Derren Brown – A Jaw Dropping Experience

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Derren Brown - A Jaw Dropping Experience

photo credit: Matthew Murphy

The Secret is out.

Derren Brown Secret, is indeed a jaw-dropping experience.

Who is Derren Brown? An amalgam of personalities. Derren is definitely an excellent showman and speaker, one who deftly commands a crowd. He is a mentalist who can read minds and energies. He is a student of body language, which he can expertly interpret. He is an amazing artist, and creates a painting during the show.  And at the top of the list, he is a master manipulator.  He claims that we all have these abilities. If that is so, I guess he is just the smartest and most talented one in the room.

There is not much I can tell you about this spectacle. We are asked (or warned?) not to divulge what occurs during the performance. I agree. If you know going in what to expect, it would not be nearly as exciting.

What I can tell you is that during the 2 hour and 30 minute show, your powers of observation will be tested, your deepest inner thoughts may be outed, and you may have a powerful urge to do things you don’t understand.

Throughout the performance, he explains things, tells us what we can expect, what may happen, and asks each of his subjects to follow his directions. They are simple directions, but what emerged for me is that under duress, people’s minds are so crammed with signals jamming their brain, that they often can’t answer with the simplest of words: “yes” or “no.”

Derren also tells us that we each have a story: stories that have been told to us, or stories that we make up. But these stories may not be the truth, that which is right in front of our eyes and mind.

It is a fascinating dive into the subconscious and tests all kinds of beliefs.

At the end of the show, when the secret is finally revealed, you will feel like you are witnessing someone with incredible powers of manipulation, and perhaps that is true. Can we really be manipulated to do what someone else wants us to? (At one point, it dawns on the audience that we, as a country, have been deviously manipulated, but that’s a subject for another day) .

I must share a rather odd experience  that occurred on the morning before I went to see dear Derren. As I was preparing for my day, out of the blue, a vintage nursery rhyme came into my head. Over and over again, the words tumbled through my mind. Finally I had to sing it out loud. I was perplexed and annoyed, and even asked myself why I was compelled to sing this ancient song from my childhood. Luckily, it left my brain and I went on my way.

Until…that very evening at the show, toward the end of  Secret, Derren asked one of his subjects to recite out loud the very nursery rhyme that infiltrated my head that morning.

Was this a function of Derren’s far-reaching influence? Is it part of a crowded collective unconscious? Is Derren trying to send me a signal?

Damned if I know.

Limited engagement through January 4. Darren Brown Secret.

Derren Brown - A Jaw Dropping Experience

For more theatre news, interviews and conversation, listen to “Bagels and Broadway with Valerie Smaldone” radio show and podcast Saturday from 9:05 to 10 AM on WNYM radio, online, Alexa and podcast the only theatre and food oriented radio show in New York


  • Five-time Billboard Award-winning media personality Valerie Smaldone is a theatre, food, lifestyle and entertainment enthusiast. She is a celebrity interviewer, accomplished voice-over artist and actress. Recent appearances on episodic tv include Law and Order, Criminal Intent, The Other Two (on HBO Max), Tommy, Manifest and Blue Bloods. She is an audiobook narrator and producer. A live event emcee, moderator, and "Voice of God" at events and award ceremonies, Valerie has joined The Story Plant Entertainment Company and is currently working on a film and Broadway play. Visit her website at

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