Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the North
Phil Hopkins
Arts & Travel Editor
10:29 AM 6th October 2021

Spellbinding Derren Baffles Bradford Once More

The Prince of Darkness might be a little strong but whether he’s a mystic, mystery man or snake oil charmer, Derren Brown is nothing if not a little baffling!

And last night, his army of fans were queuing up – and standing up – to be picked for momentary stardom and the chance to fall under Brown’s spellbinding touch if only for a few minutes.

Sometimes his self-contained ‘tricks’ – usually involving a string of people from the audience – can have a tendency to go on a bit long but, without doubt, the diminutive mystery man – in our tv lounges for nigh on two decades – always achieves forgiveness with his powerful conclusions which invariably contain more than a hint of bafflement.

Brown, according to his brochure blurb, was never unduly ambitious, more passionate about his craft, and never had an overwhelming desire to ‘conquer America’, but as a favourite of celebs and presidents on both sides of the Atlantic, he already has US conquest firmly under his belt.

From Broadway to the West End, theatre stages to Saturday night TV, Brown has a sophisticated air of mystery and the same unique quality that enabled the likes of Morecambe and Wise, Paul Daniels Bruce Forsyth or Cannon and Ball to occupy the nation’s sweet spot.

The thing I like about Brown is that he has a twinkle in his eye, a good line in under-stated patter and yet guys twice his size might easily fear him, such is his perceived power over those that tower above him.

He walks people on stage – albeit carefully screened individuals – and, in seconds they are under with their heads bowed and doing anything he commands. It is quite disconcerting to think that we so malleable.

And, whilst the most determined (not to go ‘under’) in the audience, close their eyes at key moments, avoid the flashing lights or simply cock a cynical snook to the bald-headed mystery man, he still sends EVERYONE in the audience home with a nagging question mark as to whether ‘I was or was not’ duped.

Seeing is believing. If you want a fascinating look at the psychology of the human mind then there’s no better than Derren Brown.

Derren Brown Showman
Alhambra, Bradford
Until Saturday October 9th