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Derren Brown: Secret

Review by Tulis McCall
May 18, 2017

Sworn to Secrecy. Zip it. No loose lips here. Fuggedaboudit. No way no how. No beans bein' spilled here about Derren Brown: Secret.

But I will tell you this. If you like your brains scrambled, or over easy, or poached or any way other than the way you usually carry them around, Derren Brown is the fella for you. This one is a Jeeze Louise of the Highest Order.

Apparently this bloke is quite famous across the pond, entertaining people by the boat load or should I say stadium load. His upcoming summer tour of the UK gives the impression that his feet never quite touch the ground. After seeing his performance-what-you-will I can believe that he would easily skim the earth's surface on his travels.

Brown is first and foremost a story teller. Along with his co-writers Andy Nyman and Andrew O'Connor, he has created a compelling narrative. Life is about choices. What we choose to do, to say, to remember. And to believe. For instance he tells us that he does not believe he is a psychic. That he reserves for the charlatans back in the 1930's who made a living exploiting people. He will not exploit anyone he tells us. He doesn't have to. All he has to do is slip a mickey in the air shafts and we are hooked. His narrative is smooth and convincing. Connect the dots and see what story we create. It is our stories that shape our lives, he tells us. Brown is in the business of dismantling them.

With a smile, white tie and tails. Or is that tales?

There are audience volunteers - all treated with grace and kindness. And there are the people who do not volunteer but who, by virtue of being in the room, are fair game. And treated with the same grace. "You are safe in my hands," he seems to be telling us as he opens our craniums and peers inside.

I attended this show with a Brit who has seen Brown several times on television. According to him, this live event is superior. Indeed. There is a heightened vibration in the room from the minute the lights come up on Brown. Something is afoot and Derren Brown is the only one who knows what it is. Oh, you can try and get ahead of him (I sure did) but in that case you only end up lagging behind while you focus on one moment. Eventually you must release your grip on your own perceived reality and let slip the dogs of beyond the beyond.

Brown is a living Rubik's Cube. He is the pied piper of possibility. He takes the magic that is theatre and kicks it into the stratosphere while you are watching and pulls an entire zoo out of his hat. Go see this show so that you, like I, will spend the next few days slapping your forehead and exclaiming, "NO WAY!!!"

(Tulis McCall)

"The title "Derren Brown: Secret," the enthrallingly baffling one-mentalist show that opened on Tuesday at the Atlantic Theater Company's Linda Gross Theater, turns out to have so many meanings that you soon stop counting."
Ben Brantley for New York Times

"There are two kinds of people at a magic show: Those who like to be tricked, and those who fancy themselves untrickable. Wherever you land on this spectrum, it will be hard not to be at least a bit bowled over by Secret, the latest from "psychological magician" Derren Brown."
Jenna Scherer for Time Out New York

External links to full reviews from popular press...

New York Times - Time Out

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