While reviewing a Derren Brown show is no simple task as the mind-boggling illusions must remain a ‘closely guarded secret’, I can tell you that the word ‘baffled’ slipped out of my mouth many times during and after his phenomenal performance.

I entered The Alhambra Theatre slightly sceptical, unsure of what to expect, and I left feeling entranced and, perplexed at what I had just witnessed and confused as to how Brown had achieved what he just had.

As I exited the theatre I couldn’t help but notice the gentle hubbub of whispers between fascinated audience members scratching their heads and speculating the methods behind the madness.

You really are left questioning your own mind, and your own sense of reality as his voice and illusions mesmerises and manipulates the entire audience for the duration of the two-hour show.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The show centres around audience participationThe show centres around audience participation

I was also left feeling slightly bewildered at how my own brain had been so easily tricked by the mere sound of someone’s voice on a stage 10 metres from me. 

At one point, I even had to ask the person sat next to me, if they had just seen what I had seen, or if my mind was playing tricks on me. And they wasn’t quite sure either.

Brown manages to achieve a sense of connectivity throughout the audience as he opens the show discussing “how the thing that makes us feel most alone, are the things that bring us together most,” and you can almost see his brain ticking as he analyses the participants involved.

Eager audience members take part in each of the acts that seamlessly flow into one another, and each of them leaves the stage wide-eyed and open-mouthed after being subject to Brown’s boggling mind-games.

The performance is more of an experience than a simple magic show, as every audience member can also get involved and ‘tune in’ to the magic from their own seat. 

A cameraman is also on hand to show the audience exactly what is going on, on the stage, to ensure everyone gets a clear view of each coin-toss and every card shuffle.

Despite magic shows generally being a light-hearted affair, and people are usually there for a bit of a laugh, there is a sense of emotion and intensity that runs throughout this show.

Both laughs and tears were shed at various points as Brown has the power to conjure up poignant memories from the depths of the participant’s mind.

Brown shares his own personal experiences with the audience and shares moments from his childhood and upbringing which illuminates the feeling of connection in the room.

He uses props from his own childhood, and prior to the show, Brown tweeted a video addressing the 'people of Bradford' to request that they bring a ‘sentimental’ item 'that they can fit in their hand' along with them, so that they can get involved too. 


And while I can’t say too much, I hope I’ve said enough to emphasise the magic of this mystifying performance, even if you do leave the theatre scratching your head and questioning your own sanity.

The show is touring at the Alhambra Theatre from 5th - 9th October 2021.

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