Here’s looking at you, Derren

Derren Brown
Derren Brown

LOVE him or hate him, whenever Derren Brown appears on stage or screen, you can only be sure of one thing – that you just don’t know what you’re going to get.

But surprisingly the man who built his career on creating mystique and controlling mayhem, seems pretty down to earth in real life.

A recent Channel 4 documentary showed a softer side to the devilishly mischievous conjurer whose mind-tricks have been mesmerizing audiences since his first television appearance ten years ago. And when The Guide caught up with him to chat about his Svengali tour, Derren revealed some very ordinary facts about himself, including his dislike of mushrooms and blue cheese and his former career as a suit fitter.

But while off-stage the man behind the magic may be the kind to leave his socks lying around, in front of an audience the immaculately suited and booted Mr Brown takes on a whole new persona.

Ticket-holders to his Svengali tour can expect no less than his perfectly polished, mind bending best – although the details of what’s in store are top secret.

He said: “I love writing and performing the stage shows more than anything. It’ll be a full evening of mind-melting based around audience participation. More than that I wouldn’t want to say. I ask audiences to keep the contents of the show a secret so as not to spoil it for others, and I have to do the same. But I hope it’s fun and freaky and a great night out – that’s what I aim for.”

Svengali is tour number five, and follows hot on the heels of his Enigma show, which received rave reviews. But it’s not all about live performance – Derren has also been keeping himself busy with television shows in the UK and US and the release of his autobiographical book Confessions of a Conjurer.

But despite putting his life into print, Derren has no intention of hanging up his hat just yet.

He said: “I could be ninety and suffering from severe paralysis and it would only somehow add to the mystique. I don’t like looking back – I’ve enjoyed much of what I’ve done, never really enjoyed the major headlines, made friends and delighted in writing the books. The tours have been the most fun overall, and I hope I’d be able to continue with them in some form for a while.”

Svengali is at Bradford Alhambra from April 4 to 6. Tickets are limited and cost £30. Visit www.bradford-theatres.co.uk or telephone 01274 432000.