Derren Brown: Miracle review at the Palace Theatre, London – ‘infinitely absorbing’
As with You Me Bum Bum Train, critics and audiences alike are sworn to collective secrecy so as not to spoil the enjoyment and surprise of future spectators for Derren Brown’s new show Miracle. So I could just say it is truly gobsmacking and leave it at that.
But the show is more than just an exercise in group astonishment, psychological and physical manipulation, though it is all of those things – it is also an intricate and heartfelt life lesson in the mind-games we play with ourselves, and how we can change our lives by changing the messages we tell ourselves. I’ll freely admit that it’s the sort of thing I’ve spent hundreds of hours and thousands of pounds in therapy trying to work on, but that Brown demonstrated its power to 1,400 enthralled spectators in just over two hours. With ticket priced from just £16 (up to £51), the result is a true theatrical and life bargain, and living proof of his possibly evangelical, metaphysical powers.
Except of course that Brown is primarily an entertainer, not a stand-in psychotherapist, even if he channels many of the lessons of therapy through his show. It is genuinely healing (in every sense) and inspirational, yet Brown – who has co-written it with Andy Nyman and Andrew O’Connor (who also co-direct) – has also created an infinitely absorbing theatrical puzzle, all the more so for being incapable of being solved.
But you can fix your life far more easily than trying to work out how Brown achieves his effects, and that will also have a potentially bigger effect than anything he has to show.