Derren Brown: Enigma Review and Blog

IF YOU’VE SEEN THE SHOW then please leave your analysis, ideas, observations, reviews etc in the forum / blog bit below, ESPECIALLY if you were chosen for anything!!

THE BELOW COMMENTS CONTAIN SPOILERS so please don’t read them unless you enjoy indulging in the fun of trying to analyse/figure out the tricks.

SERIOUSLY! After a short time, people’s contributions escalated, all in the name of a bit of fun, trying to figure out how various routines were done. Its massively spoilery, so please click away if this kind of thing annoys you.

My Review of the show:

Personally, Derren’s recent work has been a bit too tricksy for my liking – the frenetic running about with clipboards, envelopes, pens etc just screams ‘IRRITATING TRICKERY!’ and doesn’t capture the psychological intrigue of his earlier work. In fact, I would go as far to say that Derren has broken the rule he spelled out in Pure Effect, the need to convince the audience of the ‘process’ you are pretending to use for the illusion. Ever since Something Wicked This Way Comes, I don’t think “Wow – he’s reading their body language! How interesting, that people give away so much!” I just think “oh – its a trick”. In Some ways, I think its hypocritical of Derren to be so tricksy – because as Derren keeps campaigning about (for example in Confessions of a Conjuror) isn’t psychology and human behaviour fascinating enough, that we shouldn’t have to resort to lies and deception to create wonder? This is the argument he makes against psychics, but surely he’s in exactly the same boat by being a magician who pretends the trick works because of psychology.

I know you may think “oh its all entertainment! Chill out!” and you’d be right. But… I still think there is something a bit cringeworthy about dressing up blatant trickery as psychology. We can accept that Uri Geller is full of shit, because we know rationally that mystical nonsense is exactly that. But When people ending up (and there are plenty of them) end up thinking he can “implant ideas” and “read peoples thoughts” etc etc, his bullshit has overstepped a mark. Seeing him onstage talking about his dead grandfather… making some women from the back of the theatre cry on stage with her freshly engraved coin… I don’t know, it just makes me cringe. But thats just me.

Anyway, the first half of Enigma was very tricksy, the usual running around reminding the audience of whats happening, frisbees, marker pens, and then gasps of delight as various things are turned around to reveal something. As well as the virtuoso showmanship (not just the usual charismatic presentation but the acting, deception etc) I did love the humour of these shows, in fact they could be classed more accurately as comedy magic than psychological magic. Many moments had me laughing out loud. The tricksy-tricksy was redeemed ever-so-slightly in the second half, where Derren seemingly uses genuine hypnosis (although still could be the pseudo, self-conscious group-psychology fuelled ‘bow your head, look hypnotised and write something on this clipboard that I can use as a trick’ hypnosis that hes used in stageshows before.) I thought there were laws in Britain about public hypnosis acts anyway, perhaps he gets away with it by not using the word. A spirit cabinet routine similar to Seance was excellent as live entertainment, very visual and interesting. The problem here is that Derren’s rushing about strips it of the potential wonder and intrigue it could have had – had he framed it more patiently, it would have been a lot more eerie. On the whole though, although slightly flawed, very rushed and annoyingly tricksy in places, its very funny and interesting enough to make it worthwhile as live entertainment. Far shitter on the televised version, I have to say.


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  • Saw the show at Central theatre, Kent on the 19th April 09. I have to say it was good, but I have seen him do better shows on TV. A lot of it made me feel like I was watching a ‘standard’ magician rather than a magician/psychologist. As always he puts on a great show and worth going to see, but without giving too much away I would like to see it again somewhere else with different audience members.

  • saw enigma always Derren is totally amazing..but having seen his last 2 shows..this one was not as good…but excellent all the same!!

  • I saw Derren on 24th at Bournemouth BIC and i must say this is an outstanding show… the finale was just as good as any other if not better and without giving anything away, this will blow you away! Again Derren manages to put on a FANTASTIC show. I’ve now seen all live shows and there is nothing stopping me from going again. Fingers crossed the next show will be just as spellbinding and AMAZING as the last 3… Keep them coming Derren! We love em!!!

  • I too saw Derren’s new show Enigma on 24th at Bournemouth BIC and was very disappointed. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed his previous shows and was even lucky enough to meet him last year. However,in my humble opinion Enigma is just a re-hash of tried, trusted, and somewhat dated effects. Without giving too much away, David Berglas was doing Derren’s finale piece about 40 or so years ago. Falkenstein and Willard have toured the world for years doing an effect that Derren duplicates albeit rather badly. The ‘mind altering’ sequence simply isn’t convincing and the parlour tricks, no doubt many of you will have done at school. I am a great fan of Derren’s and have followed and admired him since he first became popular. Alas this show misses the mark by quite a long way.

  • I’ve been to Chatham! This post is quite long and is rather for those who have already seen the new show – it was great! The trix are new, the ways behind them are quite like they were last time. I was pleased to hear that the last tour’s intro music was replaced with something a lot more listenable. Looking at the instructions on the screen I of course immediately thought of the Oracle Act, so seeing that the paper slips were blank and that nothing else than the three favourite things was asked to be put on them, I was astounded that he would find out who wrote what! Unfortunately that wasn’t what happened but the lady in the front row, though Derren offered her the whole basket (why hamper??), picked his choice – a slip with McFly on.
    Derren: say five words totally unrelated to what is on the paper.
    Lady: cat, dog…
    Derren: now these five words will not only tell about what is written on the paper, even if you try not to, but also about your attitude towards sex and a number of other things. Next word? Lady (going red as a beetroot): ummm… 😀 did he say that on other shows? Then he said it’s got to be a music band with a name of an animal in it and he found out McFly. If the couple of slips he picks himself aren’t also planted, he’s flippin’ good at improvising. One of them had “chocolate and my two dogs” as three favourite things. At the loudest approval from the audience he remarks: well that’s got to be a big meal unless they are small dogs… He comes up with some really interesting explanations when guessing the childhood memory: “it’s easy to swing you back and forth, that means insecurity, and your hands at sides indicate a confined space – you got stuck in an elevator!” He asks left-handed people not to take part in this one, so when just after she wrote down the memory he asked her if she was left or right-handed, I was quite annoyed: did it not matter, so I excluded myself unnecessarily? Then just as I was typing this, it clicked: if you write with your left hand, you immediately cover what you’re writing, and if the paper is small enough, as it was in this trick, the writing is still covered when you get to the end of the line. Right hand is no problem – she couldn’t have used her left hand to cover what she wrote because she had to hold the paper in it. I’m prolly just making this up or remember wrong, but Derren asking what handed she was after he clearly asked for a right-handed person made it look he wanted to give a hint that the right handedness only mattered to the point until the memory got on the paper! Derren if you happen to be reading this, make sure you skip the next paragraph. So I suggest all the right-handed who want to take part in this trick to put the childhood memory together in advance, and learn to write it from right to left, so when you write with right hand, you’ll cover the writing the same way as if you wrote with your left and do that on stage. After all, it’s your business how you write as long as it’s with right hand as asked and he’s not supposed to need to see the paper anyway, is he? 🙂 I thought Nina Kulagina was as real as the Great Prestoni but to my surprise I could find her biography and even similar footages – she died in her sixties in 1990. Then Derren goes on saying how he visited her in her eighties to learn from her and he asks a person to get onstage and wrap a card up in tin foil while he looks away, then as he guesses the card right, says: “…tin foil is reflective. As you moved the card over it, I had a glimpse just enough to see the colour and the value.” More convincing explanations welcomed 🙂 When he asks for the watch with numbers on, he is offered one with no numbers at all so now he’s coming towards me! On the way someone tries to give him another watch, again with no numbers, so he ends up with mine – perfect, he says, and gives it to the audience member on stage. I’ve never seen my watch that big, shown up close on the big screen! Let me know how he did here because he consistently kept getting it well wrong, one out of three at best! Just as I was typing this I realised that the person with the deceased grandparent needed to be from upstairs to give Derren more time. After he told the story about his granddad and before the spectator got on stage, he picked up a piece of tin foil from the floor right next to the curtain, took it to the other side of the stage and put it behind the flip chart which was right next to the other curtain (well it wasn’t exactly a flip chart this time because it didn’t flip, but I don’t know its name), so that his hand disappeared there for a moment. Then he put his hand behind the box for a couple of seconds, to the side facing away from the audience. The wool with the little red box in it is just small enough to put your hand around it. Or perhaps it’s just me blowing things up, but if he did indeed want to tidy up the stage (why, btw?), it would have been a lot quicker to simply kick the tin foil further behind that curtain – let me know if he did it other times or it was just a one-off! I was thinking about the table as well – the one on which the box with the paper scroll of the previous tour was put – but as far as I can remember this table was already on stage when she said the name, please confirm or correct. When he says he would induce somnambulism after the interval and those who really don’t want to be in it can stay outside for that part, I was astonished to see that there were some who did that! Poor people! It’s not a trance induction but a test to pick out the most cooperative. I think saying “you’ll feel like standing up and don’t fight it because it’ll be stressful” was clever but when he said “it’s not like hypnosis, when someone talks you into it” I just hoped there were no hypnotists in the room. So, after he talked us into it, there were 4-5 people standing – I expected a lot more. I only didn’t stand up myself because I was in the front row, so I wanted to use the chance and take a good look from there (could’ve been even better if the flippin’ stage lights weren’t right in front of me, blocking view to the bottom third between the stage floor and the ceiling, including the spirit cabinet. Apologies to people behind me whose nerves I must have got on keep standing halfway up – one would think you can’t get better than row A!). When he was explaining that there was no tension in the subjects’ bodies so they couldn’t grip and they did indeed drop the drumstick, then they could hold it when he said he activated their hands, I tried not to think that it could have done more with them following instructions so as not to be sent off stage than with somnambulism, but we all know here what happens when we try not to think of a black cat 🙂 When on the picture I saw one of the backs of the chairs under the neck I got a bit worried but they did the safer version on the stage, with the back of the chair at the shoulder. The other difference was that on the picture the hands were at front while on the stage at the sides – allegedly the further back the hands are the more the back arches so the easier it is to stay stiff. The vinegar one looked cool! I think it was coke but I have no idea how it got into the glass! If there was a switch I missed it and if there was something about the bottle or the glass, I would assume the person asked to check them out would have noticed handling it! At the automatic writing I suspect the carbon envelope mentioned in post 408 – he was gripping on it with his right hand while the amount of money was announced. When he threw frisbees for two men to check the spirit cabinet out, one frisbee landed in the aisle and for a moment no one picked it up because there were all women sitting around it. Then a chap coming from somewhere around the back leapt on it with an amazing move, with such a speed that he slid half a metre on his belly with his hand on the frisbee – it still cracked me up the next day I thought of it! When Derren told the spec in the cabinet that there’s “no need” to touch the ball instead of “don’t touch it”, I was wondering if she had another one on her to put it in the glass (especially that sponge balls are very good at disappearing and appearing out of nowhere), so when afterwards she is asked if she moved the ball on the table, she can safely answer no – let me know if I remember wrong! What he did shortly after will stay in my mind as his most memorable trick, the one that caught my breath and made my heart skip a beat though it wasn’t even a trick as such: when instead of drawing the curtain, he moved it all from one side to the other to catch the medium out if she tried something. My jaw hit the floor. HECK YOU’VE GOT TO BE CAREFUL WITH THIS GUY – was all I could think of for the next minute. If the last trick was that complicated to get everyone concentrate
    hard enough not to notice how and when the box with the second set of pictures got in, well done – by the time I found out what to look for, it was too late! The other thing that caught my eye was the girl picking a picture – it looked more like Derren choosing and her approving it! The finale was amazing! I still liked the previous tour more, though – it had somewhat better put together stunts with no tricks repeated and not that much about death. After the show I could again see how good his manners are with the people waiting outside (short of Garricks last year). After about half an hour waiting I was shivering and the bloody migraine I was fighting with all week kicked in again but I knew it wasn’t in vain because there was neither Coop nor a note on the door to tell us he wouldn’t come out. But when he did, sadly the atmosphere was very different from when I first met him in Southampton two years ago, where he didn’t seem to mind the time going while he was chatting with us (and when we shook hands he pulled me in and kissed me on the cheek!:))). This time the guy who was with him kept rushing everyone to the point I started to feel bad for being there, then he had a mourn at me not to stop him for a photo when he saw me turning my camera on, for which I responded in kind that I never meant to. When Derren finally came out and said “thank you for the watch” it took me a moment to remember what he was talking about – besides feeling unwell and being distracted by that annoying chap (I only hope I didn’t appear depressed), it took me totally unexpected that he recognized me! The autograph I walked away with made all the waiting worth! “To Rita – thank you for the watch! Lots of love, Derren”

  • I went to see Derren Brown in blackpool last night and thought it was outstanding.. I was one of the best things i have ever seen and messed with my mind all night. I havent been to see previous ones but if they are anything like this, it certainly wont be the last one i go to.

