REVIEW: DERREN BROWN Opera House, Blackpool

Derren Brown
Derren Brown
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I am a complete cynic about claims of communicating with the dead, or hypnotising members of the public, or pulling out someone’s vital organs live on stage. Prior to this show I had never seen Brown on TV or been to one of his shows. I don’t believe in this nonsense. I wanted to hate it.

It was something of a surprise, therefore, to be on my feet at the end of this two-and-a-half hour show giving the man a standing ovation.

I never give standing ovations. Maybe he subliminally ordered me too – after all those are the kind of weird mind-powers he seems to possess.

I’d love to describe this extraordinary show blow-by-blow but Brown pleads with everyone at his gigs, including us reviewers, to keep the details a secret.

What I can say is the 43- year-old totally won me over. He is a superb performer.

Brown was discovered in the 90s, performing stage shows around Bristol, where he was studying Law and German at university.

He has made a string of TV specials over the last decade and more, each more outrageous and improbable than the last.

But live he is even more thrilling, for stripping away the TV cameras, and all the trickery they’re capable of, makes his unique skills all the more outstanding.

Just how he does what he does I have no idea. In fact you leave his shows frustrated because you want to explain it, but can’t.

The only thing I found slightly in bad taste was when, while claiming he couldn’t talk to the dead, correctly identified relatives of audience members and personal details. Two people burst into tears – it seemed a little unfair. I mean if their late loved ones really were present surely they’d want to have a proper conversation rather than just reveal their age and what they used to work as?

But all in all this is breathtaking stuff, with a stunning finale, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. As you can tell, I’m a convert.

STEVE CANAVAN