Derren Brown: Secret

By Tulis McCall

Derren Brown; Photo by Ahron R. Foster

Sworn to Secrecy.  Zip it.  No loose lips here.  Fuggedaboudit.  No way no how.  No beans been’ 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 he 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!!!”

Derren Brown’s Secret, written by Andy Nyman, Derren Brown and Andrew O’Connor, and directed by Andrew O’Connor and Andy Nyman.

Atlantic Theater Company (Neil Pepe, Artistic Director; Jeffory Lawson, Managing Director). For a limited engagement through Sunday, June 25, 2017 off-Broadway at Atlantic Theater Company’s Linda Gross Theater.336 West 20th Street Tickets



Tulis McCall

Author: Tulis McCall

For my money, the theatre is up there in the ten top reasons to be human. I leave my home and go sit in a dark room with complete strangers and watch actors do their stuff because I want to be inspired. I’m asking to be involved. I’m volunteering to be led down any old path they choose as long as they don’t let go of my hand. And if I see a show, and it is NOT so very good – I will try to divert you, because I don’t want you to come to the temple when the preaching isn’t up to snuff. I will bar the door, I will swing from rafters, I will yell FIRE just to set your feet on a path that does not lead to disappointment. Do something different with your evening I will say. Save your money for dinner with a friend you haven’t seen in months because you are too frigging busy. Go take a walk with your dog or your child or your significant other. Go to bed early, I will say. Don’t come to the theatre when it is less than it can be. I’m an usher snob, and that’s all there is to it.

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