Having never seen Derren Brown live before (although I’m an avid viewer whenever any of his previous shows pop up on my TV screen), I will openly admit to being excited and ridiculously curious as to what I would witness when seeing Miracle at the Palace Theatre in London on November 17.
However, before I get into the good stuff, I must warn you that, due to Brown’s ever-so polite request that journalists such as myself attending the press night don’t publish spoilers in their reviews, the below is likely to be unlike any such thing you’ve ever read.
To a packed house, the theme of ambitions, dreams and goals begins the show with Brown for the time-being at least, speaking from off stage. He informs his audience of how, more often than not, people achieve their ambitions but still find themselves to be unhappy. The story of Hansel and Gretel and other children’s tales so many of us were told growing up make their way into proceedings, and I can’t say much else without giving the whole point of his speech – and what follows - away (see, I told you this would be weird).
Walking on stage to cheers and applause, his first job is to hand over an envelope with a number on it to a lady down the front. You might think there’s nothing particularly strange about that – but you’d be wrong.
Plenty of audience interaction follows with a blue balloon and a flipchart coming into play. Once more, the idea of stories play a pivotal part– any guesses where I’m going with this? As soon as Brown leaves everyone wondering ‘what the hell did I just witness?’ after one piece of the performance, he’s straight into the next – it’s an almost never-ending, constantly spinning wheel of magic, mystery and mentalist trickery that leaves everyone, for lack of a better word, spellbound.
By the time the second half gets under-way, what with all the interaction and participation of audience members, now with the tweeps on Twitter involved, it’s sometimes a little hard not to think that the lucky (and in one case, potentially unfortunate) individuals beckoned to join him on stage are stooges, scattered around the theatre and made to fit in, but rest assured, each and every one of those people who get up on that stage were and are entirely genuine – I’d know, I was one of them.
It’s at this point where faith and religion take, aside from Brown himself, centre stage. All I will say about what unfolds at this point is that, in an almost biblical style gathering of people, bound by the idea that faith can heal (you can decide for yourself whether that’s true or not), Brown had myself and five others feeling better about ourselves in the space of twenty minutes. Quite how he did it I don’t know, and I can’t divulge details of what took place on that stage without presenting you with major spoilers, but for me, it was the stand-out part of the show and will remain with me for the foreseeable future.
Drawing the evening to a close, Brown comes back to the envelope given to the lady at the start of the show and two final tricks are completed, to which the 1700 plus people present cheer, whistle and rise to their feet in admiration.
I would love to get inside Brown’s head, to work out just quite how he does what he can, but in the meantime, I will instead just enjoy the warm feeling I still have as a result of seen such a spectacular show.
As he told everyone before him with a final bow, I can now say it back to him - Derren Brown, sir, “You are the miracle.”
Find out more on Miracle and book tickets here.