Review: A magic miracle of a brain hack with Derren Brown at Bord Gais Energy Theatre
Magic/illusion: Derren Brown, BGE Theatre, Dublin
The public information voice-over immediately preceding a stage performance typically consists of a vaguely stern warning to turn your phone off and not blind anyone with flash photography. Derren Brown's is rather more severe.
Due to the heightened nature of the show, anyone leaving the auditorium will not be allowed back in. Also some of the imagery may disorientate, in which case best to look away for a few seconds.
Such an introduction portends an intense, nay terrifying, two hours in the company of the posh "mentalist and illusionist".
In the event, his 'Miracle' show's ambitions go beyond inducing heebie jeebies among the sensitive.
Reviewers have been permitted to attend on condition of not revealing spoilers but I don't think Brown would object if I describe the evening as a philosophical lecture dressed up with parlour tricks.
Some of those tricks are stunning - though a few are gimmicky and one or two a tad chintzy (especially the one requiring the entire room stay silent as Brown tries to divine the provenance of a squishy chewing sound I can't tell you about for fear the illusionist will materialise next to me and erase my mind).
The performance is very much of two halves, the first more lightweight, albeit weighed down with a Hallmark-esque self-help message, the second epic in ambition and provocative in execution.
- 'Dublin stands out in terms of audience energy' - Derren Brown set to blow our Irish minds with 'Miracle'
Neither would work without Brown's tensile-steel presence, combining improvised innuendo (there's a lot of end-of-pier to him) and the ability to imbue even the broadest patter with mystery. That he looked like a Bond villain in his angular grey suit didn't do any harm either. At the risk of being a bit grumpy, I'm not sure if Brown's pearls of insight were as profound as he would have us believe. Rather they felt like the sort of common sense most will have worked out by 30.
But the poetry was in the execution, not the sermon, and by those standards Miracle was magical.
'Miracle' runs until Saturday