Derren Brown's combination of psychological illusion, perceptual manipulation
and persuasive technique has pioneered a new form of magical entertainment. Derren Brown (born February 27, 1971) is an English psychological illusionist and skeptic of paranormal phenomena. He was born in Croydon, South London, where he attended Whitgift School, where his father was the swimming teacher. While studying Law and German at the University of Bristol he attended a show by the hypnotist Martin S. Taylor that inspired him to turn to illusion and hypnosis as a career. Around 1994 he worked as a conjurer, practicing the traditional skills of close-up 'magic'. In 1996, he started performing stage hypnosis shows at the University of Bristol under his then stage name of Darren V. Brown. „
* Prices may differ from that shown
== A Personal Intro ==
*Please feel free to skip this intro if you're not interested in my background that shapes the bulk of my opinion. My background is relevant, and it's brief, but I know you want to know how Derren is live, and you'll see the segment on that beneath this, thank you.*
I'll start off by saying that; my own personal history with magic goes back to about age 10/11 (I'm now 22). I was sat in the living room watching street magic on TV and thought to myself "I want to do that" (as I'm sure many kids/people may do whilst watching magic), so I then set about learning. First I would just record and watch close-up magic back repeatedly and work out sleights myself... then this evolved into a full blown obsession and passionate venture in to the art.
From about ages 11 to 16, I fully went at it (oi, mind out of gutter!) and learned everything I could possibly find about card and coin (and general close-up) magic, and the performance of it... I studied magician after magician, I studied the history, I was in love with the art.
Magic to me was always psychological, and elegant rather than 'mystifying' and 'big'. I actually dislike commercial magicians for the most part and the way TV magicians and the public tend to think of or see magic; it's quite cheesy. But that's not the magic I know of.
It looked all for sure that I was going to become a professional magician; in all humbleness, I got very good at it (card magic in particular) but then around... 17/18 just stopped practicing to the same obsessive standard I had (although, when you're truly passionately involved with something like that, it doesn't feel like practice, I enjoyed every minute of it) been and didn't ever (and still haven't) lose interest in it, but I just began walking down other roads and not focusing on it as much.
I also began to feel that a professional magician wasn't what I wanted to do with my life, despite being pretty certain I could go down that road and succeed (even to this day). I still love magic to this day and Derren is my absolute favourite all-time performer.
To anybody schooled in the history of or aware of truly special close-up legends will know what I mean. To anybody who isn't, but is interested; some names that may give you an idea are - Ed Marlo (a complete legend and perhaps the most well known, or certainly most referenced card magician within all of card magic), Jay Sankey (an all round entertaining and brilliant, well-rounded magician) and Brian Tudor (terrible performer but incredible technical artist).
The reason I wanted to write a little segment regarding my history with magic was to give my personal opinion of Derren's performance a little more weight - not because I think my opinion is so important, but just so that: to anybody who reads this, or thinks Derren is or could be overhyped, I just wanted to emphasize from the perspective of an experienced student of magic (and, believe me, I lived and breathed it, and have a lot of experience), Derren is IN-CRED-IBLE. This man deserves all the credit he gets as THE foremost performer of modern magic.
Derren also partially made me feel like "wow, what's the point now" haha, because... one of the hardest elements to magic is developing a performance style. You can practice technical aspects until you're blue in the face, and that's a whole world of its own, but if you don't develop a persona, it's all pretty useless unless you just want to be an exhibitionist of skill. You need to entertain...
And, given that I was so young when immersed in the art, I could never truly figure out how I wanted to present myself - but then when I saw Derren I thought "yes, okay... If I did it, I would want to do it like THAT, 100%". And I'm normally not happy with the idea of 'copying' somebody, I like to try and be original, but that just showed me how amazing Derren is. I almost felt like, well, if I feel that's the best way it can be done, and if I do it that way it's just a replica... why do it haha. That's the way I think, a little odd I know but kind of an extremist. But I may go back to it.
== Derren Live ==
Where to start!?
Okay so, as a performer, Derren Brown is sublime.
I don't use that word lightly, he's literally in the 'legendary' category and I guarantee you: he will go down in history with the historic men of magic and performance.
It's quite rare to see a performer of this calibre in this day and age, and no believe me, Chris Angel is not it! and neither is David Blaine (ew!). Derren is the kind of calibre of performer that I just haven't been aware of or known of this standard since the legendary days of development.
What Derren brings to magic which actually, I've never seen done in the way he does it or as good as he does it, is: an everyday style that feels completely natural (if you watch most magicians, it 'feels' like they're performing. There's an element of unnatural stiffness to the patter, something not quite true to life or entirely normal. It feels like a performance.) seamlessly blended with a plethora of wit, insight, genuine curiosity; dark and interesting undertones, a sense of the 'exhilarating' and entertaining and a modern, thoughtful perspective.
Most magicians, even great ones working today, even great magicians that I am a huge fan of - they're still basically 1.0 magicians in comparison to Derren's style of presentation. It still feels like 'okay, this is a magician talking to me, let me see what he tries to do now' where as with Derren, it's just like he's intelligently conversing with individuals and the magic is seamless; almost like he's not responsible for it, like it's happening as a result of something other than him and his input and control. This is the penultimate style of performing that any magician striving to be truly great at performing aspires to. The aim is for everything to feel so relaxed and comfortable, and for conversation to feel so unscripted, un-thought-out and flowing that the magic is a complete surprise.
When this style is achieved, you see what Derren produces. The reason Derren's material looks so insanely head-baffling sometimes, to the degree that people's only resort is to claim 'stooges' is because he has achieved this penultimate performance style.
This is why people are constantly questioning if it's real, because when you watch and listen to Derren, it feels like you're listening to a real man talking to you. Yes, there's a conscious performer there, and Derren fully infuses and adheres to this sense of 'theatre' and always lets you know that he's trying to do things and, plays so many mind games... but irrespective of his content, subject-matter or aims... it feels like a real interaction, and this is the key to why his misdirection and methodology is so well achieved to the point where the effect, looks like the effect. There's nothing to work out, your mind is just blown, and you feel completely entertained.
I say all of this as a magician, and this is the reason I gave my personal history as... when you've studied the art and 'get' how to structure or perform elements of magic, or just 'know' the inside so to speak; it can become harder for another magician to entertain or baffle you. Not that it's not possible, and I don't mean that quite how it sounds, as most good magicians LOVE the art (that's why they're good at it), that's why they got in to it, because they LOVE seeing it, and want to do it too.
But what I mean is, due to the fact you know the inner-working a lot... what becomes most important to you as a magician, becomes the performance. Where as with an audience... a performance is INADVERTENTLY most important, but in fact to most, what's most important is the effect / the trick, what they're seeing.
