Something Wicked This Way Comes

20th June 2005  

There are many reviews of Derren’s 2005 tour, ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’, but I didn’t want to feel left out and therefore here are my thoughts on the show – although I know no-one will bother to read it. I’m even questioning my reasons for writing this now. Well, I’m sure I’ll look back at this one day when I have grey hair, twenty-six grandchildren and only half my marbles and ponder whilst rhythmically rocking in my quaint rocking chair what the hell I did with my life!

I have always maintained that good theatre is the best form of entertainment, beating television (cinema doesn’t even feature) into a poor second at very best; and Derren has continued to further validate this belief.

Derren puts mere mortals to shame with his excellent performance and delivery – this is the panicle every performer, whatever genre, should want to reach, although never emulate. And I’m pretty sure Derren could make a routine based around a wooden mushroom interesting, plausible and ultimately brilliant, such is this man’s talent. (If I have stolen Uncle Marvin’s ‘Wooden Mushroom in a box’ routine I sincerely apologise and our lawyers can continue to converse once more.)

The subtleties and undertones, which run under and parallel to the main show, demonstrate Derren’s love for delivering final kicking blow to the audience, leaving them gasping as well as shocked as to how easily they appear to have been manipulated, but also demonstrate how well the whole production has been written and put together where every little detail has a purpose – my respect for Andy Nyman continues to grow.

However, I feel I need to question Derren’s motives and objectives for taking the Bizarre/ Geek route in the second part of the show. It’s clear that Derren (rather less than) secretly revels at peoples’ aversion, disgust and contempt for his work and that the tally chart for the number of people who faint or vomit over his shoes is framed and takes pride of place in his awards’ cabinet, but niggling voice that rattles around my head still asks “why?”. Derren isn’t the first, and will by no means be the last, to have switched to this direction during the, now what’s a nice way to put this… later stages of his career, and one piece in particular seemed to just be a padding exercise. I don’t know, maybe I’ve completely missed the point, and judging from the majority of the audience’s reactions maybe I have – but is Derren performing for those reactions in the presence of a self-fulfilling quest, to entertain, to show off his ever-increasing acting abilities or because it is difficult to produce newish material (which in itself is no criticism)?

The conniving devil has again achieved his (rather clever) wish of asking for specific details of the show not to be published. If you were fortunate enough to have seen the show I’m sure you enjoyed it as much as I did, if however, you were too lazy to book up tickets, for some reason you have only just been notified of the existence of Derren Brown, or have in your possession a valid doctor’s note, fear and worry not as Derren will more than likely be touring with the same show next year.

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