Ends Jun 25

Derren Brown: Secret

Members say: Entertaining, Clever, Absorbing, Masterful, Riveting
19 reviews
81 reviews

Atlantic Theater Company presents British mentalist and illusionist Derren Brown's new show featuring mind reading and other psychological feats.

... Read more

This theatrical experience challenges audiences to take a closer look at the stories and beliefs that guide our lives. In the UK, Derren Brown’s critically acclaimed shows have played sold-out runs in the West End and won two Olivier Awards.

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Reviews (100)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
Avg Score

The New York Times

“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

The Guardian (UK)

“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

The Huffington Post

“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

Lighting & Sound America

“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

Front Row Center

"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

Theatre's Leiter Side

“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

The Huffington Post

"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

Time Out New York

“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


“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 Wrap

“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

Bob's Theater Blog

"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

Theatre is Easy

"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

Theater Pizzazz

“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

The Stage (UK)

“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


“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

Stage Buddy

"'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

Entertainment Weekly

“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

Digital Journal

“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: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
Avg Score

Absorbing, Clever, Masterful, Entertaining, Amazing

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.

Also At 2 3/4 hours including intermission, it could use some trimming. Ent... Read more Read less


See it if You want to be entertained with psychological tricks.

Don't see it if You go to the theater for theatre, not spectacle. Are jugglers and animal acts next? As a season subscriber, I am very disappointed.

Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Masterful

See it if you like to be amazed.

Don't see it if like me you find magic and illusionists boring no matter how good the act is.

Absorbing, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Masterful, Mentalist

See it if If you like direct interaction between performer and audience. (Similar to PRIVACY at the Public). You want your mind to be challenged.

Don't see it if You don't enjoy one-person shows. You aren't willing to suspend disbelief (i.e. you don't want to let your mind be tricked).

Clever, Entertaining, Not really a play, Theater for people who don't like theater, Vegas off-broadway

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.

Clever, Enchanting, Epic, Masterful, Entertaining

See it if Love magic, love being entertained, love being mystified

Don't see it if Don't like close up magic, it's a lengthy show with a long intermission

Dizzying, Thought-provoking, Masterful, Entertaining, Unbelievable

See it if You're willing and excited to have your mind challenged. An incredible showman, and you know it's all fake...but you'll be questioning it.

Don't see it if You are uncomfortable with the power of suggestion, or you have a phobia of someone messing with your brain. You simply don't enjoy magic.

Clever, Disappointing

See it if You want to see a different type of theater.

Don't see it if You simply cannot believe he is not charming fake.

Funny, Absorbing, Clever, Masterful, Must see

See it if You're wanting to escape everyday life for an evening, you love surprises, and you might just want to get out of your seat to participate.

Don't see it if You're satisfied with reality as you know it or you're looking for a standard play/musical. This is something else entirely.

Also I've been a huge fan of Derren Brown for quite some time (thanks, Ye O... Read more Read less

Clever, Quirky, Riveting

See it if you haven't been to a magic show in a while and want to see something you once thought impossible in the theater.

Don't see it if you're a professional magician ;)

Absorbing, Delightful, Intelligent, Must see, Entertaining

See it if You want to be entertained, awe-struck and amazed

Don't see it if Just go and see it - it's like nothing else on stage!

During previews
Clever, Intelligent, Masterful, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if you enjoy slight of hand performances. You can be blown away by the mystery of knowing about the audience with no contact prior to show.

Don't see it if You don't believe in magic or mind reading.

During previews
Funny, Ambitious, Great acting, Must see, Great staging

See it if You want an experience that will thrill you and leave you in absolute wonder and amazement

Don't see it if Just go see it

During previews
Clever, Masterful, Must see, Entertaining, Magical

See it if You want to forget all your worries and be swept away by a master entertainment , more Vegas than broadway. Don't miss it !

Don't see it if Just go. You'll be glad you did .

During previews
Clever, Delightful, Thought-provoking, Masterful, Entertaining

See it if you want to be entertained by a congenial, engaging and intelligent showman; you can enjoy a scratch-your-head, how-did-he-do-it evening.

Don't see it if you don't enjoy audience participation, illusionists/mentalists and a little trickery. You need to know, rather than experience.

During previews
Absorbing, Must see, Refreshing, Riveting, Entertaining

See it if You previously believe that all magic tricks or psychic reading are fake. This one is gonna blow your mind!

Don't see it if You want a musical or a play. Or else you should go to see this.

During previews
Clever, Edgy, Masterful, Riveting, Entertaining

See it if you would like to see a world-renowned mentalist trick, shock and amaze you. Derren is clever and engaging. Optional audience participation.

Don't see it if you specifically want to see a play or musical. This is an entertainment show. If you want all the tricks to be explained to you at the end.

During previews
Dizzying, Thought-provoking, Refreshing, Mind blowing

See it if you like illusionists and psychics, and enjoy being genuinely amazed.

Don't see it if you're expecting a traditional theater piece - this isn't it. I really wish I knew how he does what he does, because it's incredible.

During previews
British mentalist wows the audience

See it if How does he do it? Talent, for sure, but also distractions and some trickery. All fun. He chooses audience participants with frisbees

Don't see it if you don't like magic, illusion or mentalist or mind games shows.

During previews
Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Masterful, Must see, Riveting

See it if If you love brilliant mentalism that's very audience interactive.

Don't see it if If you don't like magic or just want to be a spectator.

During previews
Clever, Masterful, Entertaining

See it if for a great mentalist and illusions. His style and approach is spot on. It must be the British in him that creates his style.

Don't see it if if you want a traditional show or play. This is like a David Copperfield style entertaining show.

During previews
Clever, Entertaining, Fun, Fluffy, Discussion-provoking

See it if You want to be entertained. Derren is a showman, you let yourself enjoy magic and mental tricks. Go with friends to talk over the show

Don't see it if you dislike magic or always want to be logical. You want to see theater - this is not a typical show. You don't like audience participation

During previews
Absorbing, Entertaining

See it if you like illusion & magic & being entertained excellent command of audience; you leave perplexed & puzzled trying to figure out what you saw

Don't see it if you expect traditional theatre not a Las Vegas type act; surprised Atlantic Theatre put this show on stage

During previews
Brilliant, Absorbing, Clever, Mind blowing, Wonder-ful

See it if You want to spend a few hours with one of the world's greatest living performers (not to mention the world's finest living magician).

Don't see it if You are not interested in joy or fun.

During previews
Absorbing, Dizzying, Intense, Quirky, Entertaining

See it if Psychological illusionist Brown works his craft with disarming ease; giving just enough personal detail to overcome any critical backlash

Don't see it if Two & a half hr length (25 min intermission) sucks energy but 2nd Act allows Brown to really enmesh us in his mental gymnastics Engrossing!