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  • Stephen Simmons

A review of Derren Brown's "Showman"...from a magician!



A review of Derren Brown's “Showman” ...from a magician.


The sun was shining, a solid 28 degrees...In Spain, I know this because my weather app seems to always open on Palma...I however, was in a damp and grey Cornwall. I had been down for the week for a funeral. I live in Southampton but have a lot of family in Camborne, Cornwall, where I grew up so stayed a few extra nights.


I had seen Derren Brown was towards the start of his UK tour with “Showman” a couple of weeks earlier but had not yet gotten around to booking tickets.


My magician friend had posted on Facebook that he saw the show the previous night in Plymouth, and gave a rave review.


This was my reminder to book some tickets!


I quickly looked at his tour dates and it was not until the following year Derren’s show would be in Southampton. Oh well, I guess i'll just have to wait.


I was just about to buy the tickets, when I saw he was performing again in Plymouth at the Theatre Royal that evening.


I had little hope for any tickets still being available on the same day, as his shows are always sell out shows, but I had a quick look anyway.


To my surprise, 2 tickets were left...right in the middle of the theatre and pretty good seats!


Perhaps a couple had to give up their tickets last minute due to isolation or another circumstance...gutted for them...GREAT for me!


I whipped up the tickets as fast as I could, they was a fairly responsible £48 per ticket, not bad to see who is basically a national treasure live (His words).


I messaged an old school friend to join me and plans were made.


I was obviously excited...Derren’s work has been a huge influence for me over the years...When people ask “who is your favourite magician” my answer is always Derren.


Despite my love for his work, and having seen every stage show on youtube or channel 4 and every TV show he has ever made (multiple times), I had never seen him live... BUZZING!


We made plans to go up on the train, I was still slightly hanging from the Funeral the previous day. A bottle of wine on the train later and I was as sharp as they come and ready to be amazed.


Once at the venue, the stage curtains was already open with a phone placed on a table with a spotlight shining on it. What could this be for? The anticipation was building.



Now I will make a commitment in this blog to not give away any spoilers of what actually happens, because if you want see it, you certainly would not appreciate me giving away anything that happens!


The show got off to a very funny start...combining his usual suggestion and hypnotic techniques to create a really nice opening, a very powerful start. It certainly set us up for what was going to happen as the show progressed.


One thing was as clear as it ever has been, Derren is possibly a genius.


As a magician, I naturally look out for what effects, techniques and methods are being used to accomplish his performances. There wasn't much during the show that I hadn't seen him do before, or did not know the methods for...as where with some of his previous shows there was more that amazed me.


If you are not a magician however, I can assure you he is one of the best magicians in the world and without knowledge of the “magic” and “techniques” used...you would be amazed every step of the way, seeing one of the greats at his best...My friend was who joined me (a muggle type person), was pretty much blown away by what he did.


The theme was based on human connection, and there were parts of the show where many eyes in the audience were starting to moisten. Myself included!


It really is a journey, from serious and hard hitting, amazing magic and many funny moments.


Many credit points are given due to the whole Covid situation and the difficulties there must have been during production and rehearsals. Covid, in fact, played a huge part in Derren writing the show, and a very powerful message...which at the end all comes together in a beautifully crafted way. You will leave the show scratching your head thinking “how the f**k did he do that…?”. I was!


Despite a thin narrative throughout the show, which was more linking one thing to the next...and many effects that felt like re-workings of effects from previous shows, the ending really did tie it all together, and my god it was pretty amazing! A moment that I certainly will never forget and will probably have many more sleepless nights wondering how on earth he did it! (it really is still bugging me!).



Derren brought to the show his normal comic values and his charm...It certainly was a very enjoyable show, with a hard hitting ending.


Overall it was a fantastic show, one that I may well buy tickets to see again when he comes to Southampton!


It was his usual mix of mind reading and a hypnosis section...very entertaining throughout.


I'm giving the show a score rating of 5 out of 5 stars - A must watch if you enjoy magic. You will 100% be amazed and you WILL laugh.


Thinking of going? You can get tickets HERE

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Stephen Simmons

Stephen Simmons Magic circle magician