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WEEK IN OXFORD

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Posted by Derren Brown April 24, 2011 at 12:34 am

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I’ve just come to the end of a wonderful week working on changes to the show. This is something which we always do with the tours: the joy is to keep improving and changing and getting it as good as possible. Andrew O’Connor, one of the producers of the tour came over from LA to work on it with me, and Polly and Stephen came up too. We’ve spent each day rehearsing and talking and trying out new things each night. Some of the changes are quite small, others are large: it’s been like being back in previews in Brighton.

The last couple of nights we’ve made big shifts with the very end, which has been hugely exciting. The changes seem to have worked: the audience reactions do appear to be getting better and better. We’ve been doing notes after the shows until 2 or 3am, then up again for breakfast work, all-day rehearsals and then of course the shows in the evening. All that work has ended today and tomorrow we’re off to Sunderland for some relative peace and rest. Sadly this work has not left me any time to explore Oxford: such a beautiful city and somewhere I would happily come to live. But the audiences have been bright and gorgeous and the theatre an absolute dream. After the show, a lovely chat with Nicholas Hoult and his lady Jenny, who had graced the auditorium along with Doug Hodge and his wife Tessa Peake-Jones: my first celeb visits of the tour. Very exciting. Though I wasn’t entirely happy with the show as a stupid technical problem with the new ending upset the rhythm of things at a vital moment… but hey, whaddyagonnado.

Before Oxford we all had a great week in Norwich. The highlight was most likely us all heading to Adam Buxton’s farmhouse for lunch with him and his wife Sarah: you’ll be delighted to know that the afternoon began with Sarah’s exquisite food and finished with Adam showing us silly movies on YouTube. They are a glorious, generous, bright and brilliant couple.

You may also be interested to know that my friend Patrick Hughes has a new book for sale, entitled Paradoxymoron – click here to view. It was at the launch for this book that Alexei Sayle came over to speak to me. I’ve always been a fan of the great man, who was wearing a black suit and shirt: I plucked a white hair from the front of said shirt as we spoke to find that it was joined to his chest. Great one, Derren.

My Highland Park has run dry and I must get to bed. We’ve been staying at the Old Bank Hotel in Oxford and I have to say I don’t think I’ve ever experienced such astonishingly brilliant staff. It’s a terrific hotel, and we’re all hugely grateful to the entire team for making this stay such a pleasure. Thank you.

Right, nighty-night. Can’t wait for the new changes to bed in and feel second-nature. And I hope you like them too. Sleep well. I have just a few hours to try to do the same.

X

PS the picture of me was taken in Cromer by Dennis Grasse, a member of our team who is a great photographer. If you ever find yourself in the greenroom of the National Theatre, those are his on the wall.

COMMENTS
April 24, 2011 at 12:46 am
Di Brown says:

Hey Derren

Always lovely to read your posts…… been hearing so many wonderful things about Svengali and i cannot wait to see it next week in Edinburgh. Hope you manage to get some rest…

Take care

Di xxxx πŸ˜€


April 24, 2011 at 12:48 am
sophie says:

I saw your show on friday 22nd April in Oxford. It was absolutely AMAZING! I have never seen something so good in all my life! I haven’t stopped talking about it ever since, my family must be sick of it now! Haha. You were fantastic, and the little comments that you made were hilarious and kept the show moving! I must say that the ending was very tense but brill…almost had to look away at one point, my heart was pounding lol. I would happily come and see your tours again, infact its a must! And I would 100% recommend it to anyone! I was never bored at all…actually I didn’t want it to end!! Thankyou so much for an absolutely unforgettable show and experience!! :D. Sophie.


April 24, 2011 at 12:48 am
Sabina says:

Sounds like a very busy week. Thank you for updating us on your tour goings on, you must be shattered but I get the impression you’re having fun and enjoying every minute.

Will check out Patrick Hughes’ new book, great title.

I did really laugh at your Alexei Sayle faux pas. I’m sure it’s much funnier now that it was at the time! lol

Got tickets to come and see the show again in July but not sure I can wait that long, may sneek in a cheeky second viewing before that. Can’t wait to see the changes.

I’ve never been to Oxford but have a friend who moved there so will have to check it out…I don’t know of any of the celebs of whom you speak. My bad!

