Derren Brown has tonight collected the second Olivier Award of his career, winning for his mind-boggling West End hit Svengali in the Best Entertainment and Family Award category.
The entertainer and master of psychological trickery was first recognised by the most prestigious of theatre awards in 2006 for his second West End outing Something Wicked This Way Comes. Since then the television star has appeared on stage in shows Mind Reader – An Evening Of Wonders and Derren Brown – Enigma before returning with Svengali, arguably his darkest show to date, last summer.
When it was announced earlier this year that the show will come to the Novello theatre for a limited run this July, Brown spoke of his love of performing in the theatre, saying: “I enjoy the stage shows more than anything else. Live on stage is the best place for what I do: it's unpredictable and the audience knows there's no possibility of judicious editing.”
Audiences were indeed baffled by the unbelievable tricks and wonders on show in Svengali, but also thoroughly entertained by Brown’s natural showmanship that had the audience not only shaking with fear but with laughter too. Speaking after accepting the award, Brown commented on his love of the stage, saying: "I just love drama, I love plays, I love acting, and maybe it’s something I’d like to do more of at some point." He described the win as "extraordinary", adding: "It’s been a real team effort so this is a lovely thing to get for a whole group of us. It looks like I’m the guy who’s doing it because I’m the one on stage but it really isn’t the case."
The acclaimed production was co-written by Brown and long-term collaborators Iain Sharkley and Stephen Long, and directed by Polly Findlay.