  • I would like to thank Derren brown for this ultamate piece of mind crontrol at the end of his act: I will now have Mc(flaming)Fly stuck in my head for the rest of the week! grrr.

    Ace show 🙂

  • Hi, I am wondering if you could explain to me (maybe email would be better) how he gets the race track to pay out on losing tickets. I’d also be interested to know any other information you have on the reveals. (websites, etc.) Cheers.

  • In reference to Rita’s post about the vinegar trick I thought it was done with a special cap (holding a smal amount of vinegar) in the top of the bottle. When he had the person from the audience test it they dripped it on their hand. Then when Derren Brown poured it into the glass for the person in a trance to drink, he unscrewed the top, apparently for practical reasons so it didn’t take ages to pour but I also think it would have allowed him to pour what probably was coke or similar coloured liquid.

    About the box and picking the piece of paper with McFly, donuts, etc all the pieces of paper said the same thing. It seemed quite a big box for 60 pieces of paper and it made me think that there was a compartment underneath with all the real ones in, and on the top all the ones with McFly in.

    As for the deceased relative coin thing I was unsure if the person was a plant. The reason I say this is because if I was asked on stage and was nervous I would need to be told what to do and when by Derren explicitly i.e. open the padlock, lift the lid look inside etc. Once the woman had been told to open the padlock she did all the stages in exact time with Derren telling the story of his grandfather. A point that really stuck in my mind is when he said, ‘ I opened the box’ and the woman was already opening it.

    I just want to say I had a great time and the man and the people who work on the show are amazingly talented and the finale was brilliant. This was my first show but I will definately go to his next as me and my girlfriend both thought it was brilliant.

  • This material, and indeed the very format of the show, is recycled and tired; however, massively enjoyable for a first timer to Derren’s live work.

  • me and my wife went to see derren brown last night at blackpool. it was the first time we have seen one of his shows live and thought it was a fantastic experience! we loved the new show and cant wait to see it again on tv! ive seen many live shows in my time i.e music, comedy ect… but this had to be the most entertainting ever!!! thank you derren brown for mind fu*cking me i loved it!!!

  • Well, firstly i must say i found the show extremely entertaining. I am a magician, and despite what people have written, the effects and presentation used by Derren are first class. I am disapointed to see that even after Derren asks at the end of his show that no-one write a review and spoil it for those who are still to attend, that posts from individuals are listed with a blow by blow account of what happens in the show and subsequent ‘ideas’ of how the effects are done. Why not just enjoy it for what it is and let those who are due to attend form their own opinions.

    Keep up the great work Derren

  • hello, have to say derren brown was amazing last night. went to see his last show twice, this one was much better.

    i don’t think the deceased relative coin was a plant at all, the woman was sat right behind me all night, she came back crying and in the interval i heard her ringing her family to tell them what happened, but who knows!

  • I agree with mc, I don’t think she was a plant. But it would be interesting to see if the name of the deceased person was the same, or different for each night?!

    On the Blackpool show on 7th May, it was the ladys grandfather named Raymond…

  • Saw Enigma in Blackpool. Weakest live show yet but still enjoyable and impressive. Whilst the live shows’ tricks are deducible I would really like to hear from anyone who has ideas on how he did the photos trick in The System. Or is it a case of too much editing?

  • watched it last night in grimsby, was amazing, thought that this show was still good, although i was a little more impressed last year, i but the finale was amazing and i think this time it was more convincing he didnt use stooges, as most of the people chosen were from my college, and talking to them im pretty sure they wernt stooged haha

  • Alan, on the show I’ve been on Derren certainly didn’t ask anyone not to write a review. It was only the ending he asked to be kept in secret and not to spoil it, and indeed, no one here did, so I assume he asked the same thing at the other shows and we haven’t done anything he asked us not to and no one bans who are due to attend to form their own opinions. I don’t think that enjoying the show and trying to pick it apart exclude each other, on the contrary! For example, isn’t this one with the vinegar (thanks, Mark, I never knew their caps were like that!) brilliant in its simplicity!

  • Replying to Fiona’s question

    The young lady who was asked on stage in Sheffield on the 20th May her grandmother was named Lily.

  • in reply to Fiona – ican asure you that the woman and the grandparent is not a plant because i was the one called on stage and i have never been sp shocked in my life – but ulike on the 7th my granmother was called mary – so it did change – and i can asure you tha there were no compartments in the box and i never took the boxes out until he had fiished telling the story of his grandfather –

    The guy is a genius!

  • can i just say one of the most amazing things i have ever seen, i left speechless, if its all true, then fantastic, if its all fake, i can only say he faked it good, either way well worth a watch.

  • I was the girl that drank the vinegar and wrote down the number… I remember it all – and did it all… I even thought, “I know this is vinegar, I don’t want to drink it” but I did. I have no idea how.
    A very strange evening indeed. But very good… I’m just a bit gutted that I missed a lot of it!

  • Great, well I finally saw it. Having seen the three previous shows and everything else, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the more psychological second half of Enigma, with the hypnosis routines. Clever how he (falsely) sidestepped admitting the use of hypnosis, presumably to avoid the UK council licensing laws for public acts of hypnosis. Personally, I found the usual frantic running round the stage reminding people what is happening with regards to cards, writing, envelopes and what-not a little tedious and tricksy. The spirit cabinet was much more engaging, and I have yet to figure it out.

    Details from Plymouth, 23rd May (SPOILERS AHEAD):
    Guy at front to choose random words: Insect, Music, Rubbish, Scottish, Cheesy (mcfly), book, myth, prostitute (jesus) Sparkly, Thailand, Disgraced (glitter, numbers referring to dictionary 22917, page 229 seeming to be quite late on in a small dictionary for a word starting with G? Perhaps not) Foil: 404, 3, ace diamonds. Name of granddad: Ernest.

    Some notes: the guy who chose the random words had a tattooed head and was the butt of a lot of jokes from Derren, based on being ‘alternative’ etc. E.g. when the middle guy had his hands wrapped in foil, D said something like “looks like something you’d do in your spare time”. I wondered if these jokes were spontaneous or if he always picks someone alternative looking. Other jokes: “Could I just get you to try… heroin?” Tying up girls hands in spirit cabinet: “you look like you’ve done this before”. Foil grabbing: Rita you’re right, he takes a piece of foil to behind the board holder, then grabs something as well as ANOTHER bigger piece of foil which he then takes to the opposite side of the stage! The thing he palms he puts to the back of the box, but I cant see how its related. It must be the coin somehow, maybe going through a slot somehow into the little box. The string perhaps only goes round most of the box, not all of it. The childhood memory: similar nonsense grabbing of the shoulders, swaying etc and fitting it with the memory. Logically, Derren must somehow get the information written down, because there is simply no need to actually write it down (as with most of these routines). If it WAS body reading, the kid could have just said “yes, that was it”.

    Some bits that made me laugh: “guess whom” (unsure why, my quirky sense of humour), a kid with a baseball cap brought the frisbee up, D said “leave that there, they aren’t cheap and I don’t think I can trust you”.

    The finale was great, but the trick leading to the finale was WAY too convoluted, I lost track of what the hell was supposed to be going on with so many numbers, letters, cards, swapping around etc, it wasn’t very elegant. This style of trick bores me slightly because I know its just a tricksy-trick, and by the end I was quite tired (and hot in the theatre) and just couldn’t be bothered to keep up with all the running around and fast talking.

    On the whole though, great show, but I think I prefer it as comedy (which it is) to magic (which is dull at times), and was redeemed by the cool hypnosis stuff and spirit cabinet.

  • Saw Derren in Plymouth on Saturday night. Great show as always and a great finale.
    On the subject of Victoria who was apparently in a trance, on stage she claimed not to remember a thing yet in the post above she’s saying she remembers it all…and then in the next line not.
    It’s people like that who are just desperate to get on stage and will do their best to fake that kind of ruin it for everyone else. It was quite obvious she wasn’t in any sort of trance…ie stiff body, trying to catch the drumstick when she shouldn’t have reacted…unlike the guy who was great and an ideal candiate.
    Similarly, earlier in the show Derren asked for someone who had lost a grandparent they were very close to. The girl who came up could barely remember a few decent things to say about her grandfather. The trick itself was superb and would have produced a spectacularly emotional reaction had the volunteer been a genuine candidate.
    I’d love to get on stage…when the trance section was being performed my partner was nudging me to stand so I had the chance to be picked…however, I didn’t. I have more respect for Derren as a performer, and also to the audience who are watching.
    It’s a shame these people’s ego overtakes their desire to see a genuinely superb show. Shame on you fakers.

  • Saw the show this evening in Plymouth, (sunday 24th may) having been a big Derren Brown fan for a while this was my first chance to see him. I found the spirit cabinet little hard to believe, perhaps im just cycnical but to me, perhaps they were doing things in their supposed sleeping states, it could harder to work out, but to start with i definitely was not convinced by it and found it myself the worst part of the show.
    I’m slightly dissapointed having read that the slips of paper produced at the begining were the same at all the other shows, with the same jokes used such as the dogs. But then it is expected that some parts were to be set up like this.
    I love the ending, i thought this was very clever, much reminded me of an ending he did to do with choosing a ‘random’ word from a newspaper that someone had torn up.
    With this being the first live show of his i had seen, i did very much enjoy myself, however i can’t help but feel, some of the trickery is not as good as his earlier stuff, and often the brilliance of it gets lost within the hastiness and somewhat less impressive time fillers.
    None the less, i am still a huge fan and will contine to follow Derren’s very impressive and clever work.

  • i saw the show in plymouth last night and it was amazing i have wanted to go and see one of his shows for a long time now and definately wasnt disappointed there are a few tricks which me and my friend think we know how he did them but it is all amzing all the same, would definately go again. The main bit that made me laugh though was when he was walking around trying to find people after putting them into trance and he fell up the stairs, that sorta thing makes me laugh. AMAZING would recommend!!!

  • Jay #25: They weren’t faking, it was suggestion based hypnosis. Really, its actually easier to accomplish hypnosis on a tiny sample of highly suggestible people (which is what the ‘binaural sound’ technique achieved from hundreds of people) than it would be to ensure some fakers pulled off a decent job of it.

  • Will #29 : I’m not saying that everyone was faking. Only this one particular subject. The guy who was placed across the two chairs was a superb candidaite, when he fell back into their arms, he went straight back like a board. However, the girl, was the total opposite. Derren was explaining that she was limp and couldn’t control herself, she was stiff as a board and resistant. When told she couldn’t hold a stick she tried to catch it. At the end of the section she told Derren she couldn’t remember a thing, yet in the post above she says she remembers it all, then in the next line wishes she hadn’t missed so much. So which is it???
    This aside, I hope the point I’m making is clear. For a good entertaining show to reach it’s maximum effect you need genuine candidates.

  • Jay #30 Victoria wasn’t at the Plymouth show, she posted on the morning of the Saturday so was obviously at a different night (also answering Kitty #26). Different people respond to trance differently in terms of what they remember (with highly suggestibles its usually in response to what they think they are expected to remember). I noticed the drumstick thing aswell – however I still think that at that exact moment she thought she was expected to grab it – it was only a twitch. Derrens explanation of the effects of hypnosis aren’t really rules-of-thumb, he was just using it to demonstrate suggestion, the responses were hanging on his every word (which is why he was careful to let them know exactly what he was expecting). I still think it would be harder to act than to actually just be in a suggestible trance (and these people were HIGHLY suggestible).
    With regards to Victoria saying she wishes she hadn’t missed so much, she might have meant being in the spirit cabinet, missing what the effect looked like from the outside. I’ll email her and clarify…

  • I was in Oxford. I drank the vinegar and I wrote the number… went way out into the audience… chose some random guy who happened to have that amount in his wallet. I can’t remember the very beginning when he supposedly came and talked to me, but the rest I was fully conscience for – however not in the least bit embarrassed (and being quite a shy person this was quite a shock)- well I wasn’t fully conscience but I heard everything going on and I was aware of it all… but I just did it. It was a very odd feeling. and I definitely had my eyes closed for most of the trick. I have previously been hypnotised to quit smoking and have not smoked since then. I did not initially think it had worked due to the fact that I was aware of everything. However – now I am not so sure.
    It was very very odd and I wish I knew how I wrote down the amount that guy had in his wallet and how I walked some way to find him… all while in the back of my mind I was thinking … “I’m going to mess up his whole show… I have no idea what I am doing!”

