Showman Derren Brown will be baffling audiences in Dartford
PUBLISHED: 07:00 25 December 2019
He’s doing Broadway now, but the mystery of a Derren Brown show will be arriving in Dartford soon.
He is known for his unusual brand of entertainment - not really magic, but more about perceptions.
As his Broadway show Secret continues to pull in the crowds, Derren takes time out to talk about what's coming.
Arriving on Broadway can be intimidating, but he said: "My main concern was finding a nice breakfast spot close to the apartment. That was taking up my time. Getting the mornings right is a big thing for me, and having a place to write. Beyond that, there were the expected grown-up production things about investment and ticket sales which I leave to others where I can. The show was already solid and felt fully in my blood, so I wasn't worried about that."
There is always a difference between audiences on either side of the pond, and the entertainer was asked if he would do anything different for the people of Dartford.
He said: "Americans are far more relaxed and talkative on stage.
"There's a bit when I ask a person on stage to tell us about a grandparent. Brits mumble something about them being nice and kind - here they take the mic, turn to the audience and give us a tight fifteen.
"As an audience, they are much more vocal, narrating their own experiences more. There's a lot more shouting from the crowd.
"On the other hand, half of the audience here is classic Broadway, and noticeably older. At home I might spot two older couples in the audience, here about a quarter of the audience consists of pensioners. But the rest of them are young and vibrant and contain many fans that have, amazingly, flown in from around the world. So it's a diverse group, and part of the fun is feeling them all come together as the show goes on.
"And lots of actors - famous and otherwise - come to see the show. That's a real Broadway thing too."
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And the biggest challenge, apart from mumbling Brits?
He said: "Personally nothing major, it's been a joy.
"It's such an expensive affair here and obviously I wasn't known at all to the general public, so I've had to do a lot to make the sure that the show is in the back of people's minds. The show's themes have resonated strongly with the critics and public alike."
And that connection with the audience is vital to keep things real.
Derren said: "Completely - I think that's the whole point. Otherwise you're just showing off. For me it only gets truly interesting once you step outside of the tricks. And a principal challenge of writing the show is to make the unreal and dishonest sit honestly and fairly in a world of truth."
He is also working on a book covering his remarkable life.
Derren said: "I am in the early stages, but it's a joy to be getting on with."
In the summer, he sat under the trees and wrote at the Lincoln Center every free day.
Now heading back to England, he said: "It has been a while. I've been spoilt with not having to work on a brand new show, which is certainly stressful for the first couple of weeks in previews.
"I try to write shows with Andy (Nyman) and Andrew (O'Connor) that are going to be huge fun to do, so it's a built-in reward for me each night. "And I'll get to have a new touring crew which is fun as well. I'm looking forward to it, though it's a quick turnaround in between finishing this one, then writing and rehearsing SHOWMAN. Once I'm on the road though, writing in the days and visiting old haunts, it'll be utterly wonderful."
Derren Brown: Showman will be at Orchard Theatre from March 27 to April 4. Tickets are available at www.derrenbrown.co.uk