Audience members may be entertained by Derren's persona, but they've come to be baffled, they've come to see or experience something amazing, and try to figure it out, or simply enjoy the experience of not being able to figure it out. But if Derren wasn't such a good performer, general spectators wouldn't enjoy it as much as they do.
Derren has breathed a whole new life in to magic to the point where it can feel like you're watching a documentary or genuine psychological experience. What he's done with 'psychological magic' is simply astounding, he's taken it to levels not seen before and with a realism never imagined.
Remember when you used to think of magicians? you'd think 'top hat / corny' right? Derren has dismantled that feeling, which was an historically cheap and tacky thing to shake off, but through his sheer excellence in style and elegance, and intelligence, he's made it something so much better.
He makes it feel almost 'clinical' at times, and yet never losing the spark of a magic performance, never losing that 'life' and thrill and concept of entertainment, he's struk the perfect balance.
I know I've rambled a lot and I better stop myself now as, I know this is more of a general appraising of Derren; I have seen him live and the show I saw live was 'Mind Reader'...
I will bring this to a closing now or I will literally go on forever! but I will just say - to anybody considering if Derren's show will be a good night out, TRUST ME: it will be unforgettable. If you think Derren's TV programs are engrossing, wait till you see him live.
What I've failed to mention as much here is his humour. Beyond being amazed and engrossed, and beyond having all your thought provoked; you will be chuckling all the way through. Derren is a genuinely witty writer and performer - his comic timing is on par with decent comedians and some of his wit is hilarious. Most magicians fail to develop or just, aren't, usually, genuinely funny. They're usually 'jokey funny' in a kind of childish or flat way, but Derren is 'adult funny'. You will be baffled, amused, entertained and you will have a superb night out.
Derren Brown is a genius (I'm not somebody who overuses that word like many) and the amount he's achieved in such a short space of time, and the way he's transformed magic and the perception of it; and the heights and depths he's taken it too... I'm in awe. A true pioneer. See him now!
Thanks so much for reading, I know it was long!
I have been a huge fan of Derren Brown for many years now and this was my first time to see the man live. He didn't disappoint one bit and I certainly had one magical night.
Derren Brown - Svengali:
Wolverhampton Grand Theatre , May 3rd 2012
Keeping anything a secret in today's world is a very difficult thing. In this age of being able to type a string of incoherent sentences into Google and yielding an answer within seconds, endless knowledge is available at the click of a button.
How, then, can an art form such as magic survive in today's openly revealing society? Many workers have claimed that online video sites detailing methods have put a dent in magicians' repertoires, and this is obviously very true. An art form which is based on trust in one's peers, and knowledge which was once deeply concealed away in the depths of obscure textbooks; can magic still be what it once was; mysterious, elegant, and deceptive?
I'm afraid I can't answer that question, but I know a man who can.
The mysteriously titled 'Svengali' tour is Derren Brown's fourth theatre production to come to the UK. Over the years, his shows have become progressively more mind boggling, culminating with 2009's Enigma which I didn't think could be beaten for the perfect blend of magic, mentalism and theatrics. Over the course of two hours, we are treated to a wonderful showcase of these abilities, and for one night we are shown what it would be like to see a master magician at work in the early 1900's, when theatre shows were more entertaining than television.
For those not in the know, Derren Brown is a professional magician who specialises in all manner of psychological manipulations. He claims to be a master of hypnosis techniques, neuro-linguistic programming, multiple body language reading techniques and much more. He begins his shows (TV and theater) with the claim that his results are achieved through a combination of 'magic, suggestion, psychology, misdirection and showmanship'.
Derren asks his audience not to reveal anything too specific about the Svengali show, therefore I'll try not to say too much about his individual pieces. Before the show began, the audience were asked to write down their most embarrassing confessions and put them into a box at the front of the stage. Derren has always done a variation of this effect in all of his theatre shows, however the results of this one were quite special for me at least.
Audience participation is a big part of any magic show, and Derren utilizes this like no other performer on earth. For the opening trick, we are treated to a pure magic trick disguised as an act of mind-boggling manipulation. It involves Derren's shoe, a ten pound note, and a very confused audience member. The next trick involves a nod to Derren's first TV appearance ten years ago, as a confused couple were made to play Russian Roulette with paint guns. This was a particular highlight due to the couple onstage being so brain-dead that I don't think they understood the point of the trick. Derren however, seems to enjoy these types of participants, as there suggestibility can be greatly exploited by a master such as himself.
The whole show is encompassed by a frame story regarding a cursed doll made in the 1930's. This, I think, was one of the weakest parts of the show, as this story is a lot less believable than Derren's previous efforts (The Great Prestoni in Something Wicked, The Oracle Act in An Evening of Wonders). It quickly became obvious the doll story was entirely fictional, whereas the claims in previous tours were entirely possible to have been real. I won't reveal any further info about the doll, however there was a particular trick it was used for which was completely mind boggling. Even by using magic logic, I can't come to a conclusion as to how it was possibly done. A true magical masterpiece, the likes of which are rarely seen today.
It is difficult to discuss the specifics without giving away too much, therefore I'll try and give an overview of the rest of the show. At one point, not only does Derren show off his skills as a mentalist, but also his skills as an artist. An amazing portrait of a certain famous person painted in a very unique way. For the grand finale, audience members are picked, numbers are chosen randomly, balloons are dropped and everything comes together in a truly mind-blowing fashion. How Derren and his team arrived at this conclusion makes my brain ache trying to dissect their methods.
All of Derren's techniques are of particular interest to my partner, and he has since (annoyingly) pointed out the methods to many of the tricks in the show. However, he also points out that with this knowledge comes an even more profound befuddlement. It is worth noting that this next point was, ironically, pointed out by Derren on his conjuring instructional DVD (The Devil's Picturebook); to the eyes of the layman (someone without knowledge of magic), some feats are extraordinary. However, to the eyes of a magician, those same feats can be doubly extraordinary if the magician doesn't know how they're being done. For example, many magic tricks will have a simple explanation, and these tricks are enjoyable for their simplicity, and these secrets can usually be summed up in a sentence or two. Above this there are professional magic routines, which involve complex sleight of hand and masterful deceptions.
And even above this, there are the choice few magical pieces. Routines such as David Copperfield's Portal, Teller's Miser's Dream, and Derren Brown's bizarre mind-reading doll trick which he is currently performing on the Svengali tour. These are a few pieces of conjuring which are so elegant and mysterious that for a brief moment, you might think that magic does really exist. And so for these secrets, then, there can only be one answer;
'I don't want to know'.