  • in regard to saying I missed it… I wish I could have WATCHED it – rather than had my eyes closed for the part that I became a part of… sorry for the confusion.

  • I’ve long been a fan of Derren’s TV work, but the show at Plymouth was the first time I’ve seen him live. Really enjoyed the show. Yes, some of the material was variations on stuff he’s done previously, and I think I can hazard a guess at how some of the tricks are done, but that didn’t detract from my enjoyment at all. I caught a frisbee to take part in the finale which was a fun way to end the evening. Quite glad it was just a pick a random number, stand in a line, kind of trick not one where he messes with your head!

  • i saw it last night (2th of may at northampton derngate)

    he had me induced in a trance and got me up on stage, and made me go riggid like a plank of wod, then layed my riggid body across the backs of two chairs. it was all kinda blurry to me but my mum told me exactly what happened. it was fantastic, he shook my hand ! i was like omgd hes my hero lmfao. he genuinly is one of the coolest people alive.
    the climax to enigma was also fantastic.

    (8)obviously, the order will be… 😉



  • went last night to show in norwich thought derren was outstanding as usual really great show not as good as the last one but still great and the girls grandmother in norwich was lilly

  • I am going to see his show in a weeks time, very excited, just wanted to ask how long the show is including the interval??

  • I’ve been to Reading! The show got a lot better since Chatham, and I don’t even mean that that one was bad! SPOILERS AHEAD!
    I spotted just now that the guy on the loudspeaker says “a holiday place you would like to McFly to” as an example for a favourite thing. Cialdini should have seen how people rushed down to the basket (me included) in the moment he said there were only 60 slips. This time the hamper was at the edge of the stage and at one side of it was the lady, holding the paper slips and the pencils to the front of if. I put my slip on the other side as if to write, and checked the hamper out as much I could without looking suspicious. I lifted it – it was a lot heavier than I expected – tugged on its inside covering (it was attached to the rim), then I put my hand in but I couldn’t find anything unusual. Then I saw the assistant put her hand in it as she put it on the table.
    Is it her doing the swop?
    Curiosity took over the nerves: I walked upstage and reached in to the basket to take a slip out, but I couldn’t feel none, so I had to step closer and look into it! They were all there, heaped on the opposite end my hand was. I picked one and as I turned around, a stage hand was looking at me from behind the curtain and told me to leave. Alright – I mumbled, trying not to run, dreading to be questioned (though I had an excuse ready) and sympathizing deeply with the last tour’s envelope collector who’s been through this 116 times.
    The slip was not McFly, so the assistant just puts them all on one side to get it ready for the switch. The slight setup change the next day gave me the impression that I was noticed messing with the basket, just not crossed the line that they could tell me to sod off. This time some of the pencils were on the side of the basket that was free to approach before, so now I couldn’t put my paper there. I put it in after writing FLY SWATTER! on it.
    At the Guess Who game he gave the whole pack of photos (people included are not to worry – the faces he takes the p out of are also planted, which of course doesn’t make his remarks any less funny!) to the three specs and they were allowed to keep it for at least a minute while Derren turned his back on them talking to the audience. They were to keep their chosen photo until all three of them picked one (apparently so that they won’t choose the same), then to give it all back to Derren, so I guess it’s not based on sleight of hand.
    He had a little problem with the girl with the childhood memory: after he shown to the audience the name he predicted, and asked who was with her, she said a completely different name.
    Be honest – he told her and she replied she was.
    Then he asked her if there was anyone else with her – and then she said the right name.
    I don’t know if she planned this but I think it was brilliant. She didn’t lie but simply used one more name, and I liked just as much that Derren was one better! The fact that they all happen to mention a name and especially that he dared to openly question her honesty about it makes me think that the paper asks for one. As far as the audience knows, there’s only the memory on the paper, so how the hell Derren knew a name? Wow!
    At the tin foil he says he learnt to see through it from someone whose name sounded something like Analys Vronio. After a couple of searches I found the following (I tried to put it in plain English as much as I could):
    “Voronoi diagram is a geometric construct used to analyze protein. We can imagine that we tightly wrap a tin foil around a set of points, the resulting body is formed by the tin-foil and space enclosed within.”
    Geez I never thought he was into stuff like that!
    My watch was up in the air as soon as he asked for one and he took it again – what are the odds of that! And he did three out of three again! Asking one of the specs if he had an idea how he did it is a brave move – what will he do if he gets a nice and confident “yes” reply?? Changes the subject in front of everyone?
    Will, you’re right about the medal – I thought he put the wool in through openings but there’s a flat tube through the wool and the boxes, just wide enough for the coin. I too noticed him taking another piece of foil from behind the board holder – besides taking the medal out of it I also believe he hides the coin slide in it he removes from the box after it did its job (the little problem is that it makes it look even more suspicious: why to move the foil only to take it back where it was?). The two elastic bands on the red box hold the slide’s end in place and also shut the box after he pulls the slide out of it. What a fantastic presentation of a very simple trick.
    Mark, the spec is not a plant – first he gave the instruction, then he went on with the relevant part of the story.
    One more thing – while he is sitting on the chair telling the story, there’s a big moth or something like that slowly flying through from left to right, past above his head. I should think it’s a coincidence even though it consistently happened every time, but it adds so much to the atmosphere – I just thought, “oh, are spirits that small?” Anyone else noticed this? It reminded me of the rose chafers I used to pick on the way to school then let them go in the classroom – they are harmless but big and noisy and made most of my classmates scream!
    About the small spirit cabinet (if I hear it right, he calls it a headache – cephalalgia – any idea why??): he lights a candle on the top of it after he draws the curtain, that’s probably a way to put the ball in the glass somehow.
    At the vinegar one after the audience member tested it, he first tried to pour it in the glass through the shaker part, which he then removed. This shown everyone that he had the practical reason for taking it off Mark described earlier, and lets a tiny bit of vinegar into the glass what made the trick a lot more convincing for the spec who had it and also for the audience: after Derren asked her how it felt she said “it was like vinegar but tasted water”. I think the person who tests the vinegar could easily nick the inner cap as it is left on the table!
    When Derren asked the girl in the cabinet if she rang the bell she replied yes but she said she didn’t touch it.
    At a point the guy watching the cabinet on the left suddenly jumped as if getting an electric shock.
    “Are you all right?” Derren asked.
    “Yes. I just felt a sharp pain in my bum.”
    Same at the other night: the man on the left leapt forward and said something touched him. Like with the girl in the forest, the circumstances were so it got a great reaction out of them! Besides cracking everyone up, I think its other purpose was to distract them from possibly thinking of looking behind the curtain – Derren appeared to grow increasingly nervous about this, trying his best to arrange them just further from it than an arm’s stretch!

    Will, thank you for the review! Interesting you say that he used genuine hypnosis – I have very little experience with it but EVERYTHING convinces me that this one was exactly the ‘bow your head, look hypnotised and write something that I can use as a trick’, otherwise I would not have dared to stand up trying to be picked! (I’ve come a long way from thinking that all he did was NLP and hypnosis, lol…)

    1. The stunts. We already know that they were fake hypnotic tricks which don’t need trance. For the automatic writing (Victoria, you’re not to read this sentence if you were lucky enough to miss it the first place), we remember the carbon envelope from the last tour. Mark gave an excellent explanation for the vinegar and the chair one brought a memory up in me I thought I have long forgotten – a P. E. game at school when I was about seven years old. One mat is the van, the other one at the other end of the gym is the freezer and “frozen poultry” is to be transported from one to the other. Two kids carry a third one held at shoulder and ankles, whose job is to remain stiff and not to “defrost” on the way, and the two carriers are to be quick enough for this. It took about as long as Derren keeps the subject on the chairs, and usually nine out of ten could do it fine (I would love to see Derren’s face if someone explained this on stage as the childhood memory!).

    2. The patter. If Derren was right about that the subjects reacted the way they did because of the somnambulistic state, he wouldn’t have need to let them know in advance what they were supposed to do before he demonstrated. I agree with you replying to Jay that they weren’t faking as there was no hypnosis there to fake. What Jess faked, if that was what she did, was the willingness to go along with what Derren says. I also agree that Victoria missed a lot because she was blindfolded for quite a while (and not because she was in a state to remember what she thought she was expected to).
    And one more note – at the first night Derren forgot to “wake up” those who might have “gone into trance” but didn’t stand up, and the sharp noise was only added at the later shows! I don’t think he would have forgotten it if the induction was genuine!

    3. The induction. As there is no need for hypnosis here, I believe it is safer for him to have specs who cooperate out of normal willingness than for trance should they prematurely get out of it, so the induction is better NOT to be genuine, but knowing Derren, it will really LOOK so.
    If I’m correct, the beat the brainwaves tune on is heard if the two original tones play at once but separate in each ear so one ear doesn’t hear what the other one does – in other words, it will only work with stereo headphones! I think if Derren explains this to the council (or whoever he needs it to, I’m really unfamiliar with this side of it) the legal part is sorted. Please let me know if I’m on the wrong track here or not – I know I’m absolutely not supposed to go against a hypnotherapist’s judgement but it so looks to me that it is the good old “looks as genuine as possible” Derren Brown recipe again!

  • Rita – you’re amazing! Awesome write-up, and I LOVE your daring sneaky tricks like exploring the basket. You’re very deserving of the dvd 🙂

  • Hey that one about hot chocolate and my 2 dogs was in my show 2! either they swap the box OR he just made that one up for a laugh…Any way I saw it last night(june 1st @ newcastle) my dad was chosen with the frisbee 2 do the seven men goose moose apple juice thing (he was no.4 and ice cream) and a friends sister did the child spirit ball in glass thing

  • Saw it last night at Newcastle
    I’ve seen the other live shows on TV and thought this was just as good or better, but there was nothing as exciting as when he is in that gorrila costume in the other one.
    The girls grandmother was called Edith but I don’t remember the going to pick up the foil thing,
    One of my favourite parts was when he is telling the story about the beach which turns out to be a punch and judy!
    I think that the pictures at the end had those black corresponding numbers stuck onto them before the envelope was take out of the side of the stage so that it wouldve been in the right order no matter where they were standing,
    I liked the choose confetti thing but to be fair we chose the number not the picture, that was added later. A great night though and the mcfly video with derrens mother was a brilliant suprise.
    The words on the paper were McFly, Pizza and Intercorse

  • i was the girl in the velvet curtained booth and i swear i dont remember doing anything in that booth somepoints i did feel like there was someone in there with me but i couldnt say for sure, i have no idea when he put those two bits of chalk slate together how on earth writing got onto the bottom one because i swear i was holding onto the two boards the whole time, my only answer is that i was doing it sub-conciously but that realy scares me to think i was doing things that i dont even remember doing or touching

    freaked me out!


  • Hi Catriona – I think this is where Derrens style becomes a bit problematic – if you leave the show under the impression that you did something unconsciously, it could have all sorts of weird negative effects on your feelings of self-control – when in fact I’m sure a big dirty trick lied behind the effect!

  • well i dont like the fact that i might have done something without even realising it or touching it
    the whole time in that booth i was sure i didnt move but i could hear the bell and the tambourine i think its amasing how he does it and would love to know what actualy happend in that curtain
    mmm…i do feel a bit vulnerable

  • Catriona, what else did you hear? Did you hear the curtain move behind you, footsteps etc? That last bit when the tambourine was placed on your head, you must have heard something else in that cabinet?

  • some points i did feel like there was someone there and i did feel like someone nudged me at one point
    but there were a couple of times i was definatly sure i didnt do anything like throq the tambourine while being tied up. i didnt do it but never sensed anyone else in there with me i heard no curtains move or any footsteps

    however it was very hard to concentrate the more derren kept sending me to sleep the deeper sleep i go into and the more confused i got

  • Did you feel under any conflict to go into a trance, or did you realise that you had no choice? What did it feel like? I am certain that you didn’t throw the tambourine.