Night night. Sleep well and have a good rest day…

Sx


April 24, 2011 at 12:50 am
Amanda says:

I came to see the show on Thursday and thought it was fantastic. Thank you for signing my programme afterwards! Can’t wait to see the changes when it’s televised. Sounds like your hotel may have been slightly better than our Travelodge with the roll-away bed…


April 24, 2011 at 12:53 am
Sabina says:

P.S. You have a slight halo in the photo. Very Easter appropriate! πŸ˜‰


April 24, 2011 at 1:01 am
Fabian Shaw says:

Can’t wait to see the show in Stoke in May, especially as it’ll be the new, improved version! Seems like you have a lot of stamina to be able to get such little sleep and still perform so often (and hopefully well). :p


April 24, 2011 at 1:36 am
Michele says:

Thanks again for your time in Oxford!
The show was a bit ‘different than usual, it’s exciting to see you live!
I hope we will meet at the next show or when you come to Italy! let us know!

Michele and Paolo


April 24, 2011 at 1:37 am
Jamie says:

Morning! Like PMQ’s, I’m looking forward to Faith Healing on Monday night (C4). I haven’t been to a live show of yours, after such a shameless plug, give me a discount and I might πŸ™‚

1 step ahead – Performed brilliantly, much appreciation!

Keep up the good work.


April 24, 2011 at 1:42 am
Ella says:

I can’t wait to see the show again! I saw it in Woking on the 17th – which was just fantastic!
If you visit Oxford properly Derren, visit ‘Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons’ – Raymond Blanc’s Hotel and Restaurant, which does lovely food and has absolutely stunning rooms and lovely staff! (I heard you quite like French Food – that’s why I’m suggesting it!)

Also – thanks again for tweeting me back – even if it was through Stephen… it was very much appreciated – i’m so glad you had just about enough time to answer my question! πŸ™‚

I hope you enjoy Sunderland! πŸ™‚ X


April 24, 2011 at 2:25 am
Aaron Rush says:

Excellent! I love reading these blogs because of your witty style of writing… Please please come back to Belfast Mr.Brown! πŸ™‚ Looking forward to Monday


April 24, 2011 at 2:28 am
Rhiannon says:

please, do feel free to cone and live in Oxford.
perhaps Jess and I can jump you outside of Bella Italia again. suuuch fun, from both parties points of view – I’m sure.


April 24, 2011 at 3:09 am
Sally Hall says:

Good luck with the show Derren. I’ve enjoyed reading about your time in Oxford whilst I lie awake in bed frustratingly unable to sleep. Shall lie down and digest it as I attempt to nod off. All the best. X


April 24, 2011 at 5:11 am
Chantelle says:

Wow lovely blog Derren πŸ™‚ Will be interesting to see the changes you’ve made to the show. Hope to get to see you again very soon dear xx

Beautiful photo by the way πŸ™‚ you look totally stunning as always xxx

Enjoy the rest of the tour

Happy Easter


April 24, 2011 at 6:52 am
FLAPTash says:

The show was stunning!!!! Was amazing to finally have met you, you’re really tall!!!! Very pleased u seemed to remember FLAP, thank you for coming to oxford!!!!


April 24, 2011 at 8:01 am
Danny Oldenhave says:

I am very excited to see your brilliant ending now πŸ™‚ planning on seeing you live for the first time somewhere at the ending of this year. I bet Svengali is worth the trip from Holland. Cant wait πŸ™‚


April 24, 2011 at 10:01 am
Cathy says:

Glad you had a fab time in Oxford – I saw the show on Thursday night, which was as awesome as I expected! Hugely entertaining and hilariously funny as always. Was a delight to see you perform again. Can’t wait for your TV show on Monday night. Cx


April 24, 2011 at 10:44 am
Sarah says:

Is it really mean of me to say that I love it when Derren shares his embarrasing mistakes? It makes him seem more human, and it makes me feel better about embarrasing things I’ve done in the past. (:


April 24, 2011 at 10:50 am
Katie says:

Come back and visit Oxford soon Derren. It’s a beautiful City with the most charming villages on the outskirts. Lots to explore, and lots of peoples minds to fiddle with πŸ™‚


April 24, 2011 at 11:15 am
Alex says:

Bahhh saw the show last night – super it was! And noone even noticed the technical fault (I did but I am extraordinarily receptive to these things) JOKING! But seriously, it didn’t ruin it for the audience so its all good. Massive love, it was incredible!