£30 per person for the tickets. A small price to pay for an evening of wonderment. Considering there are arena bands (Guns N Roses, Motley Crue) charging £40-50 per ticket in massive venues, £30 is perfectly reasonable for decent theatres. This show is definitely worth it for absolutely anyone, and I cannot recommend it enough. Someone who is unfamiliar with Derren will be mind numbingly amazed by every single feat. Even those who are regular viewers of him will also be left scratching their heads. My partner has spent a great deal of time researching magic, and he claims many of the tricks can be figured out. However, watching Derren perform, I've realised that the secret is not important.
If you can not get to a show near you or the tour has come to a halt I would full heartedly recommend you get the DVD copy when it comes out. I promise you, you shall not be disappointed.
A massive five stars from me.
Thank you for reading.
**I DON'T WISH TO SPOIL THE SHOW FOR ANYONE WHO IS GOING TO SEE IT AND I HAVEN'T PUT ANYTHING IN THIS REVIEW THAT WILL REVEAL ANY OF THE TRICKS THAT ARE PERFORMED**
If you were asked to describe Derren Brown, what would you say? Perhaps you'd say he's a magician. Some would probably say he's a hypnotist. Others have less friendly ways of describing him - a fraud, a fake or even a practitioner of witchcraft. Derren describes himself on his Twitter profile as a 'sharp bearded thought fiddler'. I would say that he is a genius, a funny man and a great entertainer.
Whether you like him or hate him, you have undoubtedly heard of him. Over the last few years, Derren Brown has done a lot of work on television. Most recently he hosted a night of 3D mayhem on Channel Four, which saw scores of people up and down the country, sitting in front of their television sets wearing a pair of fetching cardboard glasses. Most famously, he predicted the lottery results live as they were announced, which caused hundreds of theories to appear on You Tube, none of which quite explain the feat. He has convinced people to hold up security vans, made people believe they were part of a computer game and generally boggled the minds of many celebrity folk with his ability to predict the unpredictable.
Enigma is the rather apt name for Derren Brown's recent tour of the country and my partner and I went to see it in Blackpool last week. I admire Derren Brown's work, but I am not what you would consider to be a big fan. I was very excited about going to see him, but I am easily distracted and was worried that I would find it hard to follow what was happening - especially with the longer illusions. However, I didn't need to be worried; I can honestly say that I was gripped from start to finish.
The show combined a number of different illusions with some quick 'tricks' and other longer ones that took a lot of groundwork and I thought that the combination was just right. I particularly enjoyed the shorter, quick-fire bits where Derren seemed to guess what people were thinking - I have absolutely no idea how he does this and I found it pretty impressive.
The show was split into two parts, the first lasting around an hour and a half and the second lasting about an hour, with a twenty minute interval in between. I thought that this was actually quite a long show, but it didn't feel like it at all during the performance. The time went very quickly, although I have to say that the break was much needed as my mind was boggling so much from the first half!
Derren Brown is quite famous for his ability to put people into a trance. He did this on his TV show, where he made people 'stick' to their sofa. He does something similar in Enigma, although he takes great measures to ensure that you only take part if you want to. There are plenty of warnings that it is going to happen and he tells you what steps to take if you do not wish to participate.
On the subject of participation, as with all Derren Brown's shows, audience interaction plays a huge part in the show. I couldn't think of anything worse than taking part, but my other half was a little disappointed to find that we were sat up in the rafters almost and so we would not have any chance of 'being picked'. He needn't have worried though because this problem has been overcome. Derren Brown is very adamant that he doesn't use 'stooges' (people who have been pre-picked but act as genuine audience members) in his shows. In order to prove this, he selects participants by throwing Frisbees into the audience. If you catch it, you can pass it on to somebody else or throw it again if you don't want to take part. For the people that are at the back or are in different levels, he has what he calls 'long range' Frisbees, to ensure that everyone gets a chance.
One of the things that I enjoyed most about the show was Derren Brown's personality. He really is a true showman. Aside from his amazing abilities, he is actually a very funny man. He has a very dry and witty sense of humour that had me, at times, in stitches.
As with all his performances, Enigma has a climax that will leave you completely flummoxed and utterly in awe of Derren Brown. Throughout the show, subtle references are made to the ending and you are expecting something good. I obviously don't want to give anything away, but suffice to say, the ending is spectacular!
I can't recommend seeing Derren Brown live enough. Like I said, I have watched many of his shows on television, but I often find myself distracted. In the flesh, he is a brilliant performer and his Enigma show will, without doubt, keep you firmly on the edge of your seat.
This is primarily a review of Derren Brown's Enigma show which is in theatres from 2009 to 2010, although it will touch on aspects of his earlier performances.
Derren Brown is a performer who uses 'magic, suggestion, psychology, misdirection and showmanship' to create a fairly unique experience for the viewer.
I have seen all of Derren's shows on DVD and was curious how different the live experience would be. I was expecting at least a few things to go wrong as I assumed that his 'live' DVDs would contain at least a small element of editing. Impressively Derren was flawless on the night and at the time I could not see how any of the tricks were done, despite feeling like I had watched him every second of his act (Derren often comments that these are the easiest people to convince, the ones who watch intently!).
It is worth pointing out at this stage that I will not be going into any detail about the tricks. Derren asks for people not to reveal details of the tricks, to prevent spoiling events for future attendees. This is understandable but it does reveal that the same techniques are used each night and that there is less 'magic' and more 'misdirection' than you would maybe suspect on the night. I felt confident that just by attending for a second night would reveal a lot of the secrets, when you saw similar things being forced to happen. For this reason I am keen to watch the DVD when it is released but wouldn't dream of potentially spoiling the night for others.
What I love about Derren is he has a rare combination of being an exceptional performer and a very talented magician. His acting is as impressive as his tricks and he is able to sell things brilliantly. If you have not seen any of his shows before then you are in for an evening like no other. There is an almost child like fascination in watching him and trying to figure out how he is managing to pull off what seems impossible.
Unfortunately, watching 'Enigma' felt like viewing a lot of his previous shows. There wasn't anything particularly new or unique. As massively impressive as the tricks are, we have seen the majority of them all before in other shows. Things like asking audience members to choose a picture from twenty or so and then reading their directions through a hand placed on his shoulder work well but are based on things he has revealed before. If you have not seen one of his shows before I imagine you would have been blown away. If you have seen other shows I imagine you will love it at the time but on looking back on the following days things will not seem as incredible as they did at the time and some of the methods will start to come to you if you think about it enough. Having said that Derren is on stage for 3 full hours (less a 20 minute interval) so you tend to find your recollections of EXACTLY what happened, and in what order, is not totally reliable. This is something Derren expands on in his book 'Trick of the Mind'. When you, the viewer, retell what happened you tend to forget important details (unintentionally) and the retold events are much more incredible than the actual events.
