The singular rule of Derren Brown's Secret, now playing at the Cort Theatre, is that I cannot give anything away about the things he does on stage. And despite the engaging and amiable demeanor that Brown gave off over the course of the evening, I'm not sure I'd want to find out what would happen if I were to disclose the details of Secret.
In case you were curious, it's not called Secret because its contents are, in fact, a secret. You'll have to see the show for yourself to enjoy that big reveal. A magician and mentalist, Brown's playbill bio is packed with more things than the average mind could possibly imagine. But to call Secret a simple magic show would be disservice to what actually takes place. By the end of the night, the 1,000 seat Cort Theatre feels more intimate than ever as you and every other person sitting around you ask yourselves how Brown pulled off his master manipulations that will leave your jaw on the floor.
If you're skeptical about what you're going to see, Brown will immediately put your mind at ease. As he told the audience on the night I attended, "I am always honest about my dishonesty." And while that still may not be enough to convince you to believe in Brown's tricks, it is fairly certain that the confusion and bewilderment the audience feels as the show progresses delights Brown more and more.
A celebrity in his native England, Brown initially premiered Secret at the Atlantic Theater Company in 2017. And I wouldn't be surprised if the show, along with his Netflix specials, manage to attract a following for him on this side of the pond. His tricks, that range from mind-reading to psychological manipulation and more astound the audience again and again. And you may want to think again before you accuse the audience volunteers of being planted there. They're selected by Frisbees that Brown throws into the audience. Imagine trying to aim that at a certain person in a three level theater.
Will you believe what happens in front of you at Secret? Who knows. But there is no doubt that the very nature of Brown will put you at ease and leave you in a state of bafflement while still having a massive smile on your face. Could I tell you what you'll see? If I wanted to. But going in as if venturing towards the unknown makes it all the more worthwhile.