Mind Reader – An Evening of Wonders

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Derren Brown at the Garrick Theatre, June 2008

Mind Reader – An Evening of Wonders is the name of Derren Brown’s third live stage show which had its first run of 42 dates in 2007. Brown toured around the United Kingdom starting on 29 April in Blackpool and ending on 17 June in Bristol.

The show toured again from February until April 2008 with another 40 shows throughout the UK, and concluded with a West End run at the Garrick Theatre during May and early June. The West End run was a strictly limited season of 32 performances only. A performance from the last week of the tour at the Garrick Theatre was filmed for Channel 4 and aired on 13 January 2009.

Content[edit]

No actors or stooges were used during the show and audience participants were selected at random by means of Brown throwing frisbees into the audience. The show included the following:

The mysterious box
  • Gorillas – the introduction to the show was a video including gorillas playing table tennis to demonstrate change blindness. Brown then appeared and indicated that a some point during the show "a man in a gorilla suit will come onto stage and steal a banana". The challenge for the audience was to notice the banana being stolen. The banana was then successfully removed while the audience attention was directed elsewhere. Later in the show, when the gorilla came on stage more obviously, it was revealed that it was Derren in the costume.
  • £500 v £5000 – Brown brought out a concealed box containing either £500 or £5000. The selected participant (always a man) was asked specific questions by Brown and then asked to name what was inside the box. If he was correct, the contents would be his.
  • 20 Questions – Brown played the game with 6 audience members on stage in a variety of different ways (e.g. face to face, with his back towards them and with them being told to not even give a yes or no answer in response to the questions).
  • Tossed-Out Deck - Brown performed his own version of the Tossed-Out Deck Routine with three members of the audience in the first few rows.
  • Psychic powers – Brown privately gave instructions to a participant (always a woman) on how to guess correctly playing cards which other people had selected. He then put the person in a trance and told her to forget everything he had told her.
  • Number predictions – an audience member was told to contact someone on a phone (always a man) and ask various questions with the hope of the participant saying numbers which Brown had already written on a whiteboard. In reality, the person on the phone was made to say the serial number of a ten pound note given to the audience member.
  • Table-Turning – as a lead up to The Oracle Act, Brown fashioned various table turning acts in order to demonstrate the effects which led people to believe in supernatural occurrences in those days.
Start of the Oracle Act
  • The Oracle Act – the main feature was a recreation of the act performed by the mediums and charlatans in the 1930s. During the interval, audience members had been asked to write personal questions and leave them in envelopes on the stage. Just by looking at the writing on the front of the envelopes (initials and row), Brown was able to deduce the type of person who was responsible for it and give various specific facts about the person including the exact question asked. He then blindfolded himself and continued in the same manner with almost perfect results. nearing the end of the act Brown repeatedly asked for some water, which was not given to him. He then became more and more agitated until collapsing. After a brief pause, someone came out to check him and the curtain closed. Brown then stepped out from behind the curtain and explained that that was how the mediums in the 1930s would end their acts, and that was how he would end his.
  • The Box – the culmination of the show was to reveal the contents of a box which was suspended from the roof of the stage and had been untouched and visible to the audience before and throughout the show. A scroll in the box was unraveled and showed that Brown had seemingly made predictions prior to the show about specific things which had come up in the show.

DVD release[edit]

A DVD of the filmed performance was released on 18 May 2009, and included footage from the show not previously seen in the televised episode.