The show is in two halves. They are fairly even in length although the first contains more trickery with the second being more about spirits and the afterlife, with a finale which reveals where the 'Enigma' name for the show came from. The final part of the show is usually exceptional although this time I found it to be a little over complicated and you had to keep trying to remember how everything came to be where it was. I think it will definitely become clearer on repeat viewings but is maybe too clever for the live audience.
There is no warm up act and Derren is straight on the stage at the advertised time so ensure you are in your seat in plenty of time (7.30pm ish). The show is excellent value for money. Two tickets cost around £73 (including all the additional fees) and as mentioned previously it lasts three hours.
People in the front two rows have a good chance of being selected but anyone in the theatre can be chosen. Derren uses Frisbees to ensure random people are chosen and he is able to find all levels of seats with these Frisbees. Some people have claimed that the people chosen are planted. If you believe Derren can hit multiple people 100 metres away with a Frisbee I would suggest that is more impressive than anything you will see on stage. I am certain that all people chosen were just normal attendees.
Derren does attempt to induce the entire audience into a trance like state in the second half. He is clear that he will be doing this and suggests that anyone who strongly objects, does not return after the interval (no refunds though!). You also have the option of opting out of this part whilst watching the rest of the show (by blocking your ears) so there is nothing to worry about.
The only disappointment for me was when Derren explained how he did one of his tricks. To my mind his explanation seemed very unlikely. I would rather he kept his secrets to himself or revealed genuine methods. Revealing methods which are not genuine just turns me off the act. The best example of this was the ridiculous method he gave for predicting the National Lottery numbers.
I would recommend this show to anyone. Go with an open mind and you will be blown away. I just hope Derren introduces something a bit more original and different for his next live show.
I would be happy to discuss the show on private message with anyone else who has attended but as mentioned above, I won't reveal anything if you have not been.
derren browns tv shows have always been something i have enjoyed, and so when i heard he was coming to my area to perform i decided i really wanted to go and see him.
No one else i knew would go and see him, as they were too worried about what he might do, but i went along on my own and i have to saythat it is the best thing i have ever seen live.
There still is a huge variety of content, and whilst i have the knowledge to know how some things are done, for others i was still left spellbound. Also, i was lucky enough to be one of the people randomly selected from the audience (via frisbee) to be able to go on stage, and that for me was fantastic. i know alot of people wouldn't like that, but it made the evening for me!
cant wait until the next tour!!
I have been fascinated with Derren Brown's remarkable techniques ever since Mind Control was first broadcast on Channel 4 several years ago. He uses a very clever mixture of psychology, sometimes hypnosis, misdirection, showmanship, body language and cold reading. His ability to convince people that he can read their mind by using these techniques is masterful.
His live performances, though they contain significantly less variety, seem to be all the more impressive, though I don't know if I could go and see him live, I don't think I would have the guts. After all, it's not nice to have someone messing with your mind!
Derren's live shows always seem to take the audience by surprise, like the show where they audience were taken to a secret location and didn't know where they were taken. By the end of the show they had all chosen Shepherd's Bush Green, which is exactly where they were! Then there's his amazing ability to take a member of the audience and getting them to hammer a very long nail up his nose completely painlessly and without blood!
On the subject of blood, there's a fantastic routine from 'Something Wicked This Way Comes' Derren very impressively gets two members of the audience to smash up some glass, check it is real, then he walks across it bear-footed after he has just cut off the oxygen supply to his brain! He then proceeds to lie down on top of the glass and gets someone to stand on top of him! After all this, he gets up and pulls the shards of glass from our of his skin, no pain, no blood!
I have never seen him live but I imagine to go to one of his live performances would be very entertaining, compelling, mysterious, eccentrically amusing and possibly a bit strange.
This is actually a review for Derren's "Something Wicked This Way Comes" show, so if it's a bit specific, you'll know why...
*****THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS*****
I've always been a fan of Derren Brown. I'm not sure if just his amazing acts or his wit, or even a mix of the two but whatever it is, I find him and his stunts spectacular. Unfortunately I was unable to see his Live show of 'Something Wicked This Way Comes' so obviously I was excited upon discovering it's arrival to DVD, and boy was my excitement well placed.
The show itself is extremely entertaining. Derren is his usual self from start to finish, not only leaving his audience speechless, but also with a smile on their faces. His inclusion of members of the crowd too adds to his act, with the manner of his choosing of each participant making the act even more baffling.
This would be a good time to say, in case you missed the great big warning above the review that this review may contain spoilers. I lied. This review WILL contain spoilers, so I suggest you may wish to stop reading now if you hate knowing plots, but if not, read on. It'll only make it more spectacular when you see it for yourself...
Derren always announces at the start of each show that his acts feature a range of 'magic, suggestion, psychology, misdirection and showmanship', which obviously make his acts what they are. All misdirection aside I have no idea how he is able to perform some of the displays this show feature.
What makes this particular show excellent, and perhaps different to his televison alternatives, is that it features not only feats of "mental" wonders, but also physical ones. What could this be I hear you ask. Well taking an excellent example of one such tricks is when Derren somehow manages to disconnect the blood flow around his body. He then walks on glass which has not only been checked by members of the audience but also added to by the very same people via the smashing of empty Wine bottles.
That is not to say that his non-physical acts are not equally impressive. Not only does he perform his some of his usual "how the hell did he do that" trickery, but also delves into the world of influence, showing his audience how he was able to achieve such fantastic results. This simply adds to his already impressive level of showmanship and really leaves you feeling that you not only certainly got your moneys worth, but also a sense of how amazing the human mind really is (so a kind of feel good factor right?).
The tricks will leave you amazed
Derren's wit as usual is top class
His audience interaction stamps out any feeling of stooge inclusion
Great Value for money
I wasn't there...
Why can't I do that?
Derren Brown is a performer who aims is to control peoples behaviour, and make them believe the unbelievable. He has an uncanny ability to put ideas into peoples heads, which he combines with classy showmanship. The man is smooth. He has a very successful series on Channel 4, which I have thoroughly enjoyed and a new series, Trick of the Mind starts tonight. In the show he does things like getting people who answer a ringing public phone to fall asleep, and making a London taxi driver unable to find the London Eye! He is also a controversial figure, allegedly having received the most complaints ever about a television programme when he broadcast a séance.
However, I was keen to see him live in action, and so, judging by the size of the audience, were many others: over 1,000 of us squeezed into the Hawth Theatre in Crawley last night to see him do his stuff. After all, when you watch the TV programmes, you do wonder whether it works every time, and even though Derren claims that no stooges or actors are used in the show, there can remain that tiny element of doubt (by old cynics like myself). At £18.50 for a ticket, it wasnt cheap, but the show is a solid 2 hours of entertainment, so I think that it was worth it.