  • no conflict or choice i just did it when i was asleep all i could hear was derrens voice i wasnt aware of the audience or anything around me i was aware that he could lift my arm up but i was soo relaxed i didnt do anything about it i just was asleep like very dosey the more and more he did it i noticed my breathing slowing down.

    but if i didnt want to do it wouldnt have happend. i believed the music worked and i wanted it to work i wasnt sitting there thinking how does this work how is he making me sleep like that i was just lisening to his voice and slightly aware of the things moving about the booth

  • Watched the show last night at Glasgow, fantastic show and a great night.
    A few plants that you can tell of like the guess whom games some photos just added in for the jokes, also the 3 favourite things obviously that has to be a set up to make the spectacular ending work.
    Seen alot of similar stuff on his TV shows and DVDS but this was the first time I have seen him live and thoroughly enjoyed it hope he tours again next year!!

  • Some right pretentious reviews here! Have taken their cue from the lead blog, I think. Some of you folks need to get a life. DB is a showman and he puts on a brilliant show. Period.

  • Catriona, what night were u in the booth, because on my night I think there was a girl who he kept calling ‘Brittania’ but I’m sure that’s not what she said her name was lol.

  • I was at the show in Glasgow last night. For everyone who thinks that the person who was up on stage for the coin for the deceased grandparent, I can assure you that in my experience that certainly is not true. I was that soldier and I was amazed at the trick, I have no idea who he did it and to be honest, I dont want to know. I would rather keep that in my memory as a really really amazing trick!!! My family have been gobsmacked all day as I have told them what happened. I was absolutely speechless for the rest of the night and people who know me know I like to talk….quite a lot!!!! I cannot recommend this show enough to people who are thinking of going to see him. Superb, thank you for a brilliant night Derren, my husband and I think you are amazing x

  • Sometimes the most obvious explanations are the correct ones. In the Glasgow show I noticed when he asked the woman the name of her grandmother that he said it out loud very clearly and told her to wait a moment as if he was thinking of not using her. He then invites her up. I’d say his stalling tactics were so the coin could be engraved offstage. No idea how they get it to him (I was just enjoying the show at the time rather than trying to work out the method). But I’m sure he uses a slight to switch the coins as when the woman looks at the coin it’s “blank side up” and he says “oh you need to turn it over” and does this for her. Just my two bobs worth.

  • GMac – if you are referring to the Glasgow performance on Sunday the 7th, I can promise you that there was no quick switch involved. I was that lady on the stage and as soon as I opened the box, it was right side up with the writing pointing out at me. No idea how he done it and to be honest I don’t want to know – knowing how he does all these things, in my opinion, spoils it. It was a great night of entertainment and I wouldn’t hesitate to go see him again.

  • Hi all – I was at the show in Glasgow and happened to recognise the woman who went up on the stage for the dead grandparent routine (think she said her name was Molly), as someone I had worked with as an extra for a talent agency in Glasgow. Whether or not she was ‘faking it’ I don’t know for certain but she used a false name onstage, which convinced me that she was a stooge and kinda ruined the show for me (because I want that job!!!). I was surprised noone realised as the acting on stage was pretty obvious, but maybe it’s just a trade thing!

  • Hi Sandra – I know for a fact that no stooges were not used as part of this trick, it must just be a coincidence. Lots of behaviour can look like ‘acting’ if you’re expecting it to be, nerves, confusion etc often look like bad acting. Derren doesn’t use stooges, I know how the effect is achieved, and there have been many more testimonials from people involved in the trick who were genuinely surprised. If you think about it, its far easier and safer for Derren to devise a cunning illusion than it would be to rely upon ‘stooges’ acting well enough and keeping the secret.

  • I was at the Glasgow show last night and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. Just as I think I’ve worked out how he did some of his tricks I’m equally bamboozled by just as many and that’s exactly how I’d want it.
    A great evening of entertainment very nearly ruined by some psychotic woman who kept shouting out at inappropriate times, thankfully she either chose to leave or was ejected by the venue staff during the interval to everyone’s benefit.

    Vicki – I certainly didn’t think you were faking it, you looked genuinely shocked and emotional to me.

    Just as another aside my friend was lucky enough to get on stage at the friday show in Glasgow and he held the dice with the foil wrapped round his hands, he had absolutely no idea what number was on the dice so how did Derren? It was defintely different number each night, he said his was a 2 and last night it was a 6.

  • Was at the shows in Glasgow on Thursday and Sunday.

    No idea how the coin trick was done on the Thursday. Having read the comments above after that show I watched Derren during the coin act to see if there was a bit of foil on the ground. Sure enough there was, and when placed behind the whiteboard you could see the pick up.

    The jewelery box was then put in the back of the wooden box, assume there was some form of mechanical winding mechanism for the wool

  • i saw derren last night on the opening night in London, had front row seats which was excellent. but it did mean we weren’t chosen for anything but as my wife had been on stage twice before with him in previous shows she wasn’t bothered..
    As a fan of derren i was looking out for the “drop in” and caught quite a few but this kind of ruined it for me as i worked out “mcfly” “confetti” and the number 7 & 5 were going to be used at the end and they were eg when they asked you to put the piece of paper in the basket at the being the voice said “where would you like to mcfly to”
    anyway i think he is amazing. The only thing i would say if you look at he’s previous work the show is a rework of a lot of those tricks….. but i still love and would see him again, ive just got his audiobooks as well….

  • Sorry, I am a big fan of Derren, however the Enigma show was very poor. His work has always entrigued me, especially as he puts down the ‘fake’ oracles and fortune tellers, and all things spiritual, and reveals to the audience how for hundreds of years illusionists have sucked us into believing their tricks! He normally demonstrates why he can do what he does, and not pass them off on their own merit as entertainment. If this was the first time you have seen him live, then you will have enjoyed it, but it was a bit of remix from existing work.

    What really let it down for me, was a card trick! I mean come on Derren… and at the end, he really over emphasised the random part… we get it! Its random but you somehow forced it… from this one order of so called random that he somehow ‘guessed’, he made far to many claims on this one force. I mean at least 5 or 6 reveals, with full blown audience rapture for just one trick. Even the mcfly bit in the song made you realise his deception at the start when he claimed to have never heard of the band. Come on…

    Overall very poor, but the guy is still a genius and his TV work is just superb. Best remembered for me, in the system, (horses and in particular the coin toss) and Trick or Treat I am sure he new TV work will continue to blow my mind.

  • I thought Enigma was great but I was appalled that the cards were a set up.

    Why does everyone think the system was so great? In fact I thought it was probably the worst thing he’s ever done. I do love Derren but that’s what I think.

  • I was there last night and came away just a little disappointed. Although I respect Derren and am in awe of how hard he must work to do this show, I felt it was a little predictable. Maybe I’m becoming cynical, but he chose mainly young (more susceptible?) people. Also, when I was leaving, I was surprised by how fellow audience members were saying that they were stunned and shocked fellow audience members after the show and couldn’t believe what they’d just seen. Walking home afterwards, my husband and I half-sussed nearly all his tricks and having read the above comments, we were on the right track and neither of us are magician-minded at all!! Shame. Still, I can’t wait for the TV shows coming in September.

  • I was there last night and came away just a little disappointed. Although I respect Derren and am in awe of how hard he must work to do this show, I felt it was a little predictable. Maybe I’m becoming cynical, but he chose mainly young (more susceptible?) people. Also, when I was leaving, I was surprised by how fellow audience members were saying that they were stunned and shocked after the show and couldn’t believe what they’d just seen. Walking home afterwards, my husband and I half-sussed nearly all his tricks and having read the above comments, we were on the right track and neither of us are magician-minded at all!! Shame. Still, I can’t wait for the TV shows coming in September.

  • I was a first timer at Derren Brown and i can’t honestly believe that people can’t be shocked by his work. He is a genius, and i think people are being quite cynical…

    Why can’t we just respect his work
    not everything needs an answer

  • I was there last night (June 19) and had a fun time. Yes, looking back on the show, I can guess how he did a few things by trickery but it was still fun. It’s a combination of stage presentation and humor that makes it work for me.

    We had the same words as Leon had in post 43, so it’s clear that the words are not random. Didn’t really matter, however, because part of the fun is in being misled. At least he’s not misleading me in order to steal my money….

    The guy on the left jumped up off his chair at one point in the spirit box trick. I guess that was to distract us but that might have been tough to pull off as well. It kind of looked like his chair had suddenly broken.

    To hear him doing the bizarre “hum” with the changing pitch was hilarious. It was obviously either a distraction or there just for humor value but it made the trick that much more interesting. He forewarned all of us not to laugh while he did it, which made it that much harder not to laugh.

    On our night, ice cream was number 1 and confetti was # 5. The guy had 48 pounds 11 pence but it was the *second* person chosen by the “sleep-walker” because the first person had no money whatsoever.

    I have a hypothesis about how he figures out the names of the two girls (Sarah and Jenny on our night) in the childhood incident bit. I’m betting that he’ll improve that bit and be able to do it for left-handers someday. It was clever how he put the right-handed requirement into the middle of a list of innocuous other requirements.

    The grandfather’s name was spelled “Gwyn” on the coin but the girl originally said “Gywn”, which seemed like an odd spelling to me, and was pronounced “gwinn”. She didn’t correct him when he asked if it was spelled “Gwyn” but she was making her way down from upstairs, perhaps, by that time.

    I really liked the theme of huge money paid by the CIA and KGB on paranormal research and then debunking it in the two cases that apparently set them off on that research. I’m a tad skeptical about the story of the Russian woman who saw through foil because it seems as though the name of the woman was different on our night. I would have recognized the name if it was something like Voronoi, which is the name of a tessellation approach I’m familiar with because it’s used in research related to mine. It was fun to see a trick revealed, in any case.

    Not giving away the ending, as he admonished us.

    I didn’t have a companion there for the show (in London for 2 nights on business), so I’m glad for this forum as a way to talk about the show with someone else who’d seen it.

  • i was also at the show on june 19. Someone said earlier on the comments that the finale was done by david berglas about 40 years ago. Anyone know what it was called?

  • Went to the show last night in London and the experience is like a Big Mc(Fly) enjoyable while one eats it but leaves a bad taste in one’s mouth. The grand Finale is so ridiculous and obvious that it definitely put me off Derren Brown and Big Mc(Fly) altogether. More Blackpool pier than Las Vegas entertainment.

  • I was a first-timer last night at the Adelphi Theatre and some parts genuinely really impressed me. It’s a shame that some people can’t just enjoy the entertainment without trying to figure it out.

  • Brilliant show last night at the Adelphi… Half the fun is working out how he does things. Think we have pretty much figured it all out, but not a spoiler. The watch trick is fab. So clever, Derren…

  • Aaaaaand – have now figured the end as well. All I can say is, it’s genius. So simple when you think about it. Just loads and loads of practice required. And some again.

  • Anyone at the Adelphi on Friday (June 26th)? Fantastic show!! The grandfather was called Roy, and I do remember Derren repeating it several times, to make sure he heard right (engraving?).

    In a world where we have access to so much knowledge and information, the fact that we are all sat here speculating and guessing at how he did most of his illusions is a real testament to the man. Incredible!

  • Saw last nights and i was a just a shade dissapointed by the ending. I don’t think it required practice at all, just a diligent and quick off-stage crew and two card pile switches (one left stage and one right). I still enjoyed the night and that’s what it’s all about in the end – entertainment.

    The spirit cabinet stuff was great and though I initially thought (as per his messiah show) that the person behind the curtain was chucking out the objects – I now think that there was a 3rd party doing it.

    The tinfoil stuff was a great laugh and though the dice still has me puzzled i thought the watch was the cheekiest trick as it’s so mind numbingly obvious when you think about it.

    What I would like to see from future shows is more risk taking from Derren. For instance, it’s a shame that instead of planting a list of 3 favourite things (to ensure Mcfly and dictionary object was there etc) i reckon he could have asked people to write down one favourite thing and then plant mcfly for the funny pay off, but try to guess a couple of un-planted ones too. I don’t think it’s beyond him, but he may feel it’s too risky for a live show.

