REVIEW- Derren Brown proves he’s a true showman in thrilling performance at Birmingham’s Alexandra Theatre

I SAW this show earlier in this huge tour so knew what to expect – however my lips are sealed once again as Derren Brown gave us theatre reviewers strict instructions not to be giving away the content of what we have witnessed.

Fair play Mr. Showman the experience, which is as much a journey as a show, should be enjoyed with fresh eyes and ears every performance – so once again you won’t be getting any spoilers from me here.

This 250-night tour is entitled ‘Showman’ and this sums up Mr. Brown pretty well, I’d say.

He is a one-off original, a master of illusion and a mind-manipulating hypnotist whom, whilst appreciating his unique talents, I wouldn’t particularly welcome as a dinner guest.

No, I’m happy to enjoy a safe distance between stage and seat. That’s not true of most of the audience though, who once again, begged in their droves to be part of the onstage antics.

The seductive stage set is like we are guests in the huge parlour of a mysterious mansion, where extraordinary things happen.

Things, which will become in-car conversations on the way home and even seeing it twice I am none the wiser.

Brown enjoys a great rapport with the audience and whilst his dark brooding presence is indeed more showman than headmaster; everyone respectfully does what they are told.

Again without giving anything away but whetting the appetites – there are several story lines which tease and tantalize throughout the evening – all of which are cleverly resolved before we go home.

That’s all the background you’ll be getting from me – so onto the team responsible.

Firstly the script for the ‘Showman’ tour is collaboration between Brown himself plus Andy Nyman and Andrew O’Connor; who are in addition the shows directors.

Not surprisingly Nyman and O’Connor are also actors and magicians in their own right. Oh to be a fly on the wall at one of their threesome script meetings!

Brown also has a large production team of on and off-stage camera folk, technicians and chaperones who, judging by the programme notes, all appear to be one happy family.

The Alex was full right up the last seat in the Gods. Well done to the theatre staff who handled the large crowds faultlessly. Opening an extra entrance at the start was an excellent idea.

It’s probably house-full all week but do try and grab a return if you can – this is an experience like no other. While Derren Brown’s TV shows are legendary, watching him live is a very special experience.

You can see Derren Brown Showman at Birmingham’s Alexandra Theatre at 7.30pm until September 10, with an extra showing at 2.30pm on the final day.

Tickets start at £22.90.

Visit to book tickets.

Four Stars 

Review By Euan Rose 

Euan Rose Reviews

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