I will give a brief outline of some of the tricks that were performed in the show, but I am not going to reveal everything, especially about the second half, as Derren specifically asked the audience not to reveal certain elements. Suffice to say that he performs some feats which, for insurance purposes, could not be shown on TV, and which the title of this review refers to! Not for the squeamish, and definitely not, as the flyers and posters for the show indicate, suitable for children aged under 12. Personally, I would say the show is not suitable for children at all.
The show opened with a spotlight trained on a large card in the centre of the stage, marked with a question mark. Derren came on and picked a member of the audience by throwing a toy monkey out into the audience, which was then thrown onwards twice. This lady was asked to think of an animal, and invited on stage. When the card was turned over, it revealed a ridiculous sketch of the most non-descript animal ever. We all laughed, and Derren had us. We liked him.
Of course, the animal that she had chosen (a rabbit) turned out to have been predicted in another way.
Then Derren did a segment with five members of the audience, who were asked to pull a small ball out of a bag, without showing it to anyone. Four of the balls were white, and one was black. Derren instructions were that the person with the black ball should answer the truth to a simple question that he would ask; the others should lie. He easily distinguished the truth teller from the liars, who were despatched back to their seats one by one. In fact one man didnt even get to say anything, which was quite amusing he simply looked guilty and Derren asked him to hand over his white ball!
Before the audience members came on stage, Derren had asked the whole audience to think of the surname of the first person that they had a crush on. After he had correctly identified the truth-teller, he kept the final liar on stage. He suddenly touched and spoke to this young man, who disconcertingly slumped to the floor in a trance-like state. Without the man saying anything, Derren wrote a name on a large card; he then woke the man and asked him to announce the name he had been thinking of. Derren had guessed it correctly.
The show continued in a similar vein, with ever more seemingly amazing predictions, including the grand finale, which I wont spoil but seems impossible. There are also physical feats, which I have touched on above (nice work if you can get it or not). The really interesting part of the show, for me, was that at the end he revealed how he achieved the grand finale, by showing you a film of clips of the show, pointing out where he was suggesting things to the audience. Fascinating, and very clever.
There were only a couple of small elements of some of the tricks in the show that didnt quite work on the night, and over all, his performance was staggeringly convincing. The thing that I particularly like though about Derren Brown is that he is not a fraud. He describes his craft as a mixture of magic, suggestion, psychology, misdirection and showmanship, and he is remarkably upfront about the techniques he uses to achieve his aims. You can read more about these on his website, http://www.derrenbrown.co.uk/ or the Channel 4 website, http://www.channel4.com/entertainment/tv/microsites/M/mindcontrol/. He clearly dislikes people who claim to be physic. In fact, much of what he does aims to reproduce the things that physics and spiritualists do except that he tells you its a trick.
All in all, Derren Brown comes across as a charming man, who performs some amazing feats in this show great fun, great entertainment (with a few uncomfortable spots) and well worth seeing.
Derren Brown Live
Ever since I was little, when I first saw Derren Brown appear on television, I was astounded. I had always been interested in magic, but this mixture of magic, psychology, and mind control was something very new and revolutionary.
If I asked you to think of the first vegetable that came into your mind - you would say what? Carrot? - That is the most likely response and is a very "in a nutshell" idea to how he performs a lot of his tricks.
I used to be interested in card magic, and coin magic etc. However when I watched him on television it made me more interested in psychology and the idea of being able to influence people into thinking certain things and influencing people to be in certain state that they could not control. I immediately wondered how he did all of these "tricks".
Being only 18 at the time, when I found out that he was performing a live act very near me, I just had to go and see it all myself. Derren Brown is the sort of person that performs tricks which make you say "I will only believe if I see it."
Well, after seeing the show, I did believe it. This "psychological illusionist" performed many, many different tricks which all were a huge success with the audience. The show was made of two parts, the second we were told not to talk about with anybody else, so respecting his wishes I will not mention what it was he did in the second part, although I will tell you it was similar to one of the special programmes he made in the past couple of years.
The first part however, I am allowed to tell you about. We started off in an auditorium where the atmosphere was beaming with excitement, everybody wondering what was going to happen. Derren appeared in a godlike state, his voice bellowing out of the speakers on the stage. The act was to begin.
He could see everybody on the stage, but nobody could see him. Fairly soon he called up one member of the audience and asked them onto stage. On the stage there were three shapes written on flip chart paper. One is a square, one was a circle, the other was a triangle. Basically, he asked the man to select a shape. On the stage as well there was an envelope, and sure enough the audience member picked the shape that was revealed in the envelope. That was the beginning of a very entertaining three hours.
Whilst watching the show, we were strictly told that we were not allowed to take any cameras, dictaphones, or any other recording or photo equipment. Apparently, there are a lot of hidden cues in the show, so when you play it back you may be able to pick up our Derren gets to influence the people.
Here are a few examples of the sort of tricks that Derren did (although, after reading a couple of other people's reviews, it seems that his material changes depending on where he is):
One of the first tricks he did, was to select someone from the audience, and asked them to think of an object, something which was not particularly common. The aim was that Derren was to be able to pick out what the man was thinking of and draw it on a piece of paper, which the man was also doing. The man was thinking of a bomb. Did Derren get it right? Well, is the Pope Catholic?!
Another trick he did was about hypnosis. He got a participant on the stage, and did very comedic things with the man, like whenever he said a certain word the man would not be able to move his left leg or something along that line. He also got the man to sit on a chair and make the man not be able to get his rear off the seat which was hilarious to watch.
Let us get a couple of things straight, the people he does choose to take part in the show are NOT stooges - they are genuine members of the public and their reactions to the show is amazing.
Derren uses areas from suggestion, psychology, hypnosis, and bare old comedy to acheive many of his effects. He participates with the audience a lot too - and don't think because you are near the back or on the balconies that you won't be chosen for a participation!
I personally think that you have to be a certain sort of person for Derren to influence. You need to be willing to take part, open to suggestion, and easily influenced. In one of his things he asked the whole audience to participate in an experiment, where everyone has a coin in their hand, and they have to choose which hand it's in and sit down if it was a specific one etc etc etc..... so this is one example I think of how he chooses his participants.
The show is extremely entertaining, runs for about 3 hours, with a break in between, and costs very little in comparison to his private shows, this show cost me £14 per person which I think was a very good deal.
A couple of other reviews said he signed programmes after the show, he didn't with us, but maybe I missed that :(
He is doing another UK tour this year!!! So put your jacket on and go to one of the most entertaining evenings you will ever encounter! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!!!