    I do get a kick out of trying to work out some of the tricks, but look that’s half of it too, we know it’s not magic so we try to puzzle out the method – I don’t think discussions like this spoil anything, as anyone not wanting to know the answer should stop googling for sites such as this. The blog entry clearly states there are spoilers in the comments section.
    I’ve no doubt Mr brown will do a spot of googling himself to see if his show is easily sussed. Hello Derren!

    What was the deal with the envelopes left on the seats at the show – is this advertising for his new series?

  • Hi I was wondering if anyone could help me – the number at the end which points to the location of the word in the dictionary where did that come from again? there was so much going on I forget

    I was in late and did not hear the a place to McFly to but that explains a lot. Although I think the words we had were McFly Pizza and Intercourse so obviously if no-one puts McFly in he has to rely on this as I see other people have stated these words too.

    Any help would be appreciated thanks!

  • It’s just before the interval and happens almost as an afterthought. It’s like ‘Oh, there’s that bit of unfinished business, with the 3rd favourite word’ and so he picks up a large white card and asks the guy/girl in the audience for the 5 random words, then he scribbles away and we think he’s writing a word at first, then he shows the number. You’re right though, a lot going on, and I guess that’s the point and how that one squeezes through, because there isn’t a lot of logic to it…

  • Hey
    To all those at the Friday the 26th show, I was the guy up on stage that he “turned into a plank”.
    Feeling a bit wierd about the whole thing now. What did it seem like to you?

  • ahhh yeah got it now bit freaked out when he mentioned the hynotising thing went clean out of my head thanks

    anyone here go to the Thursday show

    Poor Ian !!! lol

  • It’s amazing how many people post on here who were directly involved Katrina, Victoria, Alex, Dave et al… Considering most venues host 1000+ in the audience, what’s the statistical probability that 4 people of the 30 or so who have posted here all went up on stage. I detect a bit of spin (frisbee anyone?) from Team Derren…

  • I was chosen to be the ‘medium’ in Monday (29th)’s show. In response to Michael, I can promise you it was a complete surprise to find myself on stage and part of the weird web of events. I was none-the-wiser for being up there – being in the midst of it does not yield clues but I feel incredibly lucky because the experience has made me even more compelled by his work.

  • I think when you get picked out its quite a big deal and you go looking for reviews/forums to try and get some explanation for what just happened to you. That inevitably leads you here.

  • Sorry, not convinced. I think I might take my leave of this discussion as I’m fairly clear about how it all works and don’t want to spoil it for anyone.

  • I am a HUGE fan of Derren Brown, and was looking forward to this show and it wasn’t a dissapointment.
    I saw it last night (1st July) at the Adlephi
    Grandmother’s name was Edna.
    Names on board were Will and Chris.
    And replying t an earlier comment about a moth fluttering above his head whilst he was telling the box story, i also noticed an insect flying above his head- was this planted or just a theater thing? Please reply as i’m growing ever more curious! No. 7 was removed, (The confetti). Were the numbers the same?

  • Saw Derren Brown 2.7.09 at the Adelphi in London and wish I hadn’t – very disappointed, the ‘tricks’ were very obvious, in fact, one act where a ‘member of the audience’ is called out to remember a happy memory which he will ‘mind read’ ended up with the person remembering a Crosby Stills Nash and Young concert at Wembley, however they attended it in 1973, as mind-read by Derren, when in fact the concert took place in 1974 and the person who was supposed to be there would have been about 5 at the time! If you’re going to trick people you need to get your facts right! Personally, I think most of the people called onto the stage were ‘plants’. The act dragged on, did not do much new and as for the ‘hypnotism’….. By the way, did anyone else have a ‘mother’ in the audience complain that her daughter had been hypnotised without her permission???? Or was that just for the journalists present? I spent a superb evening at the Magic Circle earlier this year – if you want to be amazed, I highly recommend it.

  • Also saw Derren Brown last night (2.7.09) at the Adelphi with my daughter. Fabulous entertainment from a great showman. Highly recommended, will definately go see him again.

  • Saw it last night at the Adelphi but had to leave to catch the last train home just as he was performing the grand finale, so I don’t know how it ended! (he was just mixing people up in front of some letters) Anyone willing to disclose what happened….? Reading Deborah’s comment above, I guess the woman getting up and shouting at Derren in the middle of it for ‘hypnotising her daughter without permission’ was not part of the show. I was sure that incident was going to be revealed in the finale as being a set up and part of the act – but obviously not.

  • Well unless my very close friend of 16 years is the best liar I’ve ever come across then the participating audience members were definitely not plants.

    BTW, it isn’t really Derrens fault if an audience members ‘memory’ is incorrect.

  • went to see him last night, thought he was incredible! 😀 i was left trying to figure things out that he did and couldn’t 😛 people say most of the people on stage are ‘plants’ how can they be plants when he threw a frisbee into the audience with lights shining in his eyes? he is amazing but i’m pretty sure that he too would not be able to see if he looks straight into light. i personally thought it was amazing and i wasn’t disappointed 🙂

  • Show was brilliant. I know how he could have done a few of them. The grandparent coin trick for example, bits of the trance trick and the vinegar one. But some of the others were just amazing. I noticed before i went in though that there were mcfly posters everywhere in the theater and also before the show started mcfly was being played. Didnt think nothing of it at the time. Also pointed out to my GF that the words that are on the stage will have something to do with a trick and they did. Would love to know how he does what he does, but then i guess that would ruin the fun

  • I saw this show in Blackpool, and enjoyed it but was slightly disappointed with the second half of the show. One of the reasons I love Derren is because he doesn’t tend to do all this hypnotising stuff like a lot of other performers, and was disappointed he did this. Apart from that very good show.

  • I saw the show at the Adelphi on 4th July. We noticed a lot of repetition of words that nobody else has mentioned here, and I though might be leading up to a big reveal a la Something Wicked, but didn’t.

    The 5 unconnected words included “balloon”, which he used during the trance section when encouraging people to rise “like a balloon” and then later with the engraved coin, referring to the glass a “brandy balloon”.

    The items wrapped in tin foil all had the number 5. 5 of clubs, five past one on the watch (Derren was a bit indecisive whether it was :04 or :05), 5 showing on the dice.

    He read from one of the “favourite things” slips: “beer, cricket and tits”. He points out that the woman on film has “magnetic tits” and later after the spirit cabinet there’s newspaper all over the stage and he clears it up saying “there are tits everywhere”.

    I thought these were all strange coincidences, but after nothing was made of them figured they were probably just red herrings and another type of misdirection for those of us looking too hard.

    However from the comments above, I don’t think this could have been a consistent element of the show. Did anyone notice anything similar, but maybe different words?

  • I went last night to the Adelphi show and thought it was very disappointing. I’ve seen Derren a few times before and this was the worst of his shows. His last one was absolutely BRILLIANT but this one was a massive let down – especially at £65 a ticket. I honestly would tell people not to go. On the night we went, he talked too fast so the jokes weren’t always clear, he fluffed his lines a bit, and kept dropping things. It felt like he wasn’t making enough effort for the price he was charging, or…

    The whole “McFly” trick is so transparent that it ruins the rest of the show in a way. It’s clear he sticks in a load of extra “favourite things” into the basket and that’s what the audience member picks. So all the rest is showmanship – and actually a bit dull at that. The whole looking up the reference to “intercourse” in the dictionary – it all falls rather flat when the trick is so transparent. And it also makes the McFly ending fall flat too.

    I found the final trick too complicated to follow for too little payoff. I wasn’t wowed at all – I wasn’t even sure what he was supposed to be trying to achieve by the end of it.

    There was a lot of boring stuff in there. Too much putting things in envelopes and traditional “magic” involving things behind curtains supposedly “moving”. I really didn’t pay that amount of money for such dull parlour tricks.

    I was at a party a couple of weeks ago where they hired a magician to entertain us during the drinks reception bit – and that guy, who was walking among us and doing card tricks on the hoof, wowed me much more than Derren did.

    I don’t think we’ll be going to another Derren gig unless there’s a big improvement. This felt like a cynical money making exercise to be honest. There was no big “theme” or concept to the show, unlike the last one, and it didn’t hang together well. There didn’t seem to have been enough effort put into it. The sceance segment was the best bit and that was very short – although again, it was really easy to see how the trick was done – unlike his last show where we came out going “OMG! How did he DO that!” So I don’t think it’s us becoming more knowledgable about magic or anything -I think this show was honestly of a really poor standard.

  • We saw the show on the 10th and i loved it. Having seen some of his live shows on TV i was rather annoyingly looking out for things / clues. Repeatition being one thing. He referred to the number 75 a lot, but that didnt come up again. And the word beach ….
    My husband noticed the posters of the “boy band” in the foyer beforehand but neither of us really acknowledged them.
    Despite not being quite as amazed as i thought i might be, it was a great show and i was utterly entertained from start to finish.
    As for the jokes … i am a little sad they werent special to our night but then, thinking about it … they were never going to be were they!

    i did think the tickets were very expensive. still, we dont get out much and we made a night of it … and my ticket was a gift so all in all, i had a great time!

  • Was at the show on the 10th and was simply blown away – best live thing I’ve ever been to and kept me talking about it for hours. My girlfriend and I were both called up on stage for pretty mindblowing things and it really adds to the enjoyment and sweeps away any thoughts of scepticism (I was one of the blokes in the random moving bit, changing positions like three time to try and throw him – and failing! – and she picked out by the trance girl). Got autographs and pictures at the backdoor too, and Derren was lovely and nice. Absolutely worth the money and I’m even half-tempted to go again this week! Like I say, easily the best night out I’ve ever had.


  • I just wanted to say, I went tonight, and had a great time. The guy is a genius, regardless of how he does it.

    To all you ‘I know how he did it, and i’m very disappointed’ people, a) I don’t think you really do know how he did it, do you…. and b) I know this is a forum to discuss his work etc, but lighten up for Christ’s sake, it was great entertainment!

    Mardy arses

  • i went to see derren brown on the 13th of july, and thought it was just amazing!
    i was picked by derren as the ‘sleepwalker’ after going into a trance.
    It was so weird, after he played the weird trance sound i just felt myself going into a trance and my eyes started flickering and i started shaking a swaying then i sort of felt like i was being pushed up out if my seat! so weird!
    i sort of remember doing some of things, but it didn’t really seem like i was really there.
    as for the viniger…it tasted just like water, but with a hint of viniger in it…it definitely wasn’t coke or anything like that…
    i picked a man from the audience who had £2.90 in his pocket…was so confused to how he even did it…becasue there was no way i was in on the trick.
    however afterwards even though i had come out of the ‘trance’ of i felt so weird and couldn’t stop shaking afterwards…i did think it was pretty great though, but i was upset that i missed a big part of the show!

    just wondering if anyone else got put into a trance and if so what they felt like? and what happened on the other nights…
    anyone any ideas to how he did it?

  • FAO those saying the finale trick was so obvious:

    Care to enlighten me as to what he did as it wasn’t THAT obvious.

  • As for the spirit cabinet section I had seen how this accomplished on TV and the person was unaware that they were actually moving the objects.

    I was one of the guys that took part in the spirit cabinet section and I didn’t purposely jump off the chair as a distraction to the crowd but actually got electrocuted off of it! At first the shock was quite mild and I didn’t move but then it came again and I had to jump off the chair. I looked at the chair afterwards to see if there was anything strange about it, but it just appeared to be a normal wooden chair.

    After that the other guy and myself were put into the spirit cabinet with the girl and I was told to hold the chalk board to my chest (which had nothing on it at the time). Then we all had hoods put on us so we couldn’t see. The whole time I made sure I gripped that chalk board tightly so nothing could be written on it. I heard newspaper flying around my head, being ripped up. Then I heard writing on a chalk board that sounded and felt like it was coming directly behind me, if not through me (which I know is impossible). Shortly after, chalk rained down all around us and I heard it hit the floor. It was all quite freaky not being able to see what was going on with the hood on my head.

    I heard the curtain being drawn back and the crowd laughing. When my hood was removed I saw that the other guys hood has a funny face drawn on it with chalk. There was ripped newspaper and chalk scattered all around us.

    Derren asked me if I wanted to take a look at the board to see if the name was on there (they had previously decided on a name but I can’t remember when). Sure enough the name was on the chalk board as I turned it around to show the audience and it was also imprinted on my t-shirt!

