BWW Review: Derren Brown Doesn't Want Me To Tell You Anything About DERREN BROWN: SECRET
"Please don't mention specifically anything that happens in the show," the star of Derren Brown: Secret requests of his audience about twenty minutes into his performance.
And since the performance this reviewer attended was naturally a press night, he made special mention of the theatre journalists in the audience, asking them not to reveal anything.
So, as a reviewer who regards himself as a supporter of theatre artists, I won't get into specifics about the experiments he performs with audience volunteers. I won't even reveal anything about Glenda Jackson in the gorilla costume.
What I will say is that it's very enjoyable evening with a very personable and wry-humored performer based around the notion that someone skilled in the power of suggestion can use vocal inflections, word usage and flat-out distraction to influence behavior. One can also use powers of observation to notice clues that can strongly suggest what someone is thinking.
After a full audience demonstration that begins with everyone standing and his ability to calculate behavior gradually seating almost everyone, his audience volunteers for rest of the show are mostly determined by whomever catches the Frisbee-like discs he tosses into the house.
During the various demonstrations, which involve video, art and seemingly unpredictable interactions, Brown often explains his thought process, emphasizing that there's no pretense of magic or mindreading involved. The clues to how everything is done might be found by studying the production's script, which he co-authored with directors Andy Nyman and Andrew O'Connor, to determine what is actually said and what audience member might presume to have been said.
Of course, I'm most likely totally off based in my suspicions of how he accomplishes incredible feats of mind manipulation. And overthinking will probably get in the way of the total delight of how his grand finale pieces together clues that have been dropped throughout the performance, resulting in a jaw-dropping conclusion that, by all that's reasonable, should never have occurred.
But I'll keep that a secret.