I'm a big fan of Derren Brown's TV shows, and couldn't resist the temptation of buying a ticket to his show at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall in June. I was going with two friends, one of them a big Derren fan, like me, and the other being rather disinterested in him but coming along for the night out, nevertheless. We arrived at the concert hall in plenty of time and we were soon ushered in to take our seats. We found ourselves three rows from the front, and I was sitting at the aisle seat. I started mildy panicking that I might have to participate and the atmospheric music playing over the speakers which sounded like it was from the chase scene in a horror movie didn't help to calm my nerves particularly well! The clock ticked on and finally a voice appeared, godlike, over the speakers. Of course, all the audience recognised it as Derren's and started to go wild. Almost immediately, he explained that audience participation would be necessary and called someone from the front row up on stage. She was asked to pick up a piece of paper and throw it out into the audience to provide Derren with another willing 'volunteer', who was then asked to pick one from a selection of three coloured shapes pinned to a blackboard on a stage. They picked one, and of course Derren told them to pick up a sealed envelope lying on the stage and their guess was already writting (correctly) inside it. Then he came to the stage and ordered everyone to stand up and take a pound coin in their hands behind their back. We were then all instructed to pick a hand to put it in, and he announced from the stage whether the left-handers or the right-handers had to sit down. To my dismay, I was one of the ones left still standing. Then we'd to do it again. I was left standing again. I decided that I would sit down on his next attempt, no matter what, but at that he jumped down from the stage and started perusing those left standing in order t
o drag some other poor soul onto the stage. I stared at my feet and concentrated on trying to get myself to melt into the hardwood flooring as he edged up beside me. He stopped at me and it felt like an eternity until he moved on up the hall. My friends kept mouthing, "You should've looked at him instead of staring at your feet and he might have picked you!" I was relieved to sit down at that point. In retrospect, though, it would've been cool to get to go up on the stage. After this point he picked volunteers randomly by throwing frisbees or balls of paper, and often getting the audience members who caught them to throw them again etc. so people couldn't accuse him of having stooges in the audience. We all watched in awe as Derren stole people's watches without them realising, confused people into losing bets with him, hypnotised men to fall asleep and then mentally 'throw' a number across to another volunteer at the other end of the stage who used automatic writing to write it down, recited off people's phone numbers that he'd memorised from the phone book. All of this, of course, was steeped in Derren's endearing cockiness and wit. The second half was significantly darker and featured a seance not unlike the one he performed on channel 4 recently, but of course, when you're actually sitting in a dark hall full of people with Derren leading you all along from the stage like some sort of unholy conductor, it is far more frightening and engaging! His grand finale was a magnificent magic square that got us all of our seats and he walked out to a rousing standing ovation. After the show it was announced that he'd be signing programmes and merchandise at the foyer. Unfortunately there had been a problem with the merchandise and the stall hadn't been before the show, so it was being prepared as we all made a queue to meet the man. There was a lot of confusion as no one
seemed to know where Derren was going to sign, and then he came out and settled down next to the merchandise stall, so people were hopping out of the merchandise queue into the signing queue and people were getting annoyed. My friends and I were reluctant to stay, but decided to get a programme and see how fast the queue moved. The queue initially moved at a great speed, but slowed down as we got closer to Derren. Still, we decided we may as well stay now. I was feeling a bit fanatical and sad, and didn't really want to go and ask for an autograph, but decided to stay anyway. By the time we got up to him he must have signed at least 200 programmes and been detained for at least an hour after his show, but he was really polite and nice. When he said that he liked my t-shirt, I just had to red and giggly like a hormonal schoolgirl stuck in a lift with Justin Timberlake. I guess *ahem* he just has that effect on females! We left a very happy trio. Even the friend who hadn't been a fan of him left in awe of the man. So a few weeks later when I informed a friend down in London that I'd been to see him, she went off her rocker. She was desperate to go see him, and since I was going to be visiting her down in London anyway, she asked if I would come down a month or so earlier than I'd planned and go see Derren perform down there, too. I agreed without putting up much of a fight, I can assure you! However, I was ultimately a bit disappointed. Glasgow Royal Concert Hall is one of my all time favourite venues and I would find it hard to beat at the best of times. The Palace Theatre in London seemed a little shabby and cramp to me, and we were in the first balcony, so the seats weren't as good as before. Obviously, I knew what was coming next and what jokes he was going to make, so it wasn't as magical a show for me as Glasgow was, but I did take the opportunity to buy a T-shirt at the London show. There was no announcements
of him signing anything made, but I wouldn't have waited for his autograph again, anyway, as I'm sure the poor bloke is probably going to develop Carpal Tunnel Syndrome from all the signing he's doing before he turns 40, anyway, without people greedily wanting two signatures! Heehee. All in all, I was not disappointed with Derren's shows, and would recommend them to anyone. The ticket prices in Glasgow ranged, I believe, between £15 and £17, while our London tickets were £25, while the stalls were £30. The merchandise was very fairly priced, too. My T-shirt only cost £10, and the programme was under a fiver. They were also selling Derren's DVD and VHS for reasonable prices, too. Unfortunately, Derren's tour is over for this year, but I believe that another is planned for September 2005.
