|Photo: Seamus Ryan|
If you get the chance to see Derren Brown live, take it.
I'd seen him a few years back and saw him again on Friday with his latest show Infamous at The Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury.
I can't say too much, as I wouldn't want to spoil anything, but I will say that he is a phenomenal performer with a brilliantly constructed show.
We have so few "showmen" these days, and no one else that meets his standard. What he does could be tacky, but this is far from it. He deconstructs as he goes, reminding us not to be fooled (though of course, we are - how does he do it?) but he also gets you on his side.
If you're a skeptic, you shouldn't worry: he's not masquerading as a magician blessed with powers.
The theatre experience is also very different to television. You're so close (we were row C), surrounded by other members of the public. It's much harder to, say, shout "stooge" at the telly and move on. He'll keep you guessing.
All that aside, he's funny and also incredibly relatable. He makes you feel safe, even amidst the trickery.
In this live show, he really shares with his audience. He talks us through why he is interested in particular tricks, and his experiences of being made to feel inadequate growing up because of his sexuality, and his interest in magic too.
In so doing, the show becomes interesting on a different level but also inspirational: especially for the younger ones in the audience but really, anyone who's ever felt like an outsider.
The instantaneous standing ovation from all 1200 in the audience was because he'd blown us away but also because we were rooting for him.
He was impressive, yes, and had held us in the palm of his hands for the past few hugely entertaining hours, but I was also so much more aware of his journey as both a performer and a person. He looked emotional and I felt it.
We left stunned. Trying and failing to suss out how he'd done it all. Really, I don't think I'd want to know. I guess that's part of it: the mystery and the "magic" that keeps us coming back for more.
I can't wait for his new tour. The first leg of this has been announced, with a second set of venues to follow. Infamous is also coming to London for a few dates end of this month.
Derren is also a brilliant photographer and has been snapping away on his tour, including some really lovely shots of Canterbury. Check these out here.