REVIEW: Derren Brown: Underground (Playhouse Theatre) ★★★★★
One of the first things Derren Brown said as he stepped on stage was for no one to share any specific information about the content of the show, be it a critic’s review or a simple tweet. Very #KeepTheSecrets Cursed Child much? Naturally, this makes my job much more difficult in not providing enough detail, but also this hopefully makes this review pretty short and sweet. Basically, you must see this.
Involving a mixture of traditional magic, hypnotism and other psychic elements, Derren Brown proves why he is the ultimate showman with a constantly mesmerising production of Underground. Taking highlights from all of his previous live shows, a theme of ‘secrets’ outlines the structure of Derren’s show in both keeping the secrets of his tricks along with sharing some of his most personal ones in relation to his performing.
No matter where you are in the audience, from the stalls front row to the back of the upper circle, Derren involves everyone possible in the auditorium, keeping everyone in constant concentration on his tricks and never making us feel bored. Derren is both charismatic in his role as both ring-man and storyteller. His technical ability is overwhelmingly good, but there is also an added emotional level by sharing personal stories from his past along with bringing out some of the audience members’ most darkest secrets. How he does this, I can’t say, but it is honestly shocking.
If you’ve never seen Derren before, or if you’ve seen all of his shows, Underground reminds you of why he’s the household name he’s known to be today. He delivers a tour-de-force performance, confusing, mind-blowing and manipulating audience members. Who knows, perhaps he manipulated me to give him a standing ovation at the end, or to write constantly positive comments of the show in this review? Nonetheless, this is entertainment of the truly highest quality.
Reviewed by Barry O’Reilly