Derren Brown: Infamous

Derren Brown - InfamousHow do you write about a show that the performer himself has requested be kept a secret?  The following few hundred words or so is my attempt at describing, without giving too much away, the truly baffling and jaw-dropping mind trickery that I witnessed at Derren Brown’s Dublin premiere of his latest show Infamous.

Directed by Andy Nyman, Infamous is a mesmerizing and fascinating mesh of mind control and psychological illusion with a bit of magic weaved in as well.  Candid stories of Brown growing up are also peppered throughout the show’s narrative arc which I thought added a nice personal touch to the performance.

Brown is a veteran in this genre of live entertainment and his reputation precedes him but watching him onscreen really cannot compare to, or prepare you for, seeing him live and watching the magic of what he does unfold before your very eyes.  Throughout the show, he does, predicts and achieves the seemingly impossible – from start to finish, he had the audience entranced and eating out of the palm of his hand.

The way in which he invites audience participation gives the show an unpredictable air and also quashes the possibility that anything is staged.  Even if you are a cynic when it comes to these sorts of things, I daresay you will find yourself getting increasingly bewildered as the show progresses.  I definitely agree that the less you know beforehand about what happens during the show, the better.

Derren Brown is indisputably a master at his craft; what takes place and unravels on stage will leave you impressed, utterly gobsmacked and questioning many things.  Infamous is an extremely slick, well crafted production and an experience you simply have to see for yourself to believe.

5-stars

Infamous is at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre in Dublin until this Saturday March 15th.  For tickets, click here.  He will then be performing at the Grand Opera House in Belfast (tickets here) before taking the show back to mainland UK.  All dates and venues can be found on his website.

The Illusionists: Witness The Impossible

The IllusionistsMagic is making a spectacular comeback thanks to the likes of the seven outstanding world class magicians that make up The Illusionists.  With a grand display of energetic dance, strobe lighting and pyrotechnics as well as support from a rocking live band, this is more than “just a magic show”.

The Trickster (Jeff Hobson) is the honorary host of the evening and he quickly forms a great rapport with the audience with his unique blend of magic and comedy.  His excellent aptitude at sleight of hand tricks along with his comically camp and cheeky antics with the crowd will both amuse and thoroughly entertain.

Dan Sperry, the Anti-Conjuror, appears intimidating and slightly sinister with his Marilyn Manson appearance but yet is also strangely alluring; he easily draws you in to his macabre world of impressive shock illusions – prepare to gasp and definitely cringe.  He leads you to believe he is a silent magician but his nail-biting game of Russian Roulette at the end proves he is quite the conversationalist.

The Inventor (Kevin James) is the embodiment of the art form as he seemingly magics things out of thin air and creates the impossible.  From physically putting together a person before our eyes to dismembering another, this unassuming but extremely skilled magician will leave you gobsmacked.

Philip Escoffey, The Mentalist, is a mind reader with swagger and a wry sense of humor which worked very well with his set.  I felt he had the greatest performance arc – initially coming across as not very convincing and rather facetious, he then proceeds to miraculously predict things that he couldn’t have possibly known.

The Gentleman (Mark Kalin) and The Enchantress (Jinger Leigh) are the archetypal magician and magician’s assistant duo and they use theatrics to give classic magic an added wow factor.  This brilliant duo are the consummate illusionists; their reinvented version of the infamous “sawing woman in half” and a literally gravity-defying trick will astound you.

Andrew Basso rounds up the ensemble as The Escapologist and as his name suggests, his skill is death-defying escapes.  This is the only time in the evening where the theater is devoid of sound and rife with tension; it was truly remarkable witnessing the escape unfold live before your eyes – I only wish he had another escape up his sleeve!

This sensational and spellbinding evening is complemented perfectly by Los Angeles band Z who kept the energy and excitement pumping from start to finish.  Additionally the large screen above that captures a close up view of what is happening on stage helps everyone be in on the action and is especially handy for the more intricate illusions.

The Illusionists is a visual spectacle that will impress, amaze and just blow your mind.  The seven magicians are absolute masters at their craft – prepare to be enthralled by an epic medley of jaw-dropping and extraordinary illusions.  You will witness the impossible.

The Whimsical Banana rates The Illusionists: 5/5 bananas!

The Illusionists will be at the majestic Civic Theatre until 2nd June.  This is an unmissable show so don’t miss out – get your tickets today!
Performance Times: Wed to Sat 7.30pm, Saturdays 2pm, Sundays 11am & 3pm, Tues 28 May, 6.30pm