April 24, 2011 at 11:30 am
Jackie says:

Soooooooo excited! Expat flying in from Qatar to come see the show on Monday can’t wait! x


April 24, 2011 at 11:33 am
Michelle says:

Hi Derren, we came to see you in Norwich and once again had a fantastic evening πŸ™‚ We’re hoping you’ll bring Svengali to Ipswich as there’s a massive group of us who want to come (I especially want to see the changes you’ve made). Looking forward to Miracles for sale tomorrow, the perfect end to an easter weekend πŸ™‚ Hope you enjoy your rest time x


April 24, 2011 at 11:56 am
Charlotte says:

Came to see the show in Oxford on 21st. Was truly amazing. Can’t believe i was fortunate enough to catch a frisbee and take part!

Might just have to come and see it again to see the changes.

X


April 24, 2011 at 12:04 pm
Dominika says:

Dear Derren, your show in Oxford was amazing. I’ve seen you last year in London as well and I love that always you come with new exciting things.
Shame you didn’t have time to look around Oxford, I live here about seven years now and I love it, it reminds me a lot Prague,so I feel like home here.
BTW… can you hypnotize dogs? πŸ™‚ Was wondering if there is any way to get in their mind, would be so much fun to see that in your next show…maybe bit too much challenge? πŸ˜€ Feel free anytime borrow my beagle, cos the tricks she plays on all of us, totally blowing our mind, same as your shows πŸ™‚
Thank you very much again for your show in Oxford on Tuesday,it was wonderful and so much fun, we had amazing evening, thank you.
x


April 24, 2011 at 1:02 pm
Frances says:

Norwich show was just brilliant!! I am wondering what changes were made … hmm… loved the ending, it has puzzled me ever since! Glad you are having fun on tour!! xxxxxxxxx


April 24, 2011 at 1:03 pm
Marta Purwin says:

Can’t express how happy I am about meeting you the other night. You’re as charming as I imagined and it literally made my year πŸ™‚ The show was of course incredible. Now for channel 4 on monday night πŸ™‚


April 24, 2011 at 1:04 pm
Rachel says:

Had an amazing time in Oxford on the 20th didn’t get a chance to say it at the stage door -you were a little bit distracted – you did apologise though so I wont go around bad mouthing you , I’m both relieved and saddened that I didn’t catch a frisbee. Thank you again it was incredible to see you live for the first time having been a fan of yours forever, good luck with the rest of the tour.

Rachel

xxxxxx


April 24, 2011 at 1:38 pm
roz says:

beautiful picture…just what i needed right now. πŸ™‚


April 24, 2011 at 1:48 pm
kez n dave says:

looking forward to seeing you in sunny scarborough in a weeks time! πŸ™‚


April 24, 2011 at 1:50 pm
Shannon says:

Just want to say I thought the show in Oxford last Wednesday was fabulous – I’m really keen to see it again in London just to pick up on all the tiny suggestiong and phrases and details I’m sure I missed the first time!

I know that you’re purposely keeping it a secret for the time being, but I think it would be great to read a final review once it’s finished – little things like what ‘changes’ you’re referring to and mishaps etc…

Im planning on writing a blog on Tuesday after watching Miracles for Sale, and including some references to the live show and Tricks of the Mind (which I’m currently reading…) but don’t worry; I’m not planning on revealing anything about the show!

Best of luck with the rest of the tour,


April 24, 2011 at 2:38 pm

Dear Derren,
Really enjoyed my weekend away in Oxford my partner bought me the tickets for your show as an xmas present. She knows im a big fan of yours and it was the first time getting to see you live, the show was excellent, exciting, and entertaining. I really wanted to be called up on stage to get to meet you, maybe next time πŸ™‚ keep up the good work your a legend.
Peace Barry.


April 24, 2011 at 4:03 pm
Mark says:

Glad everything is going well for you Derren. Sometimes I envy you hehe


April 24, 2011 at 5:44 pm

I always enjoy reading how the tour is coming along through your eyes. Makes for a thoroughly insightful read.
It’s a shame you didn’t get to see much of Oxford. I’ve only been to Oxford the once years ago and very much enjoyed Burford zoo (I think it was called).

No doubt I may not recognise a lot of the show now since those opening preview nights at Brighton. It was rather good then, so no doubt now it’s ‘Spectacular, Spectacular’! πŸ˜‰

Enjoy the rest of the tour and as always, look after yourself.

