There is always an air of anticipation as you sit down to watch Derren Brown live on stage, you never know quite what to expect or what might be thrown (quite literally in some cases) at you. One thing you can be certain about, whatever he does on stage, is always going to amaze and at times confuse you and with Showman, that’s exactly what happens.
Staying true to our promise of not giving anything in the show away, does make for an interesting review… what can, and can’t we talk about? Well let’s say from the off, that this is perhaps not the biggest, jaw-dropping show that Brown has produced, but what is certain, is that this production – his first live production in six years, is his most touching and personal of the lot.
Running at 2.5hours the show occasionally stumbles into a slower and more introverted performance, one that is perhaps more beneficial/interesting for the chosen participants/Brown than the audience. However, saying that Brown has an on-stage persona that is magnetic, he lulls you into a false sense of security. Beneath his calm exterior, there is always a joker waiting to come out and play a trick or two. It’s in these moments, that Showman really comes into its own. It has moments that make you laugh, make you cry, but overall makes you realise that the one thing that really matters – is life and how you live it.
Showman is more about us the audience than Brown as a performer, putting the focus on what we do and how we perceive things – it’s in this communal sense of sharing that something magical happens between the action on stage and the audience – a tangible sense of togetherness with complete and utter strangers that lasts for just a fleeting moment but will be remembered for years to come! The final reveal of the show is fantastic and the whole routine is worth the ticket price alone!
Whether you are a believer in the skills Brown demonstrates or an adamant sceptic. You can’t deny that Brown is a showman like no other, and this reviewer is glad that he is back on stage doing what he and the audience love so much!
Runs until 4 July and continues on UK Tour