The Review: Derren Brown: Secret
Sworn to secrecy. That’s what he tells us in the first few moments of this absolutely far more entertaining show than I was prepared for. And by the way, that’s not why the show is called Derren Brown: Secret, but he’ll fill you in later, as he continually keeps reminding us throughout this extremely amazing mind-blowing show. I must admit I’m not really one for magic shows or anything that remotely makes me think of cheesy Vegas, but this is something completely unique and different from all that. I don’t even know how to label this. Derren Brown, a man who is “now pretty much synonymous with the art of psychological manipulation” (as his bio reads in #Playbill) is a true pleasure and a master at entertaining. He’s engaging, very funny, and honest, even honest about all the lies he is about to tell us tonight. I swear.
Whip smart and spontaneous….I think, as it’s hard to really know what is happening all the time (was that really off the cuff, or completely planned?), telling us all that we are not sheep, nor are we followers, as we find ourselves doing his bidding at every turn of the dial. On a perfectly designed stage by Takeshi Kata (2ST’s Man From Nebraska), with exacting lighting by Ben Stanton (Deaf West/Broadway’s Spring Awakening), strong projections by Caite Hevner (Broadway’s In Transit), and solid sound by Jill BC du Boff (Broadway’s Hand to God), the amazements come one after the other, surrounded by witty smart banter that pulls us in to this compelling man’s story and his life long passion. He shares and is vulnerable, telling captivating tales while completely twisting us hopelessly around his little finger. He raises up this art form to dizzying heights, and you would be amiss to discard it as anything but unforgettable and incredible.
When I walked into the Cort Theatre on Broadway, I was fully prepared to be amazed (as I heard that it truly was), but I never imagined I would be so thoroughly entertained. Derren Brown: Secret, the winner of the 2017 Drama Desk Award for Unique Theatrical Experience, as co-directed by Andy Nyman (seen in the Judy Garland biopic “Judy“) and Andrew O’Connor (“Magicians“), is a show I can’t say enough about, or anything at all really, if I follow Derren Brown’s explicit directions. So I won’t mention anything about the fantastically fun, completely amazing, wonderfully unbelievable, stunningly fun and totally entertaining night, especially and particularly, I won’t say a word about Rachel and that very embarrassed young man in the balcony. Not one word. It’ll be our little Secret.
PS: Find a good friend who saw it on a different night to compare notes with. It’ll make it even more awe-inspiringly marvelous and fun.