Derren Brown as most of you probably know, is a mind control illusionist. He has regular series on Channel 4 that is due to return to our screens later this month, and is also well known for the Russion Roulette show. Well he's on tour again! I went to see him at the Congress Theatre in Eastbourne on Good Friday. The show started at 7.30pm, and there was no warm up act, which I thought was really good, because you're not paying to see a warm up. The first half was very similar to what you see him do on the TV. It kicked off with a person being randomly selected from the audience with the aid of chucking a ball of paper about. This person then had to choose a coloured shape off the board at the back of the stage. The bloke then went and opened an envelope that stated the prediction Derren had made as to what choice would be made by the audience member - and it was bang on! Then the whole audience had to stand up and find a pound coin. This was then hidden in your handand Derren predicted what hand it was in. If he got it right, you were out of the game and had to sit down. I was still in. Then we did it again and I was still in the game! Derren then came out into the audience to pick someone. As I was in the front row, I was a bit nervous, but he walked straight past me! He spoke to another bloke and then came back and grabbed me to go on stage! I did the same thing with him on the stage. He promised me £50 if he got it wrong once! Needless to say, despite trying my best, his cash was safe! So he gave me the opportunity to win £500. All I had to do was pick the correct envelope out of two. One had the cheque in it, the other had a picture of his pet parrot. I chose one and was given another eenvelope to return to my seat with. I wasn't allowed to open it yet and was given the rest of the first half to make up my mind on what envelope to choose. I won't reveal what else went on in the first half
because I don't want to spoil it for anyone! But at the end of it, I was called back on stage again to make my final decision. And I won...the parrot picture!!! I was really good fun being invovled like that, but quite nerve racking! The second half I'm afraid is strictly confidential. No I'm sorry I can't tell you. We were all sworn to secretcy so if you want to find out then you'll have to go see him! After The Show Derren Brown, unlike some celebs, makes an effort to come out and sign stuff. Instead of the usual you queue up and go to the celebrity, he comes to you. We waited for nearly an hour before he reached us, and there were still loads of people behind us, but he was determined so meet everyone. Of course I got him to sign the parrot piccie, and he thanked me for being "excellent"on stage. He also signed our tickets for us. This freaked me a bit because he signed the ticket for the seat I was in to me, and the seat my boyfriend was in to him! Odd. We didn't give them to him in a particular order or tell him whose was whose! Him in General He comes across as really nice genuine bloke. Fame realy hasn't gone to his head, which is always a plus in my bloke. He was really grateful to everyone who went to see the show and looked a bit taken back by the number of people waitng to meet him. On a personal note girlies, I got four kisses from him! It's All fake Isn't It? Take it from me, I went on the stage! There is no set ups there. There's no way anything could've been planned. There are no mirrors, monitors or ear pieces anywhere about the place. It's just him and his talents. Worth the Money? Definitely! The tickets really aren't that expensive, I think ours were about £15. Considering it's a two hour show all from one person, I think this is well worth it! There's no stopping once the show gets g
oing. My Advice It does say on his website that the show isn't suitable for under twelves so bare that in mind. Book early. His shows fill up first, so if you want to be near the front like we were get in as soon as you here he's coming to town. Go with an open mind. If you go thinking "it's all fake" then where's te point in going? You're going out to have fun so just enjoy it! Over All It really is a good night out. I can't emphasise that enough! You will be in histerics, and have your mind blown! I'm still strying to work out some of the things I saw, but that's half the fun! So if you're looking to experience something different, this one is for you!
**First off, although this category is for Derren Brown Live, it shows the date of the performance in Barnstable. I would like to point out that this is a nationwide tour. I saw exactly the same show as the one mentioned inthe category overview, but rather it was performed In Newcastle's Tyne Theatre on April 15th.** Hands up anyone who has been in on Friday evenings over the past few weeks. Were any of you watching Channel Four post-"Friends" by any chance? Well, if you were, the chances are you saw a programme called Derren Brown: Mind Control. For those of you who didn't, you may well have caught one of the three original Mind Control shows that were broadcast between 1999 and 2001 (and there is a fairly good chance you did, as they rated in the top ten most viewed shows of C4 in the months they were aired). If you have seen one of these shows, I'll bet you will understand why I was so excited to find out that Derren's spring tour was coming to Newcastle. And why it was a capacity audience. If you didn't, then let me explain what all this fuss is about. Derren Brown has an act quite unlike anything else around. He started his career as a magician, but then began to follow his interests in how people think and behave to develop a new kind of entertainment - I suppose the nearest description to it you can get is that he is a psychological illusionist. As he himself says: "I slowly left behind the props and sleight-of-hand to work with the psychological techniques that are the real stuff of magic. I have to learn people's patterns, step inside their heads. Then I can play." The result is something extraordinary; compulsive viewing in a way that conventional Paul Daniels magic never quite managed for me. - A Magical Mystery Tour As a big fan of the Mind Control shows that Derren had produced for C4, I was eager to see the act live - everything we see on TV has an air of unrealit
y about it, and it is only when you see this sort thing performed right in front of your eyes that you can fully appreciate it. BF had also become hooked on the shows, so it was no effort at all to persuade him to some to the Tyne Theatre with me last night. We were both so excited to see how this sort of magic appears in the flesh that we were like a couple of school kids (but so was everyone else)! So what do you actually get for your money? Well, as Derren says at the start of his show, no two are exactly the same. Rather, he tailors what will happen according the audience and the type of subjects he is working with - and he does say that things won't work 100% of the time. But this, of course, is part of the charm of seeing it live, as you know that the bits that didn't quite turn out right can't be edited out. He also tells us that nothing we see in the show is down to ESP or any psychic powers; there are no stooges and no actors used. Everything is down to the techniques Derren has developed for knowing us better than we know ourselves. To start with, Derren has a simple trick for us. A board with three coloured shapes is on the stage. A member of the audience is asked to pick one of the shapes and write it down. The chosen shape is then compared to a prediction in a sealed envelope that has been on stage all along. And guess what? That's right, the prediction matches the shape the man from the audience chose. This is course not magic - it is simply that tests have shown that a large majority of us will choose that shape above the others. The audience of course realise that, but it forms a lovely introduction for what is to come... ...such as people apparently having their minds read. Derren brings people up on stage, and within minutes can tell us in amazing detail about that person, as if he had indeed just gone into their mind and started to pull out random facts. I mean, we could all look at a guy
with a band tour t-shirt on and be able to say that he likes music, but how many of us could look at that stranger and be able to say that his grandfather's name was Cyril? And be correct? Derren does this through closely observing body language, dress, the way the subject acts and other minute visual clues - it is like Sherlock Holmes amplified to the nth degree. Not satisfied with this, Derren also has a quite astounding feat of memory to perform. Before the show, he set about memorising the phonebook for North Tyneside. No, seriously! Any member of the audience who was listed in it could volunteer their name (as it appears in the book) and the number of their house, and Derren would be able to produce their phone number. And their street name. And the page number of the phonebook the number appeared on. And the phone numbers directly above and below it. And be correct every time. The way you do this is to use visualisation and attach symbols (which you can remember more easily than a random number) to each of the digits you need to memorise; when you want to recall the number, the visual scene you have created will act as a prompt. I have used this technique for remembering dates for exams, but to do it on this scale is simply staggering! As for the second half of the show, well I can't venture into that, I'm afraid. In Mousetrap style, Derren asks the audience not to reveal anything of what happens, as it will spoil things for anyone who subsequently goes to see the performance. All I will say is that it is even more astounding than the first half, and got a standing ovation. If you want to find out what it was, you will have to see the show for yourself. ;-) - It may be real, but is it reality? What a night - it lived up the all the expectations I had and was a thoroughly enjoyable couple of hours. Derren is not only an excellent magician, but is also an accomplished performer and manages the audie
