EDitorial ± 29-Mar-2010

Derren Brown, Enigma

Watching the annual Christmas ghost stories (Crooked House by the versatile Mark Gatiss) on BBC Four a year or so back, a large-nosed Satanist was glimpsed performing some ghastly ceremony. Said character's name was Sir Roger Widdowson. Hey, I said, isn't that Derren Brown? Didn't know he acted too.

Watching the return of Channel 5's Flash Forward last week, a cigar-smoking man popped up who proclaimed himself to be a villain. Said character's name was Flosso. Ooh, I said, hoping to impress whoever was in the room, that's Ricky Jay. Who? replied the room. He's a magician, I said, a card sharp. Bit like an American Derren Brown. He turns up in the odd David Mamet film too. You wouldn't want to play poker with him for money.

Watching the stage of the Ipswich Regent last Thursday night, a well-dressed lightly bearded showman walked out to much applause. Said man's name, as it stated on the ticket bought six months previously, was Derren Brown, and this was the first of three sell-out nights.

Watching the show, titled Enigma for reasons that may become clear, was a-ma-zing. It's a procession of one unbelievable feat after another, a panoply of prestidigitation (I'm morphing into Leonard Sachs). He hurls the Frisbees into the crowd, up gets one or more seemingly innocent individuals, and Mr Brown has complete control of them simply by shaking their hand and touching their shoulder. Scary. Wish I could say more but we were swore to secrecy, you understand. Unless I'm still in that trance.