Derren Brown; illusionist, artist, hypnotist and master of the mind. I, myself have always been a big fan of this mysterious trickster, so when given the opportunity to review his new act Showman, I was beyond excited, but also a little apprehensive of what the night may entail.
Brown does not disappoint with this unique and touching show so be prepared for an emotional rollercoaster of an experience.
A genius combination of witty humour, skilful observations and unbelievable mind-bending manipulation, will have you questioning what you see, hear and feel. Whether on stage, or not, this show is all about us, the audience. You will feel a deep connection, to not only Derren, himself, but the strangers around you. Poignant and reflective, you will look at your own personal relationships and experiences.
The spectacle was accompanied by the clever use of lighting and sound, building suspense and keeping us all on the edge of our seats. Portable cameras and projection allowed for the audience to be fully submersed in even the smallest of tricks and capture the raw emotion and stunned surprise of those involved.
The audience are sworn to secrecy about the brilliance they witness, so to know the true feeling of a Derren Brown show you must experience it for yourself. Prepare for jaw-dropping, mystical magic.
‘No-one’s immune if you pick out a simple tune’ sings Arthur Kipps. I agree. Last night, the smiles and toe-tapping were contagious at the Youth Onstage West Midlands premiere of Kipps.
This fabulous musical - a reworking of Half A Sixpence - was the perfect vehicle for sharing the joy of performance. The skippy notes of a banjo always cheer and this, with a faultless orchestra, chimed the air with Edwardian charm. The costumes conjured the era well. Set design and its handling by stage crew was highly effective too, allowing for the rapid chapter-like telling.
The troupe love their craft and performing together. The ensemble numbers, composed of Aoife Freeman, Katie Hunt, Sam Turpin and many named-role performers, were superb. Given that early rehearsals were online, I applaud them all for the mastery of their dance and singing.
Conor Dodds and Caitlin Dodds as Young Arthur and Young Ann courageously opened with a heart-warming first scene of child’s-view innocence and play. Ellie Burley played Helen Walsingham with skilful variation of emotion. The money-orientation of Mrs Walsingham was notable from Esme Read, and Dan McCloskey carried James Walsingham’s financial bravado. Phoebe Mason and Ben Bremner worked the manner and physicality of Aunt Susan Kipps and Uncle Bert Kipps nicely. The socialist Sid Pornick was in good hands with Joe Burley. A counterpoint to James Berryman’s severe Mr Shalford, Lucy Forrester, Mark Cornaby and Erin Norman brought a jovial, endearing Miss Pierce, Buggins and Flo Evans. There was a charming effervescence to Nico Eynon-Colon’s Chitterlow. Gracie Evenden, Fran Hutchinson, Albie Moore and Paige Allen did stirling work bringing believable and entertaining characters Carshot / Lady Dacre, Lady Punnet, Hayes / Mr Maxwell / Barman and Miss Mary Ross / Miss Foster. Matty Brook and Lauren Chapman, as Arthur Kipps and Ann Pornick, brought charm, vitality and chemistry to the stage and like their fellow cast members, delighted the audience throughout.
The show closes tonight (Saturday 9 October) with a flash, bang, wallop!
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