, was universally acclaimed by critics and audience alike and tickets for all his live shows are snapped up from the moment they go on sale.
I ask Derren if it gets harder to come up with new ideas for each show?
“In some ways it gets harder because you don’t want to repeat something you have done previously but it’s never been about getting the next show bigger and bolder. I simply follow my instincts as to what’s right for each show whether it’s for TV or stage. It takes about a month to write each show and a further month of rehearsals before any public performances. I never know until the first night if the tricks are going to work and I make changes as I go along, so it tends to be an on-going process.”
Apart from his stage shows, Derren, 44, is widely known for his appearances in TV specials, such as Trick of the Mind and Trick or Treat. Since the first broadcast of his show Derren Brown: Mind Control in 2000, Derren has become increasingly well known for his mind-reading act. He has written books for magicians as well as the general public.
Derren was privately educated at Whitgift School in South Croydon and studied Law and German at the University of Bristol. While there, he attended a hypnotist show by Martin S Taylor, which inspired him to turn to illusion and hypnosis as a career.
Whilst an undergraduate, he started working as a conjuror, performing the traditional skills of close-up magic in bars and restaurants. In 1992, he started performing stage shows at the University of Bristol under the stage name Darren V. Brown.
Although Derren’s performances of mind-reading and other feats of mentalism may appear to be the result of psychic or paranormal practices, he claims no such abilities and frequently denounces those who do.
He says that he learnt skills as a hypnotist, which he was not sure how to apply until he started performing close-up magic. When asked whether he is able to detect lies, Derren claimed to be able to read subtle clues such as a micro-muscle movements that indicate to him if someone is lying.
Says Derren: “I am often dishonest in my techniques, but always honest about my dishonesty. As I say in each show, ‘I
mix magic, suggestion, psychology, misdirection and showmanship’. I happily admit cheating, as it’s all part of the game. I hope some of the fun for the viewer comes from not knowing what’s real and what isn’t. I am an entertainer first and foremost, and I am careful not to cross any moral line that would take me into manipulating people’s real-life decisions or belief systems.”
He claims to never use actors or stooges in his work without informing the viewers.
In Tricks of the Mind, Derren writes: that to use such a ploy is ‘artistically repugnant and simply unnecessary’; furthermore, he ‘would not want any participant to watch the TV show when it airs and see a different or radically re-edited version of what he understood to have happened.’ Any TV specials in the pipeline? “I’m currently thinking about doing something after the current TV tour, however, it’s still early days. Possibly towards Christmas or New Year,” he says with an air of optimism.
Dazzling, thought provoking and captivating are just some of the words to describe Derren’s performances.
To book, call the box office on 0844 871 7607 or book online at www. atgtickets.com/aylesbury. Booking fees apply. The performance is not suitable for children under 12 years of age.