Derren Brown: Miracle

Theatre, West End
Derren Brown: Miracle

Derren Brown turns faith healer for this remarkable new show

Mentalist, hypnotist, trickster, beloved telly entertainer and all-round psychological magician Derren Brown has made it clear that he doesn’t want journalists spilling the beans as to the content of new show ‘Miracle’. And I don’t want to do anything that’ll bring the wrath of his wizardly powers down upon me. But hopefully I can avoid pseudo-sorcerous vengeance by pointing out that Brown did a documentary a couple of years back about evangelical faith healers in the US, and that the second half of ‘Miracle’ sees him explore similar turf.

Although atheist Brown would be the first to say that there is no such thing as the supernatural, that makes some of what he achieves even more remarkable and troubling. Even if he strongly suggests it’s all in the mind, is there something ethically dubious about dabbling in something as apparently life-changing as healing powers simply for entertainment? What happens in the second half of ‘Miracle’ is genuinely extraordinary, and never explained. And it also feels slightly disconcerting that it’s substantially happening for no reason deeper than our amusement and Brown’s enrichment. That’s not a criticism, though – it’s an angle thoroughly played up by the show (which is co-written with its directors, Andy Nyman and Andrew O’Connor). We’re nominally ‘in on it’, but really how much more clued up are we than the Southern congregations we’re shown brief clips of? I suppose I can’t really say much more, but ultimately there is a generosity of spirit underpinning the show that counters its intentional cynicism.

If anything an excess of generosity is the slight problem with ‘Miracle’. The first half is slickly staged and shows off Brown’s funny, waspish showman persona to a tee, but although I have no idea how he does any of what he does in it, it all feels a bit low key and parlour-game-ish. It’s important to warm an audience up and one suspects giving punters value for money is a factor too, but there is a clear discrepancy in OMFG factor between the night’s two halves. But this certainly doesn’t detract from that jaw-dropping exploration of faith healing. This was my first time seeing Derren Brown live – and now I’m a believer.

By: Andrzej Lukowski

Posted:

Average User Rating

4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:4
  • 4 star:3
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:1
LiveReviews|9
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Tastemaker

Don't go if you have jaw pain because quite frankly your jaw will be on the floor all night. This is a show which will make your eyes wide and your brow confused. What is so magical about this is that there is no magic. No one disappears. It's all in the mind and it really shows what the mind is capable of and how easily it is to manipulate one. Even the most skeptical are made to question things. Aside from the 'unbelieveable' elements of the show, Derren also has a very important message - stop being so hard on yourself - and this is one to definitely take away from the show. I'd go again and again.


Some of this was crazy, like HOW DID HE DO THAT? But I am a massive sceptic so he had to work hard to get to me to believe anything. I took this all with a pinch of salt, but some of it genuinely is ridiculously hard to explain! 

Tastemaker

Derren Brown is an entertaining showman and this latest show looks at faith healing in the second act, after a few mentalism stunts in the first. There are a few things in here you may have seen before but there are also a couple of takeaways and life lessons you can take with you that you can apply to your every day existence that could make positive change! Therapy mixed with mind tricks - a good night out.

Tastemaker

I so desperately wanted to believe everything that was happening in this show. I REALLY did. I urged myself to let my mind be taken under control and to allow Derren to work his 'magic' on me. But the truth is, I couldn't stop my inner sceptic from questioning everything that happened. Naturally some of the things he does in the show can't be explained by someone sat in the upper balcony, but the thing is, there is an explanation for everything. There has to be. Especially considering i've now spoken to a few people who saw the show on separate nights and our discussions have practically pooped all over some of the clever mind-boggling things. Top tip - DON'T TALK TO PEOPLE ABOUT IT AFTER YOU GO if you want to believe it. And you absolutely can believe it if you want to, but sadly my brain sought out explanations rather than letting myself go with it.

Having said all of this, I did enjoy it. I left thinking about certain aspects of my life in a different way. I left feeling positive, not necessarily about the show, but about myself. He made me look at how I prioritise things in my life and realise that in the most, it's silly. And for that, I would recommend you go and see him. If you want to be part of the show (get up on stage, have him warp your mind etc) you'll need to sit in the stalls, or at least the royal circle. But don't think that being up in the Gods means you won't get to experience some things because there is mass audience participation, and an £18 ticket will still get you a great night out.

Staff Comp

Without sounding too predictable here, this was bloody mind-blowing. Brown is up to his usual tricks - making every element of the show seem remarkably random, but somehow demonstrating how planned and orchestrated they are as a result of our easily-influenced minds soaking up our everyday surroundings like a sponge.


Some sage advice from Derren also narrates this show which focuses on life, achievements and being happy, which of course is something that resonates with everyone - another trick to penetrate our thinking I assume, to have us nodding along in agreement - but more than this, it makes you think and the whole thing is strangely uplifting.


I'm not going to give the game away, but this man has you leaving the auditorium completely baffled. Brown is a cunning character, but like others who do what he does, he does not alienate or creep you out - he is in fact rather witty, and someone I could sit and watch all day (ah, that must be the hypnosis!) 

Tastemaker

Derren Brown is never less than 5/5. This is his 5th tour I have caught and they do just keep getting better and better. Obviously I can't give away any details as Derren asks that all tricks are kept secret, but if you have ever enjoyed his tv show, or if you want to wander out stuttering "how... did... he... do... THAT...?" then make sure you get a ticket. Mind blowing, every single time. Wow. 

Tastemaker

First time attending a Derren Brown’s show and unfortunately didn’t meet my expectations. Derren is really good on talking & talking & talking…saying all the time that he can control people’s mind and read their thoughts. But, from the start till the end didn’t manage to convince me about anything. On the contrary, I was all the time thinking how much money are invested on the marketing of his name & the random (?) selection of people from the audience. People get hypnotized just in a few seconds by Derren (really??) and are lifted up in the air (???). If you would like to see a nice theater play with good lighting, set design & excellent direction (instead of a west end musical), then you will like this show. If you thing that you are going to see some amazing tricks aka Copperfield, then definitely you will disappointed...

tastemaker

What can I say?? I left this show with friends thinking 'What just happened?' 'How did that happen?' and 'Was that even possible?' It was both jaw-dropping, inspiring, captivating and mesmerising. I'm not sure how any of it was possible and it was so so much better live than on TV so would absolutely recommend to ALL!!!

Tastemaker

I've seen Derren Brown live a few times now and I think this show is one of his best. He is a true showman in the traditional sense and so his shows are perfectly suited to the stage. The Palace Theatre is one of London's oldest and watching a one man show of this style feels almost like travelling back to a by gone era being truly magical in both amosphere and content. If you are a fan of his TV work you should most definitely treat yourself and watch him live.