    Even though we checked the chalk board and it was blank, I can only think that somehow the name was written on it before it was given to me because I held it tightly throughout the whole experience.

    All very clever stuff!

  • Went to see Derren on the 2nd July – I totally love what he does and am probably one of his biggest fans. I’ve been going to his live shows over the last 4 years and don’t think Enigma has been his best show.

    If anyone went to see his show last year in 2008 ‘The Mind Reader: The Evening of Wonders’ I’m sure most people would agree he was incredible! Last year, I walked away from his show feeling stunned – especially at his oracle act at the end which blew me away!! (I also think him fake fainting added that extra bit of drama, which was a little cheesy, but kind of added a nice effect.)

    With Enigma, I didn’t feel like Derren had anything new to offer. – He’d kind of just pieced his show with performances he’s already done on TV. Don’t get me wrong – it was good to see it live instead of on TV and I love what Derren does and will go to his shows because I personally think he’s brilliant. However, in his Mind Reader show (2008) – he had really stepped up his game from the anything he’d ever done before. I would have expected him to step up his game again with Enigma and come up with unique and maybe even controversial ideas that haven’t been done before (like the oracle or even Russian roulette.)

    I hope he comes up with something new and exiting next year – otherwise I’m worried some people may lose interest and get bored with what he has to offer.

  • “Was at the show on the 10th and was simply blown away – best live thing I’ve ever been to and kept me talking about it for hours. My girlfriend and I were both called up on stage for pretty mindblowing things….”

    i was there two. i remember you two. i was at the stage door. i was so jealous…getting ur tickets at 6:30, getting better seats than me AND going on stage….ggrrr :p

    the fanatic in me really wanted to walk away that night feeling as excited, as when i went it. but unfortunatly i was dissapointed. the tricks were repeats/re-vamps of his older television work (although the spiri cabinet was always my fav trick.) or variations on very old simple magicionary.

    what ruined it even more? the girl who was put in a trance, when on stage she was asked if she was throwing the taberine etc etc. on stage she said no, but back stage she said yes, and she was lying. (she did however she had no part in it when she was tied up.)

    and….ok…im going to say this …and i cant beleive that i am…

    iv always beleived that Derren doesnt use stooges etc. BUT, its was rather big coinsidence that a fair few of the people waiting at the stage door after, were friends, AND all got on stage at some point.

    by the way, did everyone in all the shows get the black envelope with “the event” advertisement inside?

  • i went to see enigma in blackpool my first ever derren brown show i’ve been a big fan of him since i was a little kid and i thought the show was absolutely amazing and outstanding after the show i got to meet derren and he’s probably the nicest person you could ever meet i hope he continues in his work for a long long time.

  • Re: #105

    About the girl with the tamb – not sure what she told you but afterwards, at the stage door, she said she definitely hadn’t chucked it, that her hands were tied to her legs, and that it felt really heavy; that’s what she said to me.

    Was a weird coincidence that two couples both got to up. But, to be honest, I only got to go cos the frisbee didn’t quite reach the second level and fell down – and then the guy it landed on (just behind me) didn’t fancy it. And he could tell that I really did! 🙂

    Sorry we made you jealous! It’s true, it absolutely made our night to have both gotten up on stage.

    Still waiting for theories on the final stunt…

    PS Seems like people that didn’t like Enigma were comparing it to previous things. Maybe just had too much of a good thing? First time I’d seen Derren live – despite watching nearly everything that’s been on TV (including the live shows) – and I certainly never felt for a minute that it was rehashed or anything like that. I just think nothing’s quite as good the second or third time around is it? But, with fresh eyes, I just don’t see how Enigma could have been anything other than wonderful.


  • Oh! I just wrote a long thing but then Google Chrome crashed. Boo!

    Anyway, in a nutshell the main thing was that the girl in the spirit cabinet told me after the show, by the stage door, that she HADN’T thrown the tambourine, that she could feel it and that it felt really heavy, but that she couldn’t even move her arms an inch because of how tight they were tied; that’s what she told me.

    Sorry we made you jealous! (I won’t mention how much we paid for the tix 🙂 But it did absolutely make the night to both get called up on stage.

    Becky, do you remember writing the number down on the card? Or remember that there was a number on the card before you picked the person?

    PS My personal feeling is that people that didn’t like this show have just had too much of a good thing and are comparing it to previous years’ live shows. I guess things are rarely as good the second or third time round. But for us first-timers it was simply awesome from start to finish. And I look forward to reliving it when it’s broadcast on TV. 🙂


  • i saw him a couple of months ago in northampton. he chose me! i was right at the front, row 3.
    he did the plank of wood laying across 2 chairs thing to me. was really scary! but i can confirm he does it all for real and doesnt use stooges lol.
    i love the guy. but with the spirit cabnet thing. can anyone tell me how he did the thing with the smaller bok and the ball and glass? did he reach in from behind and put it in whilst he lit the candle?

    if anyone can tell me add me on msn messanger and let me know pelase 😀

  • rory,

    i was there too at the stage door. yes she said she didnt do it when she was tied up. but she did admit that she lied on stage, and that she DID throw the tamberine out (before she was tied up.)

  • Is each show unique in some way, or is it always the same name / number someone picks? And does he explain how he does everything? I’m seeing him twice two nights in a row. Obviously the second time i wont be as impressed but will i still be entertained?

  • Very confused by that – said nothing of the sort while I was there and doesn’t seem to make sense anyway. Like, how could she throw out the tambourine BEFORE being tied up when she was tied up before she had it?


    My theory on how Derren does most of his stuff is something like how he got David Tennant to predict the future – basically, goes into a trance, gets the info from the future, and then brings it back (it’s sort of how I wrote all my essays at uni!)

    Anybody here read ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’? Kinda reminds me of some of Derren’s techniques sometimes.

    I have ideas, by the way, about the finale and the trance/money trick – like, were there numbers on those cards BEFORE we all took our places on the stage? Because, if not, that’s really the only thing that was required to make it work. Also, I did wonder if maybe he just wrote the money amount on the card.

    Thing is, though those are plausible and simple explanations for some really quite wonderful tricks, I sort of fall down when I realise I’m totally unable to come up with solutions for the dice and watch ones, for instance – the above one aside.

    Just watched the casino episode of The Events – he really is just an amazing guy. The speed gun stuff? The squash ball? And one out on the wheel? People’re giving Derren a lot of stick these days – but what a mind that guy has! ‘Tis the British way, alas, to build up and then shoot down, and perhaps his star will wane now given the reception that series seems to have got – interesting thing for me will be to see where he goes now. Perhaps using his powers for good? That would be cool!

    I still loves ya Derren, split screen techniques or not!


  • Rory,
    I personally thought that the Casino episode was a let down. There seem to be strong recurrent patterns to the tricks, e.g. dual-reality (i.e. the speed gun operator might have somehow set the speed, thinking it was to test the other guys reaction) split-camera/editing tricks, and whatever lies behind the very similar audience tricks of choosing the cage without a mouse, or the aerosol can with paint. The one-off thing on the roulette was obviously just to make it look like he was actually trying, when he obviously wasn’t. All his tricks seem to be about ‘predicting’ which seems a strange choice considering he’s also always saying he’s not psychic. The patter of “I’ve been training for a solid year” also just seems silly to me, its almost likes he’s just taking the piss out of suggestible Britain! I miss the days of his genuine curiosity for suggestion, e.g. the spoon bending, amnesia on the subway, the girl in the forest etc.

  • I think he was taking the piss with this latest series – and I’m intrigued to know why and where he’s gonna go with it. Did he get the roulette wheel one off on purpose? I’m sure he’s capable – and I’m not sure he’d really feel comfortable winning all that money for somebody, morally-speaking. I’ve only seen two of the shows, and haven’t seen anything in the media, really (am in Mexico, relying on bittorrent to watch stuff) but, I mean, the whole lightbulb thing was just the clearest evidence that there’s something more going on than Derren just slightly losing it or getting cheap. When I met him I told him I was a bit of a psychic-believer – I still am, and still wouldn’t be surprised if he turned round one day and said it was all some sort of ‘psychic power’ – and he said to me “it’s good to keep asking questions” – and I took that to mean even of him. His whole patter when he was doing the lightbulb thing was about beliefs and how we swallow them unquestioningly – and then he does his stuff, the audience gasps, and we all think he’s amazing. Except people in the know know that the lighting up and exploding bulb is just some cheap trick that you can buy online. At a place called Alakazam. And it’s called “The Big Bang”. They find this out and then say, oh my God, I can’t believe Derren’s stooped so low – and then they re-watch the section and realise he’s told us all along: “With a big bang,” he says, “Alakazam.”

    So what’s he doing? I mean, really. The whole split-screen thing was so shoddy, and so obviously going to be found out. And were there similar things to the “Alakazam” line/lead in the other shows? I agree, the patter about “training for a solid year” is just nonsense (I reckon he was far too busy on Enigma for that anyway). So what’s he playing at? Just an elaborate joke? Or is he wanting to teach the general public something important? About questioning everything? About using their smarts? About believing nothing, not even him?

    I just think he’s too clever to be so shoddy by accident. But the shoddier he gets, with people still believing, really shows how gullible we are, and how we need to think more deeply about things.

    I love it, by the way, that people still think he uses stooges – what a laugh! As if, in this day of everything-online, one person who had stooged for him wouldn’t have come forward and blown the whistle. It’s too funny having been on stage and being accused of stooging also.


  • I went to see ENIGMA last night and was chosen as one of the male volunteers for the spirit cabinet illusion, and to be honest even i have no idea how its done, one minute i was having a bag over my head and holding the chalk board against my chest, and next thing im being taken out and somehow a name has appeared on the chalk board, i do only remember being in the cabinet for about 2 seconds though, and apparently the shaking cabinet lasted for about 25 seconds, left me totally perplexed

  • I went to see Derren in Torquay on the 14th Feb.
    I can honestly say I remember slowing my breathing, and trying to fight this urge- i rose. I woke on stage to have my coat and scarf removed, a smock on and a fowl taste in my mouth. ;o) To the unbelievers this was not coke.
    I cant explain it, I cant explain the girl i chose, the number i wrote- or the money in her purse.
    All i can say is that the flashbacks havent stopped!
    Derren Brown and ENGIMA is superb- But i feel violated!
    I really need to go again, i need to see what i slept through! REFUND?!?

  • i went to see derren brwn last night in crawley and it was outstanding!!!!!
    everything he did was perfect especially the finale.
    keep up the good work

  • We went to see Enigma in Crawley on the 24th Feb. What an awesome show. We left totally speechless. A master of trickery, illusion and magic and very funny to boot.

    Cant wait to see another show!

  • went to see him in swansea like 3 weeks ago, with the spirit cabinet i saw a hand throwing the objects out. but overall the show was amazing definentley go to his next show :).

  • absolutely AMAZING. i’m utterly speechless, a hugely enjoyable night, entertaining and intriguing. and i have mcfly stuck in my head! GOOSE MOOSE AND APPLE JUICE

  • hi , just back from seeing the show in Bristol ..overall i found it enjoyable and entertaining . i was happy to drop my 3 favourite things in the box and hoped that it would be a way of being ‘chosen’ to go onstage . I think it took about 10 minutes to realise that it was a totally pointless task , i assume the box has false sides and they dropped down and released all of his slips of paper so there was never any chance of mine being pulled out and to be honest i felt a little cheated (even more so now when it turns out it the same three words every night).
    I still dont get the watch and dice trick …i can not work out any theory as to how he could do that!

  • saw his ENIGMA show live at Bristol Hippodrome… WHAT A FABULOUS EVENING – ok so you can work out how a couple of the tricks are done BUT SO WHAT!!!! He is a briliant entertainer and kept us spellbound for the whole evening. (However the best trick of the night was that my wife had kept it completely secret from me.. we live in Winchester and I thought we were going to see Dave Matthews Band at the O2!!)

  • Saw the Enigma show at Eastbourne Congress on Sun 7 March. I thought it wasn’t as great as his other work but still pretty impressive. 🙂

  • “KEEP OUT. Do not open this birthday card.
    Do not attempt to open this card.
    Under NO circumstances must you open this card.”

    I took the card off the shelf and opened it.

    “SEE. You never did do as told.

