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Review: Derren Brown's Miracle, Sunderland Empire

The mind-bending TV star arrived on Wearside to bamboozle a crowd with his jaw-dropping show which is on until Saturday. Janine Rudin was there

Derren Brown
****
Derren Brown
Derren Brown

Derren Brown’s message is quite a simple one - we all have a story, we all have a path that has led us to where we are now and the secret to a happy life is in our own individual thoughts and actions.

With this I do agree because the power of the mind, along with self belief, is incredible. But Derren Brown’s show then took that positive message, scrunched it up and threw it back at us.

He has definitely messed with my head.

A self-proclaimed mentalist, Derren Brown has exceptional observational skills, he knows how the human brain works and he uses that brilliantly, to great effect.

With mind games, sleight of hand, very clever use of language, manipulating our social expectations and reading subtle body language, the show was full of unbelievable wow moments.

There’s no doubt he owned the audience, he led the way, he controlled what we did and what we thought - it was made clear that there was no coming back in if we left the room and that there would be audience participation.

Brown is an incredibly clever performer, he’s a wonderful show-off, a fantastic confidence trickster. His show aims to look simple, but it is slick and it manipulates the audience into a way of thinking.

He makes it clear his acts are connected to the human mind, that we can learn from his message... but he is also a cheeky chappy, with an air of arrogance and the show is full of funny moments.

I really wasn’t sure what to expect from the Miracle - and friends who had been before had done just as Brown had asked, and revealed almost nothing to me.

I have seen many of his TV shows, but he is all about shock and surprise so I was quite nervous, especially with the potential of being pulled from the audience. All I had heard about the show was to expect a frisbee at some point - and that’s the only detail I am going to share because I too don’t want to spoil it for anyone.

Despite my initial nervousness about the possibility of being picked, there was a point in the show where I could easily have got up on stage - I am clearly very suggestible!

Brown has made a career out of knowing how people tick - he can spot things most of us would miss and he can flatter us beautifully.

This is a brilliant show, it is intelligent and humorous and you could love it and be totally freaked out all at the same time. Even if you are a complete sceptic, it is definitely worth going, just to have that challenged.

People are suggestible - some more than others - and Brown’s power is knowing how to find the suggestibles, to read people, to manipulate that suggestibility and to make things happen his way.

Most of the audience probably left last night’s show wondering ‘how?’ about several sections of the show and I doubt whether any of us could offer an answer. I do know one thing though - everything happened that night because Derren Brown wanted it to.

Janine Rudin

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