Admittedly, I am a bit of a magic snob. My very first theater show growing up was seeing David Copperfield at the Fabulous Fox Theater in Atlanta when I was five-years-old. Ever since, I have become slightly obsessed. I’ve seen Copperfield perform live over 15 times, gotten the chance to experience Penn & Teller’s act on several occasions and have been to the Magic Castle in Los Angeles a handful of times. Nothing… and I mean nothing… compares to seeing Derren Brown perform live. I was one of the lucky few who got a chance to see his show Secret in New York City on April 21, 2017 – opening night.
If you’re unfamiliar with Derren Brown, you’re not alone. Secret is the first show he has ever brought to the United States and his television presence here has been virtually non-existent. However, if you’re from the United Kingdom, you know him from various television specials, live shows and even his own theme park ride at Thorpe Park.
Due to a verbal contract Derren makes with the audience, I can’t go into specifics on what exactly happens during Secret. What I can tell you is that Brown doesn’t do any card tricks, anything involving animals or illusions of any kind. Instead you will see acts of mentalism that defy logic and explanation.
It’s as if Brown freezes time, jumps down into the brain of whomever he is reading, slices open your skull, plucks out random bits of information (that perhaps you may not even know about yourself) from your brain and reattaches it all without his audience being the wiser.
As a performer, Derren Brown is intense. His patter is hypnotic, witty and seemingly effortless. You look into his eyes and believe every word that flows from his jaws regardless of how meaningless it may be. Even though Brown has been doing mentalism routines for over 15 years, you’d think Secret was his first show. Never taking a routine, a single syllable and, most importantly, the audience for granted. This is, without question, what I love most about Derren Brown’s Secret.
Why should you go and see Secret? Simply put: human emotions. Look, if you’ve seen magic routines before, you’ve likely been amazed at objects disappearing, card tricks or someone’s slight of hand skills. Derren Brown’s Secret is different in that it connects with the audience in a very personal and emotional way. In all of my years attending live magic performances, I’ve never seen members of an audience not only gasp in amazement and double over in laughter, but also burst into genuine tears of sorrow and even stunned silence.
It’s one thing to see it on television, but to experience it live and feel people around you change their emotional state and thus those emotions flow through you as well is something that transcends a traditional magic show. It becomes a part of you. A memory that you’ll hold on to for life. Speaking on behalf of the audience of 200 people on opening night of Secret, we are never going to forget what it was like seeing Brown perform live in the United States for the first time. And neither will he.
To try and snag the remaining tickets to Derren Brown’s Secret, follow this link. Oh… and Derren… if you’re reading this, if you’d be interested in doing an interview about your Ghost Train, drop a brother a line! I’d love to learn more. (For the record, he told me after the show that the ride was actually “much better” this year. Ha!)
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Images Copyright: Theme Park University, Derren Brown