LC x


April 24, 2011 at 5:45 pm

P. S Lovely photo. Very moody & atmospheric. xx


April 24, 2011 at 7:46 pm
SlaviΓ…Β‘a says:

Derren hello from Slovenija, you are the best in the world and the show was amazing just woooow

SlaviΓ…Β‘a in BlaΓ…ΒΎ


April 24, 2011 at 7:55 pm
Heather says:

I saw the show last night and just wanted to say a big thank you for such a brilliant evening! Truly one of the most amazing things i have ever seen! Xxx


April 24, 2011 at 8:01 pm
SImon Boundy says:

Hey Derren.. once again a tremendous show last night – I can’t imagine how much work goes into it all… we left feeling elated and bemused in equally excellent measure.

See you next time!

Simon


April 24, 2011 at 8:22 pm
Hayley says:

Glad to hear that you’re having a good time – I really like that photo πŸ™‚


April 24, 2011 at 10:35 pm
Billy Joe says:

Liked the show in Oxford – not sure if we saw it before or after the changes as we were there on te 21st.


April 25, 2011 at 8:07 am
sophie says:

Hi Derren,

I am 13 and have been a fan of yours for a long time I think you are AMAZING! I came to see you on Friday (22 April) for my birthday, and just wanted to say thank you for a fantastic evening! Its one I will remember it for a long time! You were spectacular! I’m hoping to see you again next year πŸ™‚ xx


April 25, 2011 at 8:49 am
Mike says:

Hi derren

Just to let you know that the embarrasment has subsided from fridays show in Oxford!

We’ll have to have a round of golf sometime πŸ™‚

hehehe!


April 25, 2011 at 9:16 am
Pedro says:

Come to Portugal!


April 25, 2011 at 10:42 am

Hey Derren, I saw the show on the last night in Norwich, it was amazing, and great to meet you afterwards. I’m glad you enjoyed being in our city, I think it’s a great place and I’ve lived there all my life. I am intrigued to know which parts of the show are changing, I don’t see how it could get any better! Wish I could see the show later on in the tour.. Unfortunately I don’t have enough money..

Honor, 13, Norwich

x


April 25, 2011 at 11:45 am
Chirag says:

Dear Derren,

I was at your Oxford show on the Thursday, 4 rows from the front! The show was amazing as they always are, I liked what you mixed into the show, was a bit of everything, had its nice humour as always and its dark side which was perfect. Your really, really energetic on stage, with so much charisma and naturally funny. I wish you the best of luck on all your future projects.

Once again, I thank you very much for the experience of meeting you after the show, you came across as really kind, down to earth and just a normal guy! Not blinded by all the fame πŸ˜‰ It was nice of you to take a picture even though you did say you wouldn’t stop to take them. Thanks for signing my copy of your book too, the whole day was a memorable experience I won’t forget.

Kind Regards

Chirag Maher


April 25, 2011 at 12:02 pm
kzk says:

Please take care of yourself and I always wishing you good health!!
I very much look forward to watching tonight TVshow and your new show
in the near future.

Best wishes and love always xxx


April 25, 2011 at 12:07 pm
TheDoctor says:

Great show as usual Derren. Always a pleasure to see you live. Keep up the fine work. Thanks for signing my book too.


April 25, 2011 at 12:33 pm
Lorraine Pepper says:

Amazing show on Friday night in Oxford, couldn’t stop talking about it. Imagine my shock when I saw you sitting in the library at The Old Bank Hotel when we stumbled in later that same night! Thank you for signing my brochure, sorry to have interrupted you and your team. You were all charming and lovely. Just such a shame I was in shock … so much I wanted to say. p.s forgot to give you the £4 for your autograph!!


April 25, 2011 at 1:43 pm
Cynthia Ngo says:

Hi Derren! I hope you are well, despite the long tour and all the hard work! I want to say thank you for such a great show, and it was an absolute pleasure and privilege to watch the show, enjoy and witness your exceptional talents, wicked sense of humour, as well as your wonderfully entertaining abilities… It was also really nice to read your blogs and learn more about the backstage stories, which are just as fascinating!
Again, many Congratulations to you, as the show has been a great success! You have blowed us all away again, without any doubt! I wish all the best, Derren, and in a way, you’ve definitely made my life much more exciting! With kisses and hugs xoxoxoxoxo


April 25, 2011 at 4:30 pm
Erica says:

My now-husband and I had tickets for your show last year, but visa trouble before our wedding meant I was deported instead. We ended up having our quickie Nevada wedding on the same day we were meant to be seeing you!

