Review: Derren Brown, Sheffield City Hall

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Derren Brown, Sheffield City Hall

AS the title ‘Svengali’ suggests, there is plenty of the dark and dangerous about Derren Brown’s latest live show.

But with the charming, funny and surprisingly modest Derren at the helm, the creepy Victorian theme and strange scenery holds no fear.

He burst onto the stage at Sheffield City Hall, a bundle of energy and immediately you want to be best friends with this weird man who can tell exactly what job you do by the grip of your handshake.

What makes any review of his shows difficult is Derren’s personal plea to his loyal crowd at the start of the evening to keep the show secret, so as not to ruin the fun for future audiences.

And maybe a little mind control goes into that suggestion, because everyone seems to listen - myself included.

The master of misdirection and showmanship spent an incredible two hours inside our heads, manipulating our thoughts, our memories and even - astonishingly, at one point - our bodies.

Several of the tricks demonstrated the audiences’ trust in the man whom Stephen Fry once famously described as a ‘witch,’ as they confessed their innermost and even, seemingly, risked physical pain at his say-so.

Far from shrinking from the bright orange frisbees he throws out into the audience to select his ‘victims’, you find yourself reaching over head to grab them as they fly past.

The best part of it all is the man himself, whose charisma and hilarious one-liners make you feel you’re at the best - somewhat over-crowded - dinner party of your life.

The term ‘weird and wonderful’ could have been written for him and it’s with a mixture of awe and astonishment that he keeps you completely under his captivating spell.

Derren - please come back soon!

Nik Brear