Illusionist Derren Brown has baffled and confounded West End audiences with his latest show, Miracle. Now he’s taking it on the road for the second leg of a national tour.
Here he talks to Stage Review about the show – not giving away any secrets of course!
“I’m only getting a three-week break after the West End – just enough to catch my breath and maybe get away for a bit. It’s an enormously enjoyable show to do, and I’ve never toured straight after the West End before, which I think will be fun as it’s in such good shape. I can’t wait to get started.
“I had no idea if the second half would work at all when we started. In theory, my audiences are totally the wrong audiences to get to the place I need to get them to. As there’s no way of testing how an audience will respond without having an audience, I just had to get up there and do it on the first night and see how it went.
“It went very well, which was a huge relief. It still needed a lot of work, and after a week or two of shifting and polishing things, the show felt right.
“Since then we’ve continued to work on it and now it feels terrific – a very long way from it’s opening week in Dartford last year.
“It’s a bold and ‘ballsy’ second half, as all my favourite things are. Once I realised it was going to work well – as it could have failed flat on its face – it’s been a joy to work on theatrically and get to a great place.
“Without getting too much into the content, this is the first show that is about things I find important. Others have had autobiographical bits in them, some more authentic than others, but this one is about things I find important.
“It has a philosophical underpinning I really care about. It’s ultimately, I suppose, about what makes us happier”.
This is likely to be the last time you’ll catch Brown on the road for sometime as he’s vowed to take a break from touring.
“It’s been 14 years of touring, and that’s with writing a new show every two years. I may do something overseas for a change, but nothing major here in 2017. After that I’m not sure. I love touring so I don’t imagine I’m stopping for good quite yet.
“But a break would be lovely, not so much from the touring itself, but from the creation of new shows. It’s a lot of work getting them up to speed”.
There’s talk of a Broadway show. “I’ve only ever wanted to do what’s enjoyable, and a couple of months – or whatever it will be – in New York, performing for people who don’t really know me, sounds like huge fun. So no plans to ‘conquer the US’ or move abroad, just a nice thing to have the opportunity to do.
“We’re in talks with theatres now, and the plan is to put together a show for a first-time audience. It’s different here now: people know me, and bring certain expectations, which deeply affects the material of the show”.
There’s also a new book which is supposed to be published later this year – if only the entertainer can finish it.
“I’m editing it now and trying to get it down from 800 pages to something more manageable. I’ll miss writing it though – nothing compares to spending a stolen afternoon assembling your thoughts and finding the best language for them.
“It’s very edifying, and I feel I am at my best when I write. Once the book is on the shelf I move on and forget about it: I can’t ever read it in-case I find errors or places where my thoughts have changed.
“Previous books have been whimsical and quick to write: this has been very involved and long-term for me. The challenge at the moment is to bring three years’ worth of thought and writing (that happened here and there when I had time on the road and between other projects) into something that hangs together well”.
Derren Brown returns to Wycombe Swan with his brand new show, Miracle from February 29–March 5.
February 8-13, The Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury February 15-20, Milton Keynes Theatre February 23-27, Theatre Royal, Brighton February 29-March 5, Swan Theatre, Wycombe March 7-12, Grand Theatre, Swansea March 14-19, The Cliifs Pavilion, Southend March 28-April 2, Theatr Cymru, Llandudno April 4-9, Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff April 11-16, Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton April 18-23, Mayflower Theatre, Southampton April 25-30, New Victoria Theatre, Woking May 9-14, Bristol Hippodrome May 16-21, Grand Opera House, Belfast May 23-28, Bord Gais Theatre, Dublin May 30-June 4, Grand Theatre, Leeds June 6-11, The Lowry, Salford June 20-25, Theatre Royal, Newcastle June 27-July 2, Theatre Royal, Nottingham July 4-9, King’s Theatre, Glasgow July 11-13, The Lowry, Salford July 15-16, Blackpool Opera House