Please note: This was reviewed on 11/03/17 and 01/04/17 at the Charing Cross Theatre, London under the title “Underground” – which was the work-in-progress season for “Secret”. Spoiler free.
Following over a decade of live performances, Underground/Secret is directed by frequent collaborators, Andrew O’Connor and Andy Nyman. The show is a culmination of Derren Brown’s previous seven stage productions; Derren Brown Live, Something Wicked This Way Comes, An Evening Of Wonders, Enigma, Svengali, Infamous and Miracle. Drawing predominantly from An Evening Of Wonders and Enigma.
The biggest joy and takeaway from the show is to be in a small theatre with the renowned illusionist. Personally, the pressure of being in front of thousands of other participants has put me off from taking part, but being in the comforting surroundings of either the Charing Cross Theatre or the Atlantic Theater Company’s Linda Gross Theater, brings a new sense of intimacy and cosiness.
One area where the show falls short, even if very slightly, is within it’s narrative. The most recent outings have had clear theming, from faith healing in Miracle, to the exploration of the Victorian era in Svengali. It’ll always be tough to create a distinctive setting within a “best of” show, with the angle for this being ‘secrets’, but I do miss the atmosphere and interesting questions that could of been raised further from this vague over-arching link.
As for the big finale, it’s something you’ve seen before but with a twist to appeal to the new stateside audience. If you’re planning on seeing this show, either in London or New York, then I’d advise going cold turkey on watching his previous televised appearances until you’ve seen Underground/Secret unfold for yourself. Disappointingly, there was no completely new trick or set-piece as such, but the show does give you what it says on the tin – showcasing the best from the past decade of Derren Brown’s stage career.
Derren Brown’s Secret opens Friday 21st April 2017.
For more information, please visit derrenbrown.co.uk/on-stage/.