We’re making up for it this Thursday in Edinburgh. FINALLY!!


April 25, 2011 at 7:42 pm
Natalie Moore says:

Just wanted to thank you for the amazing show on Saturday. My boyfriend got me tickets for my 21st and I couldn’t have wished for a better pressie. The only drawback is my sister is going to a London show in June so I can’t say anything to her for fear of giving something away! I had a genuinely wonderful time, can’t wait for the next show…!


April 26, 2011 at 1:44 am
Kirstina says:

There’s always a bottle of Highland Park in my house!! lol πŸ˜‰


April 26, 2011 at 9:51 am
Daniel says:

Highland Park – good man!

I just bought tickets for the Regent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent performance next Friday- I was very lucky to get tickets, only a handful left. Enigma was incredible – can’t wait.


April 26, 2011 at 11:22 am
alan says:

Ò€œSadly this work has not left me any time to explore Oxford: such a beautiful city and somewhere I would happily come to liveÒ€.
I recall working in a building near the river there, next to excavations for a new multistory car park. Walking past one break time I watched the workers lifting out mammoth tusks from ancient silt deposits, where those animals had presumably been trapped and met their end. Sort of puts the passage of life and time into perspective, wouldnÒ€ℒt you say?


April 26, 2011 at 11:25 am
Will says:

I am very glad you enjoyed your stay at the Hotel, we always hope to make it enjoyable to guests. I hope the chicken soup was better πŸ™‚

Thank you for the kind comments Joe passed on to me, It was a pleasure to meet you and we hope to see you again soon (with plenty more highland park and Morton Sauvignon).


April 26, 2011 at 2:08 pm
Clare says:

I saw you in Oxford on Saturday, so pleased I was chosen to be part of the show. It was amazing!


April 26, 2011 at 3:29 pm
Jennifer says:

Hi Derren,

I saw your show in Oxford on Saturday and really loved it, there was such a good mix of comedy, tension, audience participation and visual material. I’ve previously seen Enigma and an Evening of Wonders and really enjoyed those too. The only thing I’ve found disappointing is not getting to see you afterwards. I came to an Evening of Wonders for my birthday in 2007 and waited outside afterwards only to be told you would not be coming out. The same thing happened on Saturday, I waited outside to be told that you had to rush off and wouldn’t be signing anything that night. I guess it must be bad luck because I’ve heard a few people say how they had met you after shows. Maybe next time I will get to have the photo taken with you that I have been waiting 4 years for!!


April 28, 2011 at 6:43 pm
Jooj duQuemn says:

Hi Derren,
Have come up to Edinburgh with my husband to see you , all the way from Jersey (our son’s at uni here), so we’re taking him & his girlfriend too (she’s a Derren Browm Virgin!) Spent a great day today at Camera Obscura and World of Illusion in Ed, I just love that place………any one in Edinburgh…go there. Really looking forward to the show on Saturday…………..


May 2, 2011 at 2:41 pm
Marc says:

Hi Derren (if ever you read this),
I’ve come to Oxford on 19 April from Switzerland, and really enjoyed this great show. My only “experience” with your art so far was coming from DVDs and youtube, so it was a fantastic experience to have you live on stage. Besides the flaw at the very end which left a number of people leaving on a questionmark … brilliant!
All best
Marc


May 2, 2011 at 4:21 pm
Ania Przywala says:

Derren,

I have become a recent fan of yours and since I was introduced to you by my fiancée few weeks ago I have been spending pretty much every evening watching your shows on 4OD. It has become my new addiction.
I am amazed and fascinated about what you do.

Watching your show made me think though if you would get the same effect trying to hypnotize someone from a different country, who’s first language wasn’t English.
I am asking this as I am from Poland myself, and was wondering if my subconscious would respond to English commands.
I would love to hear what you think about it.

Also I have realised I just missed your show in Edinburgh. Hope you will be back soon.

Best Regards
Ania


May 9, 2011 at 7:18 pm
e lilley says:

your just the best


May 9, 2011 at 7:20 pm
e lilley says:

grat minds think alike. xx


May 16, 2011 at 2:18 pm
Kirsty Allan says:

Saw you in Oxford on 21st April – absolutely brilliant! πŸ™‚ Got my boyfriend the tickets for his brithday (more for me really as I was desperate to see you live!) and he thought the whole show was spectacular! Two very enthusiastic thumbs-up Mr B! Enjoy the rest of your tour – might pop along to see you next year and see what has changed!