nce very well indeed. He doesn't take things too seriously, and therefore is a very funny man to watch - when things don't quite work out, his charm and audacious confidence get him past what could have been an embarrassing point (and he often ends up looking all the better for it anyway). He is obviously a very intelligent man, but uses this to be witty rather than condescending. The show was a pleasure to watch from beginning to end. For this to be a proper review though, I suppose I have to try and be a bit more balanced and objective and consider the negative points of this show too. Well, I have sat here for a while trying to think of them, but all I keep getting is the image of a desert with tumbleweed drifting across. I cannot fault the show, but in the name of balanced reviewing, I will say that I wish there were more performance venues on his tour so more of you could go and see it. Will that do you as a disadvantage? Overall, the best thing I have been to a theatre for in years. It was, well, magic. Highly recommended to anyone with an interest in psychology, human behaviour or magic - or who just wants a different night out. - Welcome to the cheap seats... Derren Brown live lasts around 2 hours, plus intermission. A full list of the spring tour (which lasts until early June) can be found at: http://www.derrenbrown.co.uk/tour.asp. Your ticket price will of course depend on the theatre and the seats you are in - but as a guide, my seat in the amphitheatre (the highest circle, the cheapest seats) cost £11.50. If you do want to see the show, remember to book early as the shows tend to sell out pretty fast - and that it is unsuitable for under 12s. Oh, and if you don't like audience participation, don't sit in the stalls! You can read about the techniques behind Derren Brown's act at: www.channel4.com/science/microsites/M/mindcontrol/index.html Derr
en's personal website can be found at: www.derrenbrown.co.uk
This is a review of Derren Brown: Live which I watched at the Queen’s Theatre in Barnstaple on April 4th 2003. The show is touring the country for the next few months and I think almost all the tickets are now sold out. This review is not for people who want everything in the show to be a surprise so if you are going to see it and don’t want to know what will happen then stop reading! Some areas will be vague as the audience was asked not to reveal information about the second half of the show! Introduction Derren Brown is unbelievably cool. You may not have heard of him (where have you been?) so I will give you a brief introduction. Derren Brown uses “psychological magic” – no pulling rabbits out of hats for this guy! He does not claim to be psychic, just that he can get inside people’s heads. If you have seen any of his shows on Channel 4 then you will know what he does – he can guess what people are thinking, influence their behaviour without them realising and basically do really cool stuff! In the TV show he experiments on the public a lot – he tells people their pin numbers just by getting them to think about them, he convinces a bookie to pay out on a losing ticket, wins a lot of money at blackjack and acts as a human lie detector. Very cool. The Show I paid £11.50 for my ticket as I am a student so I saved a whole £1 off the normal cost! Wow! I booked early and got a seat in the middle of the second row. There is a lot of audience participation and I admit I was hoping to be picked (alas I was not). The show started at 7.45pm with the theatre sold out – all 693 seats were full. It kicked off with Derren’s disembodied voice getting a member of the audience to go on stage and get a ball of paper. This was then thrown around from person to person to pick a random “volunteer”. They then had to choose one of three shapes on an easel on stage. The ball of p
aper was then opened to reveal some writing – saying that the person who was reading it would be a tall, young woman who would have chosen the red circle. All correct! With the accompanying applause Derren appeared on stage. After this the whole audience took part with everyone holding a £1 coin behind their backs. They then had to choose one hand to hold it in. Most chose the hand Derren was encouraging them to with subtle gestures (including me) and had to sit down. This was repeated with the remaining people to get those who were “challengers”, one of whom was picked to go on stage. Derren then bet £50 that he could guess the hand it was in four times in a row. And he did. I swear the man has never lost a bet in his life. He then placed a £500 cheque in one envelope and a picture of his pet parrot Figaro in the other, getting the volunteer to guess which envelope the money was in. The envelopes were then placed one on each end of the stage until the end of the first half. Throughout Derren kept making blatant attempts to get the volunteer, who had returned to the audience, to change her mind and pick the envelope on the right. She stuck with the one on the left (as supposedly everyone always does) and ended up with the parrot. Tricky man – bluff, double bluff and triple bluff. Don’t trust him for one minute! One of the best parts of the first half was the phone numbers. Derren told us that he had memorised the names and addresses of the people in the audience and cross-referenced them in the phone book. This is plausible – he memorises the cards during a game using mnemonics so he can predict which will come up next. Given a name and house number he could tell you your phone number. Picking people at random (this time by throwing a soft toy cat) he tried this. He had some trouble with the first few but did tell people their phone numbers, an audience member checking in the book on stage. He then announced
he h ad been lying. He had not cross-referenced the audience – that would be impractical. He had instead memorised the entire local phone book. OK he’s crazy. But he had – another random person was picked. He then told them the page number, name in the top corner of the page, name and number of the entries directly above and below them and their phone number. Now that is good. Also in the first half he got an audience member to draw a picture, and then drew exactly the same thing (an elephant) just by looking at the person. He also got a woman to think of the surname of a friend from childhood and then told her what it was without her saying anything. Then two people were “semi-hypnotised” – put in a relaxed and suggestive state. They then did what the other person did – raising and lowering their hands, and feeling the same things. When one person’s hand was touched the other one felt it. Creepy. The second half is darker, and different. I cannot say what happens but parts of it are quite scary and the whole shows builds up to one climax at the end. It will make you think. Derren is really great at managing an audience. He says that some things will go wrong, or not work but that is because it is live and everyone he works with is different. He also jokes through the whole show – he says the people who are difficult to work with are psychologically “wonky”, bordering on the sociopathic even. When a girl who was picked to take part seemed quite nervous, he asked if she was a fan. When she said yes he asked if she would like to stroke his goatee! (She did) When gambling with the £50 he says he doesn’t normally bet with his whole night’s fee. He is really funny and wasn’t afraid to joke when things weren’t going right. I personally think that he deliberately made some things seem harder to add tension – and it worked. He did genuinely seem very please
d when something went really well. I think it was the best show I have ever been to and I wish it wasn’t a “one night only” performance. Once you know what it’s building to you might watch it differently. I confess that I was one of the twenty or so people who hung around by the stage door for 20 minutes to get his autograph when they came out. He seemed really nice about it and was happy to sign everyone’s programmes – I got him to sign my ticket and do a little sketch of himself on it. He does portraits of people in a crazy caricature style that I think is really cool. If you have a chance to see this show then I recommend it highly. In October he is supposed to be doing some live TV shows and a real life Russian Roulette with a member of the public. Rather him than me but I expect he will manage it. He is nice and yet very scary – but in a good way. To learn more here are some websites. www.derrenbrown.co.uk His official site. Includes his crazy portraits. http://www.channel4.co.uk/science/microsites/M/mindcontrol/index.html The official Mind Control site from Channel 4. Contains information on how he does it and interactive tests. http://www.derrenbrown.150m.com http://www.derrenbrownfans.bravepages.com/index.htm Some fan sites that were listed on the official site – obsessive-compulsive fans!