People have accused Derren Brown of witchcraft and the Devil’s work–but no one has accused him of laziness. After performing Showman no less than 350 times, Brown is back in London’s West End with a new show.
But, for the first time ever, Brown isn’t appearing on stage in this production. Instead, he’s behind the curtain, doing…well, we don’t exactly know what. Brown likes to keep us on our toes. Here’s what we do know about Unbelievable.
When can we see the show?
According to this Instagram post, rehearsals started on Monday, June 12th for the show that’s set to open in Colchester on July 28th. It will stay there for a month before a brief stint in Manchester and then a West End run from September–April at the Criterion Theatre. Like all of Brown’s shows, you’ll have plenty of chances to see it, the show runs 6 days and 8 times per week.
What is Unbelievable?
We know only a few details. According to the website, it fuses “the best of theater with jaw-dropping illusions never before seen in the West End.” Likewise, Unbelievable will feature “A New York Subway Band,” “a company of multi-talented performers,” and an updated version of a one-act play called Will, The Witch and the Wolfman which apparently concludes the show in “breathtaking” fashion. Finally, the “about” section suggests that like all of Brown’s shows, the audience will be an essential part of the performance, though in what way we don’t know.
While magicians are prone to hyperbole, Brown does tend to live up to the hype, and it’s tempting to believe that this will genuinely be a one-of-a-kind show.
It’s also fair to assume that rather than having several unrelated acts, like a variety show, the acts in Unbelievable will tie together in a surprising and satisfying manner. This is based on viewing Brown’s previous stage shows, which are known for their elaborate finales and callbacks (see Svengali for a great example).
Who is Performing in Unbelievable?
That we don’t know. According to the website, the cast is “TBC,” as is, believe it or not, the run time (which, based on Brown’s past shows, is probably between 2 and 2.5 hours with an interval). It seems that Brown is staging his own version of The Illusionists, the popular magic production that features a rotating cast of magicians, ensemble-style. So, while there are likely multiple magicians and actors in the show, it’s hard to anticipate what else Unbelievable has in store.
However, we do know that in addition to Brown, behind Unbelievable are Andy Nyman and Andrew O’Connor, who have collaborated for two decades on nearly every iconic Derren Brown work.
Seriously, Derren Brown Isn’t Performing in Unbelievable?
According to all available information–no. But we wouldn’t put it past him to make a surprise appearance. Genuinely though, it does seem like Brown is in the writer/director/producer role he says he’s in, and this makes sense. After two years and 350+ performances of Showman, he’s likely to want a break from the stage.
Most magicians do the same material for decades. But Brown’s rate of turnaround–nine genuinely different stage shows over 20 years (plus an off-Broadway and Broadway show), is prolific and unparalleled. His shows are genuine theatrical experiences worthy of the West End theaters he’s occupied since 2004. If you’re curious, it’s worth getting a ticket, which you can do here.