Review – Derren Brown: Secret

Derren Brown is many things, but foremost in his current show at the Cort Theatre is a consummate entertainer. His easy, warm and confident manner comfortably holds the audience in his sway for the entire evening. He can be called a mind reader, mentalist or “psychological illusionist” but at heart he is a magician.

Each magician creates his own persona as part of his act and Derren’s is of a friend who will show you a few things he’s been working on and leave you smiling at the end. He doesn’t pretend to have special mystical powers but also is much quieter and personal than acts like Penn and Teller who sometimes rubs their skills in your face. A performance with Mr. Brown leaves you more refreshed and vital than when you come in.

He’ll tell you that much of what he does is simply respond to the subtle cues we all give out to suss out the astounding amount of intimate detail he is able to wring from his audience, but it is much more than that.

I have noted in previous reviews that if one owns a Tarbell Course in Magic series, you can often understand the illusions, even with the fancied modern day dressing. That is true here as well as there are several well turned presentations that are cleverly concealed.

But he also thrills with some astounding apparent clairvoyance that is quite mind-boggling. You’ll notice I choose not to specify his illusions or results because I want to preserve the “secrets” for you to observe first hand. And the final secret will blow away those not familiar with magic processes. The show runs through January 4 and I encourage you to get a ticket (but don’t bring anyone under 18). There are some secrets here you may not want to share with youngsters!

As always you can find more at and on Twitter @walterthinnes

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