Ask my nearest and dearest my views on Derren Brown and the response I imagine will be big sigh followed by a roll of the eyes. It would be fair to say I am mildly obsessed with the man. The fact he and I are from the same area in London for me is all the proof I need that we have a deep connection that no-one, I repeat NO ONE can break.
When I discovered he had a new show 'Apocalypse' out I couldn't wait to see it. Waiting for a quiet moment to sit and enjoy it was blissful, ruined only by the knowledge I had to wait another week for the finale. Damn.
Since part one there has been negative press and the suggestion of subterfuge which continues to be part and parcel of Derren's work. For me, responding to the opinion from publications like the Daily Mail, whose idea of a news story is tantamount to celebrity soft porn is hardly worth a response. Don't hate the player idiots, hate the game.
What struck me most about 'Apocalypse' was Derren Brown's reasoning behind the show. As an avid viewer of his work and stage shows I have been amused, confused and downright bamboozled by him as a showman for years. Like all great artists the moment you think you have worked him out he smashes out a curveball. His act is not down to smoke and mirrors, but appears to be a mixture of hypnosis, mind games and subconscious trickery. All incredibly amazing, but to what end?
Along with his last show, 'Hero at 30,000 ft' - and if you haven't seen that either SHAME ON YOU (its available on 4OD, don't worry) Derren Brown has taken a new, fantastic tactic in his game playing. He has not only created something that will get your brain ticking away trying to work out how the hell he does it but also making you question yourself.
In 'Hero...' and 'Apocalypse' the plot is centered on a central participant (read - victim). The point is to completely fool them into experiencing situations and feelings that they cannot explain or control. In 'Hero...' this is making Matt Galley believe he has to land a failing plane, or all the passengers will die. In "Apocalypse' Steven is convinced the world has been hit by meteors and a deadly virus has broken out. Yes, pretty far out and fantastical right? But bear with Derren, this is done with surprising ease, enough to bring out the paranoid in even the most sceptical of you. He wants these people to realize they are wasting their life, not appreciating the love and beauty around them. Time is ticking. By tasking them with situations through different stages of the show they are able to gain the skills and expertise they need to embrace life and become their own Masters.
This is extreme therapy. Rather poetically Derren takes away chance and creates controlled situations which places them out of their comfort zone to allow them the opportunity to grow and appreciate what they have. Its a shocking reminder that it is never to late to take control of your life and make the changes you need. As Derren shows us - we have the abilities within ourselves to do anything. So, better not stop.