Just for Show: Derren Brown at the Kings Theatre, Glasgow

Derren Brown: Showman

King’s Theatre
297 Bath Street
Glasgow & the Clyde Valley
G2 4JN

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Derren Brown returns to the stage with his brand-new live show as the King’s Theatre welcomes the man dubbed ‘the Greatest Showman of them all’.

Brown, who began performing in 1992, is an English mentalist, illusionist, painter, and author. He made his TV debut with the show Derren Brown: Mind Control in 2000 and has since produced several on-stage and television shows. His one-man shows have received critical acclaim and many Olivier wins and nominations. In 2019, Brown made his Broadway debut with a stage show called Secret. He has also written books for both magicians and the general public.

From the very beginning of the show the audience is sworn to secrecy over what happens and we hope to honour this in our review. We recommend experiencing the show without any knowledge or suspicion of what might await. However, what is no secret is that the show has a strong sentimental value. The audience is asked to bring an item that holds special meaning to them and the results are mind-boggling and absolutely magical. What is different about this new show is that it feels more like a conversation between Brown and everyone present which makes the experience all the more special. His personal connection to the theme is something very special and touching to witness. 

He begins the show by asking the audience a few questions making it easier to narrow down those who wish to participate (pretty much most of the theatre audience!). All of those who are lucky enough to be chosen leave the stage wide-eyed while the audience continues to sit and observe in complete awe. A cameraman present on stage helps the audience to fully immerse in what is happening making sure no one misses a thing (you would think!). There is a sense of ‘togetherness’ in the audience as everyone questions in disbelief what is happening. Emotions run high as laughs as well as tears are shared, adding a layer of emotion and poignancy leaving the audience with thought-provoking questions in their minds. Brown truly is a magnificent performer who easily charms and engrosses the audience. 

Showman breezes by (2 hours and 20 minutes, including an interval), fully packed with surprises and unexpected twists – it could easily last double this as it transfixes everyone. The show ends with a bang and is a roaring success with everyone cheering loudly for the man himself. The performance and show itself feels like real magic and has the whole audience captured from beginning to end. As everyone gathers to leave, people all around are loudly and disbelievingly discussing the events that unfolded, questioning how it was all possible. 

With thanks to Joanna Zuchowska for this review.

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