    I laughed out loud in the shop and thought it was so similar to Derren’s story about his granddad’s box that it might even have been the inspiration! I got to give him this card! Is there, by any chance, a show on his birthday? YES! And not even very far! Off I was to Crawley, and what a night I had!
    I was also interested to see how the show changed since last year as it keeps getting polished up on the way.
    As opposed to my previous reviews in which I wrote about as many things as I could, here I’ll pick out only a few moments were most remarkable for me – I apologise anyone who’s annoyed with that…
    Crawley seems to be a bit economical displaying street names, so I was nearly late and I could just catch the on screen notice that there would be a countdown when Derren comes in, we were to sing Happy Birthday and he knew nothing about it. The staff did a timing not any less precise than with the tricks – it worked out perfect and I wish someone filmed Derren’s reaction, it took him a while to get back on track!
    As the show started on, I noticed that, strangely, the frisbies were very attracted to me, which never happened before. The first one, after spending a split second on the balcony where Derren meant it to, hit my shoulder. I quickly grabbed it, and, unsure what to do as it wasn’t one for the stalls I stood up with it and he did ask me to throw it back to him. I nearly missed the stage – those who say he calculates who the frisbees go to should try!
    As the next ones were shooting around my head I couldn’t help thinking that it must be a matter of time to get on stage… but when it finally happened it felt unbelievable!
    “What’s your name?”
    By the time I got to the stage I was so nervous I was gripping on the frisbee I must have left marks on it, and it took me ages to realise Derren was repeatedly calling my name trying to get my attention. I finally stopped.
    “Rita, could you please throw the frisbee back to the audience and go back to your seat, I’m sorry about that.”
    Flippin’hell, he remembers me from last year! But sending me back?? Am I dangerous, or what?
    “Why?” I asked nice and loud so people could hear it.
    “Okay then, come on” he changed his mind instead of providing an explanation.
    Or it was to let me know what would happen in the future if I’m trouble – but the instigation of his ongoing general encouragement to people not to be too predictable was just one stronger.
    Being as nervous as I was it was all the more funny when he said he’d ask me to try heroin. Then he turned the cards face up showing that they were all different and in random order. For a moment I could see the Ace of Clubs at the bottom of the pack, and I was very curious to try something I’ve not yet seen: to pick the bottom card which is already level with the tin foil. I was sure that his reflective explanation was misleading and that, as usual, his actual method would be one that gets it right regardless of the spec’s choice, so I wasn’t worried when he gave my plan a permission with his “take any of the cards” wording. He’ll just talk about watching the reflection as normal, while I can have a quiet laugh knowing that this time it couldn’t have been the case.
    So I slid the bottom card on the foil and wrapped it up.
    Low value red number card, he said.
    I must have seen that ace wrong or he’ll change his mind in a moment.
    But he didn’t and it WAS the Ace of Clubs! He couldn’t have been further off!
    And as I did nothing but what I was told, he had to explain why.
    “I’ve got this wrong” he turned to the audience “and I’ll tell you why: because Rita’s been to the show before. What most people do is this” he said, picking a card from the middle of the pack and putting it on the foil “while what Rita did was this” and he repeated my move as accurately as if it was played from tape, then he explained the reflective tin foil.
    “Did you know how I did it?” he asked, presumably meaning the real explanation.
    “No” I replied, meaning that I only knew the false one – of which now I was nowhere near as convinced that it was false!
    “Let’s try this again” he said and now he was careful to ask me to pick a card “from somewhere the middle”. (I’m wondering if he permanently stuck to this wording after this night or if he did any other precautions to make as sure as possible that it wouldn’t happen again – someone from the later shows please let me know:)
    I again did what he asked and this time it was a low value red number card. The rest of the predictions of the trick were spot on as well.
    I looked at the audience; they were in quite dark, especially with the stage lights on me. This reminded me again how absurd the claims were about him picking people with the frisbies, and also relaxed me enough so I could start thinking.
    I realised I forgot that there can be other audience members too who saw the show before, especially that this one was the sixth in a row; and, knowing the explanation in advance, they’re likely to spot that now there was no chance for Derren to watch the reflection. If he still gets the card right, he just lets them know that the method he reveals is not the real one.
    So instead he spectacularly fails and catches me out, making it all the more convincing!
    I was flabbergasted how clever that was – it took me three or so minutes to work it out while he had about three seconds to plan it. He might have had it all in his head from the moment he saw me peeling off the bottom card, especially if this situation was rehearsed. I did think of doing something slightly unusual without going against his instructions if I ever got on stage (who was on about throwing a spanner in on the C4 website?), but actually doing it, getting a result I thought they would make sure not to let happen, then watching Derren up close turning it all to his advantage was an amazing experience.
    A side note – just as well I had seen the show before as there still were bits and pieces might have been spoken too fast for me to understand otherwise. When, just after having done with the second card, he turned to the audience and his back to me and told them something that was not part of the show and got a big laugh, I could only catch two words of it, “clever cow” (which is, from the point of the original expression, sounds rather like an oxymoron to me). Anyone who was there and could understand that bit please let me know what it was 🙂
    Meanwhile he started his serenade to the third card I wrapped up, and it was really funny when just as I thought “tell not to laugh to someone you’re doing this meowing inches away from”, he told me “especially you don’t laugh, you’re right here!” LOL 🙂
    The rest of the show went according to script but I couldn’t pay attention any more (or at least not to the small details I wrote about before, like, what happens to envelopes or to the curtain behind that suitcase on the table), which is a shame because there were some changes that made it better, especially in the finale, which was more compact without losing anything from it. This time one of the big envelopes was given to front row audience members earlier on – but when he asked it back at the end, they told him that they didn’t have it.
    “You don’t have it?? Where is it, then? What, you hid it outside? Why? Now it could be just any envelope!”
    After some more scolding he had them to fetch it back – I couldn’t quite understand it myself why they did it but at least it wasn’t me the only one playing up that night 🙂 (I asked him after the show if the finale was always ok and he answered yes as I hoped :).
    Waiting outside the stage door after the show. A staff member stuck his head out to see if we were there, then went back in.
    Not only we didn’t have to wait long but Derren turned up with a cake! Then he counted the thirty-or-so of us and said it would be a very tiny slice for each but everyone was so busy chatting, getting things signed and taking photographs that quite a bit of it was left, which, besides giving me a chance to get a proper slice (it was a very sweet chocolate and marzipan cake) it also gave me an excuse to stay around.
    “Hi Rita” he said when he saw me “it was nice to see you on stage this time.”
    “Yes, thanks for letting me on… I did NOT know what would happen! I thought you’d had your ways so it didn’t matter what I did” at this point he looked a bit uncomfortable “then I thought, OMG what have I done?”
    “Oh, that’s all right… you haven’t done anything.”
    “Thanks… I did think it later that you might have got it wrong more because you was supposed to than because of anything I did.”
    Oops… he pretended not to hear this one 🙂
    I gave him the birthday card and said it was so spot on he might already have been given one. I got the Devil’s Picturebook signed now I had a white pen. Someone asked me to take a pic so I asked for the same in return.
    Before this night I thought about seeing one of the shows that will be filmed, just because it would be nice to have a professional DVD of a show I’ve been to and Wimbledon is not too far either, but I won’t go to any more Enigma shows. I had absolutely everything out of this one and I don’t think anything can top it.
    And if I ever catch a frisbee again and Derren sends me back to my seat, I won’t ask why 😀

  • Haven’t read all of these posts but firstly – he’s NOT a magician & has never claimed to be. Secondly, you all paid to go and see him, so why try to analyse/debunk the show? It’s like buying tickets to see a band you don’t really think can make good music! The guy is far cleverer than all of you, or else you’d be making money putting on shows as good as this. Pure entertainment. Just enjoy or let those of us who appreciate it enjoy it. Thanks

  • @Lisa #126,
    Analysing/debunking doesn’t mean people don’t enjoy the show, performance or work behind it, quite the opposite. As Derren himself repeatedly says, its good to challenge things, and its all part of the fun. The equivalent with music would probably be working out the tab for songs – which doesn’t mean someone doesn’t like the band. No one here is stopping anyone else enjoying the show – hopefully you are in control of what you read, and what you enjoy? Your need to ‘stop’ people talking about it is far more controlling than anything people on this page are doing.

  • I went to see Derren last night at Southampton and thought it was brilliant ! 😀 He is very talented, even if it just smoke and mirrors, he put a great show on and made it very belivable and funny. And i agree that people should stop critising, you payed to see him, if you think about it negatively you will constantly think of him as a bad performer. And just to let you know i completely disagree, he was and continues to be an amazing performer and can’t wait to see more. 🙂

    Keep up the good work!! 😀

  • Just spent an hour of my precious time (while kids are at school) reading every one of the comments above, as I saw the show last night in Southampton, and needed to know if it was trickery or actors?? I have come to the conclusion that it has to be trickery! A good deal of swapping and mind games and yes an engraving, vinegar in the cap only and Derren basically understanding people’s body language and a genuine above the norm intelligence at judging a person’s history /lifestyle based on their look and age.

    My only question is what happened at the very end? We had to leave early and my last glance was Derren with a Blankety Blank style microphone?

  • Sooo amazing!! I don’t care if it was real or not! Saw it in Bristol last night and I was shocked, well done Derren!!

  • Hello

    I just wanted to say that i work at the Mayflower theatre in Southampton, so i got to see the show for free (3 times!) and i can tell you now, the names are different every night (the engraving names i mean) and the people were different, they were however, all picked from higher up in the audience i.e either the balcony or the circle and i believe this was done to provide derren with the time he needed to engrave/fiddle around/place the coin in the box…..he also checks every night that he has the spelling of the grandparents name just right, but spelling it back to the audience member and i believe this is done so that there is not a spelling error on the coin because that would be a giveaway……
    Regarding the show, there were bits that were repeated each night, the same jokes about people being ‘alternative’ and the Family Guy joke with the ‘stewie’ card at the beginning….plus the ‘tin foil- handy at christmas-upstairs pens’ joke does make an appearance night after night.
    I do agree that the box at the beginning containing the different ‘favourite things’ was obviously a trick box, and so Derren knew all along what the 3 things were on the paper, and obviosuly the whole McFly thing is pre-planned etc etc.
    The Vinegar thing, may well be real, or may actually be a trick bottle as someone else suggested, but to be honest….its strange what crazy things people will do when they have an authoratative figure telling them to do something…..under the pressure….people are not going to defy him…..its been psychologically proven that people will even hurt another person when told to by an authority figure, and they believe they are doing the ‘right’ thing………to be honest, i think a lot of this IS mind games like that. I realised that he was actually saying all the instructions to the ‘hyponotised’ person as he was going along….and they were doing everything he was saying…..for example ‘watch how his arms are now all floppy like jelly’ and ‘now his head is going to come up and eyes are going to open’…..i think that if he didnt say these things outloud but perhaps had a screen next to him with all this coming up so the audience could read it but the hypnotised person couldnt see/hear it, then it would all go a bit wrong, the person wouldnt know what was expected of him and the trick wouldnt go as planned.
    Anyway, im sure people will have other ideas, but all aside, he is a very entertaining man and totally deserves all the praise and even if it is all smoke and mirrors…..we are all being very entertained for 3 hours, which is the main thing isnt it!! x

  • Hi guys,
    Just got back from the show in Leicester, we both thought it was amazing and mind blowing!
    I’ve been reading the comments and have to say I was called onto the stage to do the ‘dead relative’ at the end of part one.
    I can 100% promise that I was not a stooge or contacted by anyone involved with the show before hand! The frisby landed 3 rows in front and my boyfriend grabbed it from an unwilling women’s hand and practically forced me onto the stage.
    My nan’s real name was Constance but we all knew her as Connie…so did Derren!!!!!!
    I had a truly fantastic time, keep up the good work!

  • Kate,

    I was at the show last night, sat not far behind you. I have no idea how he did it, but there must have been a way of putting the engraved coin into the box (and into the other box and wrapped it in wool and into the jewllery box, lol) from the time you said your late grandmother’s name to when you opened the box.

    Truly baffling, though!

  • Hi Dave,
    What an experience! The only thing I would like to check is whether the box containing it all, was already on the stage before the act started?? If not, would there have been enough time for them to very quickly engrave her name, wrap it in the wool, the glass, the 2 boxes and then get it onto the stage?
    I’d like to think there wasn’t enough time. Either way I have a great gift from my nan courtesy of Derren!

