November 28, 2007

Is Derren Brown the greatest showman alive today?

Filed under: Magic — Joe Brewer @ 3:21 pm

When Derren first hit the UK TV scene 8 years ago it created a storm. Derren brought a much needed freshness to TV magic. Primetime UK TV magic has had a rough ride with magicians such as Paul Daniels ridiculing volunteers.

Derren Brown says explicitly at the begining of all of his shows that he does not use stooges, and all of the results are acheived by suggestion, psychology, misdirection and showmanship. Before he hit primetime TV Derren had a history in stage hypnosis and magic, in fact some of the magic advisors for his shows include Max Maven, Andy Nyman and Luke Jermay. These are people at the top of their careers because of their original creative thinking and memorable performances. But gradually, as Derren says in his first book “Pure Effect”, he gradually left behind the props and started to concentrate on magic of the mind.

So why does Derren have the edge with his performances? Whenever I watch his shows I am amazed at the seemingly fine line between what is real and what is not. He uses a lot of hypnosis, something that I am very familiar with, and alot of methods that a regular magician would use. However, it is very difficult to tell when he is using either, or even if he is using a mixture of both. When he is apparently reading someones mind, it is as though you are watching him read that persons mind. Derren has no props, so there is nothing for him to hide behind.

Here are a few clips from his first TV series:



The following performance is of a presentation called “smoke”. This is explained in full in his first book “Pure Effect”.

Unfortunately this and his second book, “Absolute magic” will never be reprinted.


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1 Comment

  1. […] although not completely surprisingly, Derren Brown has an interest in taxidermy. His book “Pure Effect” contains a picture of him sitting […]

    Pingback by Taxidermy site project | Brewsterware — January 24, 2008 @ 4:02 pm

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