Walking out of the theatre it dawns on me – I just saw the most incredible performance! The feelings of elation, wonder and bewilderment are overwhelming, but then I start to question; did I just see something incredible? Or, is that is that just part of the lie?
Thus begins the somewhat unsettling and confronting processes of attempting to make sense of a Derren Brown performance, and frankly, I have to admit – I’m not sure of anything anymore!
A true magician never reveals his secrets and Derren Brown Underground is all about secrets, so to quote Tolkien, I’ll “keep it secret, keep it safe”. What I can tell you is that you’ll be hard pressed to find any performance that is as engaging, captivating and mentally challenging as Brown’s show.
For those not familiar with the concept of psychological magic, it’s exactly as it sounds; a combination of misdirection and illusion, married with psychology. As an audience member there is an alarming realisation that, despite all intentions, you will not be a passive spectator. The audience are an intrinsic element of Brown’s work and even those who are not directly involved on stage will still find themselves the subject of psychological manipulation. My advice, don’t fight it… resistance is futile!
Without giving anything away, there’s one particular challenge involving a piece of fruit. Being somewhat stubborn I promised myself I would maintain my focus and catch him out – how hard could it be? But after two failed attempts, I found myself following the rest of the audience ‘down the rabbit hole’ and straight into Brown’s hands. Disappointing for my personal sense of autonomy, but testament to the skill and superb prowess of the man on stage.
Tricks and ‘acts’ aside, Brown is the ultimate showman. Charismatic, charming and dangerously compelling, it seems a dichotomy to say that a trickster is incredibly real, but perhaps this is the key to his success. Openly honest about his penchant for dishonesty, it’s confronting that you find yourself so eager to trust him; but again, I remind you, he’s an incomparable artist!
It’s a tall order to capture the experience of seeing Derren Brown live within a single review. One thing I can tell you, is that the experience doesn’t end when you leave the theatre and is almost impossible to forget. The show is riveting from start to finish, but if your sense of free will and autonomy is something you value greatly, perhaps this isn’t quite the show for you…
That said, you should go –
And when you do go, prepare yourself for what’s at the bottom of the rabbit hole –
And keep your cards close!
Review by Cassandra Griffin
Derren Brown: Underground hits the West End for a strictly limited 35 performances only!
The multi-award winning master of mind-control and psychological illusion, Derren Brown, returns to London following his sell-out run earlier this year.
Bringing together a collection of the very best of his previous stage work, Derren Brown: Underground promises a spell-binding experience of magical genius and epic showmanship.
DERREN BROWN: UNDERGROUND
Booking period: Monday 11th September – Saturday 14th October 2017