  • Stu, instead of jumping to conclusions without knowing how many other things I’m into, have you thought about getting another hobby than picking on someone for doing “ESPECIALLY” what this entry is here for?

  • I hate it when people get all jumped up on forums, cowards!
    Im interested to read from Kate- above.

    Was anyone in the spirit cabinet? Did anyone get picked for it?
    That part of the show followed the trance/vinegar part which I must admit I was too much in shock to take it in.

  • Went to see Derren at the Ipswich theatre on Friday and thought the show was amazing! He was very witty and funny and the show he put on kept me thoroughly entertained all the way through, and the finale I thought was fantastic, will def be trying to get tickets again fr the future, was a bit gutted as I suffer from migranes so couldn’t participate in one of the parts of the show, which was a shame as the tickets were a christmas gift, but that aside I had an awesome night and hope Derren keeps on performing, I have seen virtually everything he has done and find his stuff amazing and inspiring!

  • Being a first timer at seeing him live…i found the whole show very interesting,funny and shocking! Obviously people have lots of ideas about how he did that…and how he didn’t do this…but it takes the fun out of it! Yes most of his performance is a trick but it is brilliant the showmanship and the entertainment factor is mindblowing! The first half is lots of previous tricks put together and mixed around but is still very good and I am still trying to work out how he did alot of it…! He is a legend and the finale left the whole audience shocked and amazed! Met him afterwards and he was very nice happily signing booklets and kindly letting photos be taken…it was a great show and i will be there again in his next tour! 😀 Ollie

  • Simon #139 G was Goose. I was at the Bradford show April 3rd and had the good luck to go up for the tinfoil/dice trick after my other half refused and forced the frisbee on me. Was a pleasure to meet him briefly and was a great show.

  • On Friday, I travelled down to Edinburgh to see Derren Brown’s ENIGMA tour; it was so good I thought it warranted a genuine review. Admittedly, it’s probably more of an essay on why I think he’s brilliant.

    Here it is anyway:

    Derren Brown is a man so wonderfully and modestly intelligent, charming and talented he creates seamless shows and performances that display suggestion, hypnosis and misdirection without failing to leave audiences wondering how any of it could possibly be achieved without something being a-miss, supernatural or otherwise. We have all, at some stage, pondered over a cup of tea whether he is, in fact, a real man. Who, indeed, is at liberty to deny the fact that he does appear to possess an almost unimaginable magnitude of knowledge and skill?

    However, if you believe that Brown is merely a god (or, alternatively, a demon) trapped in a human form, I urge you to take the time to see him perform on stage. On screen, his personality is endearing; his intelligence blatant but beautifully understated; his talent a welcome break from monotonous attempts to contend with modern living. On stage, these outstanding achievements are elevated to a new level. In short, he almost becomes the theatre.

    It is his humanity, with his genuine enthusiasm and absolute love of mystery, that will hit you first. He is the rare type of performer who has not only infallible showmanship, but charmisma, the correct amount of confidence and the crucial ability to connect with an audience. Fascinating and unfailingly witty anecdotal interludes act as warm reminders of how he was, once, a young boy fascinated by magic, who has grown through years of torment, hard work and dedication, into the man stood on a theatre stage before an audience of bewildered and admiring eyes.

    It is this sincerity that confirms my suspicion that he is, truthfully, a mere mortal – albeit, a mortal with an astonishing mind, ridiculously well-trained memory and a thirst for secrets stemming from his childhood who renders the textbook ‘magicians’ so limp and helpless they look like the lucky members of the audience who join him on-stage and are placed under his spell.

    As he asked so nicely not to talk of the show’s content online so as not to spoil the surprise for others, I have happily obliged and will continue to remain quiet, silently replaying the success of each second in my own mind. I can, however, comment on the humour injected into the show. Clearly subjective to each venue and, indeed, each audience, it is something that connot be rehearsed or orchestrated. He is, naturally, very funny. Honest, confident but kind mockery of the audience is endearing rather than insulting, and yet another flawless exhibit of his ability to interact and obstain from self-absorption. His lovely impersonation of an audience member’s (very broad Scottish) pronunciation of the word “curtain”, complete with a perfectly rolled ‘R’ is one that makes me smile with every recollection.

    Derren Brown is, himself, an enigma. An enigma with a beautiful collection of suits, and one who is top of my “People I Would Like To Hug” list.

    (Credit also to Andy Nyman and all those involved in the tour)

  • Saw the show in Bradford tonight!!! I thought it was AMAZING!! It was funny as well as bewildering…I have no idea how most things work especially in the second half of the show. I think Derren Brown is extremely clever and a great entertainer!!

    I would also love to see the same show with a difference audience!!

    ps. The G was for Goose!!

  • Simon – The G stood for Goose

    Went to see show in Bradford last night and it was amazing – never seen Derren before but would definately go again. One thing that does dissapoint me is how much of the show is given away on here which would totally spoil it for those who haven’t seen it!

  • I was at Bradford last night 4th April and was lucky enough to grab the frisby for the spirit in the curtain act. I was also the lucky sod who got a shock up my backside and I can tell you it was real!

    I have no idea how he did the trick with the curtain, but can assure you it was not a trap door. My guess is that someone must come in from the rear of the curtain, as I couldn’t really see all the way round the back and there was definately somebody in there with me when I was stood there like a dope with a hood on.

    All in all though, a really fantastic show and well worth it! The mind reading trick gets me the most….

  • I was at Bradford on the 3rd and loved it! I know someone who has seen the show twice before and he assures me that he
    knew personally a lot of people that were picked and non were plants/stooges etc. I loved the ending but wasn’t a huge fan of the engraved coin as I assumed he had found it out before the night and had set it all up but reading the comments its obvious that he did have it engraved during the time it took the girl to come from downstairs and made her spell out the name. All this talk of cards and tin foil… he didn’t use a card on my night , just a dice and a watch. How did he do the watch one, people have said it is obvious but not for me! Also how did he know how much the man had in his wallet? Did he write it once he had said it? Also, I don’t think he asked for someone who was specifically right handed for the memory trick, unless I missed that?

  • I have enjoyed reading all the posts, I couldnt work out how he did any of the tricks apart from the planted piece of paper at the beginning! Now that I know what to look out for I want to go and watch the show again! I told my friend this and she got some tickets to see it in Wimbolden in May!

    Im still unsure how he did the tin foil trick, was the dice a trick one? could it maybe transmit to someone what number is being shown at a certain time?

    Lorna – I think that Derren wrote the amount after the person said it, it could be a trick envelope or something. I dont remember him asking for a right handed person for the memory trick and I think that I would have remembered as the person I was with was left handed and she put her hand up! Maybe we both just missed it though!

  • Just got back from the show in MK and very disappointed-based on tonights performane I wouldn’t pay to see him live again. He needs to go back to the old days or step it up a notch otherwise he will end up a nobody like David blaine

  • Went to see ‘Enigma’ at the Milton Keynes Theatre yesturday… Derren you blew my mind! The trick with the coin was amazing, I really don’t know how you did it! And the ending was phenomenal. It’s not just the that were good, Derren is a natural performer and had the whole audience laughing. He also does a brilliant impression of ‘Stewie’ from ‘Family Guy’ :D. The only thing that I didn’t like was the fact that I couldn’t get the ‘goose, moose and apple juice’ song out of my head all night… It was very catchy, maybe see where it gets in the charts?..

  • Saw him at Eastbourne, you can tell how he does some of the tricks, but what a showman! You can see the energy and passion he puts into it. Would defo go again.

  • Saw him on the Friday in MK. Reading the feedback here explains some of the tricks and methods but if you sit back and watch the show without trying to analise it too much it is mind blowing. Especially if like me you hadn’t seen him before live, or hadn’t read anything about this particular tour. The tin foil left on the floor for example was brilliant and just washed over you if you didn’t know.
    I was looking at those ‘random’ collection of letters before it started and thought that they would become part of the show at some point but couldn’t work it out!
    One thing I haven’t seen covered. Is the confetti genuinelly chosen is the most popular or is the result rigged?
    I personally think his biggest strength is his ability to use different techniques to achieve the tricks. Does anyone know how many people he has working in his team around the stage? I don’t think anything he did would need stooges during the act.

  • Lorna #148 “he didn’t use a card on my night, just a dice and a watch”
    OMG… so dropping this trick from the Leicester show wasn’t just a one-off… I never thought what I did would be THAT much impact! :O

    Anonymous #151 “The only thing that I didn’t like was the fact that I couldn’t get the ‘goose, moose and apple juice’ song out of my head all night… It was very catchy”
    Yes I think I’ll never forget it 😀

    The coin in wool trick is explained in some of the earlier posts but I think putting heads together and finding it all out from scratch is more fun than just to read back 🙂

  • Hey, was at the belfast show on 12 april.

    Spoilers beware;

    The spirit cabinet was easily done. From where I sat I seen at the end how it happened. If you remember, there was like a wooden bench with drawers at the back of the stage. When the cabinet was shaking I managed to see someone behind the cabinet AND part of the wooden drawers actually open. A trap door for someone to get behind.

    Its all misdirection. But it was worth it!

  • i was at the show last night (19th) atr new victoria theatre woking and although i have worked out some of his tricks however i cannot figure out how he did the spirt cabinet with the tambourine. i was also on stage for the dice trick which was correctly identified as number 1 and he also got the time as 18 past 10. i can only guess that it was to do with frequency, pitch and tone to figure it out but am not sure.

  • I caught the show in Woking yesterday. I’ve watched most of Derren’s television shows but this was the first live one I’ve seen, and it was truly amazing.

    I enjoyed all parts of it immensely, and will definately be watching out for the next tour! 🙂

  • derren brown’s enigma was far better than his last tour but not as impressive as somthing wicked this wasy comes…or something like that lol – i’m really surprized many people aren’t getting the vinegar one lol – vinegar is only in the lid which is separate from the bottle – cos he takes off the lid to pour the coke into the glass for the female sitting at in a trance…simples

  • OK my twopenneth.
    I saw the show in Worthing on 24th April, and left it laughing with a big smile on my face. At £30 it was a great, I mean great entertainment. (Please note entertainment.)
    I can guarantee that the audience participation is genuine and not plants. With a tour of this length they would be at over 1000 stooges to organize, for a start.
    The challenge with the coin is not the name but how to deliver it. My wife says on our night the grand daughter put the coin box on the table and she got it handed back to her by Derren. An obvious swap opportunity, but this does not seem to have happened before. (The name was Delphonso – Brazilian). So two challenges. Coin to Derren. Coin into box.
    Also with all magic/mentalism once you know how it is done it is simple. Pulling it off on the grand scale, maintaining the persona etc take a great deal of skill and practice. Remember the 9 chess grandmasters?
    I thought the reveal was brilliant. I don’t care if it has been done before, most things have.
    Truly a fun night.

  • I instantly realised that McFly would be a large part of the show, at the startwhen derren makes his announcemant from backstage one of the things he asks people to write is a holdat destination they would like to “McFly” to, I was listening very closely for a word cue like this as he used something similar in his TV show getting people to raise theirarms similtaiously in a shopping centre and in “something wicked this way comes” (he used the trick all the way through to influence the results of his finishing trick)

  • James, remember though that the thing about him mentioning those words before or during the show isn’t to actually influence people, but to make them THINK that he is influencing them. Pure tricks lie behind the effects – these little subtleties are all just part of the misdirection.

  • Spoiler alert……The engraved coin trick is done using a Malloy box , the way it apparently works is that the item that ends up in the box gets placed in the table the box sits on, a mechanism shoots the item from the table into the box and through the various boxes and objects, I think from seeing it on TV a large glass. I would imagine there is enough time for the coin to be engraved wrapped in string and bands and then placed into the table mechanism.

  • Ending explained? Seems to me the only link required is the numbers on the cards – so could the numbers have been added to the cards after the men positioned themselves?

  • I just have to say I saw this show and was the vinegar/free writing lady! It was the most bizzar thing, I knew what I was doing the whole time but didnt at the same time. I was even thinking to my self as i was walking around the crowd that I might screw it up!!! All I have to say is the man is a legend and I can confirm I am no actor or stooge in anyway!!!

  • I agree with your critique, entirely. I noticed these things to a degree, but your criticism fleshes out my peeves. TOO FRENETIC. And the coda, he always uses one, so its now expected. MCFly'” don’t believe he implanted it in the young man in the front row, in the TV show.

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