Get alerts about your favorite artists and theater companies
“An enthrallingly baffling one-mentalist show…Mr. Brown segues, with an Astaire-like grace, into more elaborate and improbable ruses. And he is upfront in telling you they are ruses. It’s in the second act that he seems to be plunging into the deepest recesses of his victims’ — I mean, volunteers’ — thoughts, with results that have you slapping your forehead…Throughout, Mr. Brown is calm, chatty, amiably insulting.” Full Review
“An astounding piece of psychological theater, and not knowing anything about it makes the experience all the more mind-blowing…The first-act finale is as thrilling and mind-boggling as any of the great curtain-closers from the entire canon of American drama…Like all great illusionists, Brown is the perfect salesman…The two-and-a-half hours of ‘Secret’ fly by…It is bound to make audiences want to see it again, if only to pay attention to different moments." Full Review
“Two hours of dazzling wizardry. Mr. Brown is self-effacing and enthused, with charm to spare and a sackful of illusions to share. Illusions of the sort that engage us, stump us, and result—each of them—in effusive applause which serves, again and again, as a release from the suspense…Brown has everything under control…So entertaining and so successful—as an evening of grand illusion—that I half wanted to return the next night.” Full Review
“A diverting evening dotted with more than enough jaw-droppers to offset some familiar bits and a slight tendency to mumbo jumbo. Brown is a trained magician and obviously a whiz with sleight of hand, but his best work isn’t a matter of trickery or prestidigitation. The draw: his ability to read audience members and accurately predict their choices and actions…He’s a terrific hypnotist, too…It was a treat to feel baffled and bamboozled.” Full Review
“An entertainment that I thoroughly enjoyed...In his offhand wit and remarkable ability at coaxing behaviors out of audience members -- all while seemingly doing nothing -- he is very much a talent of today…We've been getting a lot of magic shows lately, but Derren Brown makes the others look like pikers. He practices the greatest disappearing act of all, dispelling the audience's skepticism with a wave of his hand.” Full Review
"If you like your brains scrambled, or over easy, or poached, or any way other than the way you usually carry them around, Derren Brown is the fella for you. This one is a geez Louise of the highest order...Brown is first and foremost a storyteller...He has created a compelling narrative...There is a heightened vibration in the room from the minute the lights come up...He takes the magic that is theatre and kicks it into the stratosphere." Full Review
"Here’s the secret to his success: you like him. Brown’s stage persona is thoroughly winning and frankly one can imagine him developing a show without a spot of magic and creating a charming piece anyway. But magic there is here...It’s not Vegas glitzy but his new show plays as pure entertainment, wearing its sophistication lightly. Kudos to Brown’s professional partners, which includes his co-writers Nyman and O’Connor, who also co-direct to create an evening that is sneakily well constructed." Full Review
“Derren Brown…offers two hours and 40 minutes of mind-boggling mental mischief…All you can think of is "How'd he do it?"...During Act One you sometimes feel there's too much talk in proportion to the actual tricks...I suspect, though, it's all carefully planned to make the show increasingly dramatic in Act Two, when the tension grows with each routine, leading to the grand finale. And, while you're still scratching your head over it, an even more surprising surprise awaits you.” Full Review
“It will be hard not to be at least a bit bowled over by ‘Secret’…Brown oozes confidence and charisma, the kind you don't quite trust but can't turn away from nonetheless…It's a combination of jaw-dropping ‘How did he do that?’ moments and inspirational speeches that veer dangerously close to the litanies of motivational speakers…What transpires in 'Secret' is enough to make even the most hardened skeptic think twice.” Full Review
“One of the most entertaining nights in a theatre was had this week watching ‘Derren Brown: Secret’…Mr. Brown truly knows how to manipulate and bend an entire audience and it is amazing…All I can say is this guy is the real deal…The show is witty and enlightening...Mr. Brown is personable, chatty and intriguing…This is a show you should not miss as it will definitely make you think about how easily we are all subconsciously connected." Full Review
“An ex-lawyer and Olivier Award-winning mentalist whose sole purpose is to astonish, and perhaps scare the crap out of, you…The technique is to do everything possible to unnerve you by appearing to remove any possibility of audience plants while unlocking secrets of the mind with the same triumphal glee that an escape artist shows when emerging from a skein of solid steel chains and unbreachable locks. If you need to know how it’s done, you have my deepest sympathy.” Full Review
"The show is not only very entertaining, but a lot more rewarding to sit through than their last play. It’s better crafted too, with a knockout finale that reveals in a delightful way how tightly structured the entire performance has been...Brown is a consummate performer who quickly has the audience in the palm of his hand...If you like to be amazed and delighted, you will have a good time. Just don’t expect a traditional play." Full Review
“Brown goes way beyond the usual brand of magic here…He performs very few stunts, and occasionally you may find yourself not paying attention, which is when all the magic happens...Brown is great at setting you up to believe that so much more will be revealed…Brown’s showmanship is never more apparent than in the second act when he reveals that we’ll be treated to a short film. It turns out to be not much of a film…No doubt about it: Brown is the William Castle of illusionists.” Full Review
"A hilarious and thrilling evening of mind reading and psychological illusion...The show completely blew my mind...I remain stunned...However Brown pulls off his wonders, the experience is bewildering and spellbinding. My attention never waned once. But more than that, Brown is hilarious...He manages to lampoon his participants without showing them an ounce of unkindness or disrespect." Full Review
"This is not theatre! It's pure entertainment—and it's only interesting if you like magic and tricks and being fooled by a con man. Derren Brown is indeed an illusionist. He claims he is not a psychic but then does the things a psychic would do. He's very good at what he does, but theatre this is not, fooled I was not, and entertained I was not. Please bring back real theatre—instead of a circus side show—to the Atlantic!" Full Review
