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Derren Brown swapped the law to wow audiences with his 'mind magic'

By Herald Express  |  Posted: February 21, 2013

  • success: Derren Brown is at the Princess Theatre from April 8 to 9

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PSYCHOLOGICAL illusionist Derren Brown goes back on the road with his latest show this spring and he promises to wow audiences with his 'mind magic'.

The new one man show, Derren Brown: Infamous, runs at the Princess Theatre, Torquay, April 8 to 9, and then moves on to Plymouth Pavilions from April 11 to 13.

Derren traces his interest in magic and psychological techniques to childhood, but it was only later at Bristol University, where he studied law and German, that he started to take it seriously.

After graduating, Derren abandoned a career in law and concentrated on developing his skills at psychological magic. He was able to pay the bills by combining performing in cafés and bars with a sideline in portraiture.

His big break came in 1999 when he was asked by Channel 4 to put a TV show together. The result, Derren Brown: Mind Control, was shown in December 2000, proving an immediate success.

Since then, on stage as well as on TV, Derren has exhilarated audiences worldwide with his unique brand of mind control, suggestion, showmanship and illusion.

He has plenty of fans who pack out venues where ever he goes and more than two million people have already seen his shows.

His tours have also won rave reviews and he's received two prestigious Olivier Awards, for Something Wicked This Way Comes (2006) and Svengali (2012).

For Infamous, he is reunited with his close collaborator and friend, Andy Nyman, who is directing the show.

"Now we've joined forces again, we're very eager to make this show feel different," said Derren.

"There was something of a template we followed with all the shows, which worked very well. It's rather exciting and scary leaving that behind.

"This one should certainly have a different tone, and will mix things up a bit for those who have seen the others on TV or live.

"We've worked together on all the shows apart from Svengali. And Andy was my co-writer for many years of television shows.

"Now we've joined forces again, we're very eager to make this show feel different.

"There was something of a template we followed with all the shows, which worked very well. It's rather exciting and scary leaving that behind.

"This one should certainly have a different tone, and will mix things up a bit for those who have seen the others on TV or live."

Having created six shows since 2003, you may think he'd be bored of life on the road, but you'd be wrong.

"Having some of the theatres sell out before you're written a word of the show is a real incentive," he said.

He knows there is a lot of pressure and expectation around the show, but it doesn't bother him as he takes it all in his stride and always tries to make each offering fresh and new.

"I don't really feel those things. I just try to find what's interesting to me, while of course making sure I don't repeat ideas from previous shows," he said.

"This year as we've tried to change the feel of the show. This has brought its own concerns — how much should you change for the sake of changing? Why fix what wasn't broken? But these are all part of the creative drive: complacency doesn't help anyone."

Croydon-born Derren is not one to stay clear of controversy with his two recent TV specials Apocalypse and Fear and Faith raising a few eyebrows.

He's not worried about the storm of publicity.

"Again, I just try to do what interests me, and feels important, with an eye to what would make good TV," he said.

"It's nice the shows are very well received. I'm used to them also provoking their share of negative or sceptical reactions from some quarters — anything from 'it's all fake' to 'it's irresponsible and he shouldn't be doing it'.

"I see it as an inevitable kind of tax I pay for doing something which might be very ambitious.

"It's only saddening when I see people, usually on Twitter, wrongly dismissing something which happened for real as fake and feeling insulted rather than letting themselves enjoy it.

"But whaddyagonnado… you could go mad trying to please everyone."

As well as being on the road, he's found time to write books and he's also a keen artist.

"It's been a year since I painted, which feels a real shame, but I'm hoping to get something done before the tour starts," he said.

"The long gaps actually can be helpful in terms of trying something different when I come back to it, so I don't mind too much. "Hopefully there'll be another exhibition at the Rebecca Hossack Gallery in London this year."

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