Theatre review: Derren Brown - Infamous

Derren Brown
Derren Brown

“Please don’t tell anyone what happens in the show”, begs master mentalist Derren Brown after one of many effortless stage miracles.

It’s a request repeated throughout his latest show, archly entitled ‘Infamous’, in front of a packed Glasgow King’s Theatre.

One thing he probably won’t mind being let out of the bag is that his latest trip into the world of wonder, which sees him reunited with collaborator Andy Nyman, is amongst his best.

Of course it’s not giving anything away to report there’s all the usual mind games, illusions and sleight of hand, delivered with Brown’s inimitable flair and showmanship.

There’s plenty more to compel though, not least a deeply personal throughline about Brown’s awkward childhood and unwillingness to embrace his own sexuality until relatively late in life.

Combined with his usual dedication to rationalism (he’s quick to assure us that it’s all a trick, even when he genuinely seems to be channelling spirits or reading minds) this intimate edge adds much-needed heft to a show which could so easily be all surface.

It all builds up to a final act which seems to offer equal parts catharsis (for the performer) and delighted astonishment (for the head-shaking audience). Skills which were once the inspiration for playground taunts are used to deliver a triumphant and inspirational crescendo.

Then it’s a case of trying to work out how it’s all done - a task as pointless as trying to contact the dead for real.