“First and foremost, Brown is an entertainer. He clearly loves being in the spotlight and makes you feel like he belongs there…He’s an enigma, and his persona is so deeply imbued into what he does that actor and act reinforce each other, creating an air of mystery and impenetrability that’s intriguing yet also the tiniest bit off-putting in that you can’t get close to him…The result is refreshingly direct, and the audience members who participate seem to enjoy themselves.” Full Review
"Brown offers a mystifying and quite fluid presentation of magical and mental acuity...His greatest talent is his ability to put the audience immediately at ease...Being too specific about what goes on would spoil the chance for future audiences to be enthralled, amazed, and downright astonished by the performance...While the show is rather long for one of this type, the entire piece moves briskly...A fascinating and surprisingly intimate experience." Full Review
“Brown makes brilliant use of a bag of tricks similar to what most such performers employ…Brown is definitely a master showman. He's congenial and funny. He's ironic but not judgmental…What makes mentalists' shows so interesting is their unique combination of surprise and predictability. Often we know exactly what's going to happen. But sometimes we are totally blown away. And there is nothing more delightful than being converted into believers despite our better judgment.” Full Review
“He showcases his apparent powers of psychological manipulation while carefully earning the audience’s trust...The show develops almost exclusively from interactions with various agog audience members…Though he repeatedly speaks about the human need for narrative, Secret eschews any arc. Brown awes us repeatedly but over the long running time this results in a sense of sameness. Astonishment fatigue can and does set in before we reach the impressive musical denouement.” Full Review
“It quickly becomes apparent that Brown is a master at reading body language--no less than facial and vocal expressions--to manipulate the many audience-members who participate and to read their inner thoughts. Brown's patter is also built on an almost glib sort of false modesty, such as his saying, near the end, ‘This only works because we are story-focusing creatures.’...he knows just exactly how to get us all to see only what he wants us to.” Full Review
"'Secret' is an intoxicating dream...Funny, bewildering, almost frightening, and even sometimes poignant, Brown redesigns what one should expect from a magic show. With a casual, funny, and unassuming surface that conceals a bewildering depth of complexity and unaccountable skill he charms his audience down a mesmerizing road...'Secret' right now is undoubtedly one of the coolest things to be seen on the stages of New York City." Full Review
“Brown dumbfounds with a stunning colonnade of tricks, physical and psychological, limned by the sensation of third-rail danger…Brown is also acutely aware that his gifts of seduction and sleight of hand are used by con men for much less entertainment-related activities…He aims to prove the allure of chicanery by exhilarating the audience with its power…A thrilling spectacle. Especially for the die-hard doubters in the crowd, ‘Secret’ is real magic.” Full Review
“A show that everybody needs to see live to believe...The audience was in total awe of him as he left many people's jaws on the floor, and rightfully so. His presentation skills were extraordinary…Derren Brown was spectacular…An outstanding one-man show, where he commanded the stage quite well, and he sustained the audience's attention for the whole duration…His eclectic show was filled with suspense, mystery and excitement; moreover, his passion for his craft was evident.” Full Review
See it if you love your mind being pushed in new directions and like mental trickery done in a fun and respectful way.
Don't see it if you don't want to be chosen to participate! I went in not preparing to be chosen and I ended up going onstage!
See it if you have any doubts about the mystics of psychics. This guy will leave you dumb-founded. Plus he's charming.
Don't see it if you don't like to me mystified or refuse to believe what actually takes place before your eyes. Heck, go see it!
See it if you'd like to be amazed with Brown's ability to read the minds of the audience, or seemingly predict outcomes of events.
Don't see it if you seek a drama (or musical) with a plot.
See it if you enjoy shows that are mind bending, literally. It's part mentalism, part illusion, part WTF!
Don't see it if don't like one man shows that are small, intimate and designed to leave you gobsmacked.
See it if you are a fan of magic and mentalism. Brown is a very entertaining performer with a very clever portfolio of tricks. Highly entertaining.
Don't see it if you are not into a magic show. Brown's tricks are done with aplomb and great staging, but likely you've seen them or something like them.
See it if you enjoy magicians & mentalists with clever & challenging routines, spending time with an amiable personality, like to be wowed
Don't see it if you're looking for a show with a plot or through line, have no interest in magic or "mind-reading," don't like being fooled or perplexed
See it if You want to be repeatedly stunned into disbelief (and possibly even hypnotized) at off-Broadway prices.
Don't see it if You live in terror of mind readers or audience participation.
See it if Derren is clever at using the power of deduction and suggestion to reach the conclusion he desires.
Don't see it if If you are a person who doesn't appreciate a 1-man cheat show, stay home.
See it if you want to see a world-class mentalist and consummate entertainer demonstrate his art.
Don't see it if you don't like audience participation or need to know the secrets behind the performance or if you are expecting a traditional play.
See it if You like illusionists and mind-readers. There are good surprises and craft executed, but not something you expect from Atlantic Theater Comp
Don't see it if You are expecting a traditional play and not a Vegas show. This guy has a cult following; he's good, but I don't see the big deal, frankly.
See it if You enjoy a master at work, and like a break from traditional plays and musicals. Brown does not insult his audience.
Don't see it if You loathe mentalists or magicians, or any kind of tricks of the mind. It's sort-of performance art.
See it if you enjoy mentalist shows; like to figure out how the show is done. Want a pleasant and clever evening.
Don't see it if want traditional dramatic entertainment. Overall a bit disappointing, but I have no idea how the final event was pulled off.