Derren Brown: Live Shows

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DERREN BROWN LIVE 2002 - 2004 Show Programme

Act I

  • An audience member is chosen to retrieve a ball of paper from a table on stage. This is thrown into the audience to select someone at random. This person is asked to choose one of three shapes from those drawn on a board. DB reveals that he predicted the choice earlier in a sealed envelope.
  • The audience is asked to stand for the 'coin in the hand' game; DB selects someone from those left standing after two rounds to join him on stage. DB then plays the 'coin in the hand' game with them four times: if he gets it wrong they win 50, but if he wins all four times, he offers them a chance to play for 500 (if he made a mistake he gives them a chance to gamble the 50 for the 500).
  • The 500 offer is a game where the subject has to choose an envelope from two placed on the left and right hand sides of the stage: one contains a picture of DB's parrot, and the other a 500 cheque. DB tells the audience which envelope he will get the subject to choose (this is ultimately proved to be correct). The subject then has the rest of the first half of the show to change their mind.
  • DB chooses a man and a woman from the audience at random. The woman is asked to think of the surname of a friend and writes it down. DB asks her to think of individual letters from the name and works out which ones they are before revealing the whole name. DB then gets the man to draw something and place the drawing in a big envelope. DB divines what the picture is and attempts to replicate it.
  • DB goes back to the 'coin in the hand' player and tries to confuse them about which of the two envelopes they should choose.
  • DB chooses a man from the audience and places him in a light trance (at this point DB sometimes performs a demonstration of hypnotic suggestion by making the volunteer sink to the floor, have his feet stuck to the ground, or lose his voice). DB then tells the man that he is to believe that he can transmit thoughts. A female volunteer is seated on stage and also placed into a light trance. She is blindfolded and given a marker pen and a small whiteboard. The male volunteer is told to think of any telephone number apart from his own from which he picks two numbers and makes a note of them. The man then mentally transmits his numbers, and the woman is told to let her pen move naturally over the board while she counts backwards from five hundred. When she has written something on the board is it shown to be a demonstration of 'automatic writing' as the number matches the figures written by the man.
  • DB tries to confuse the 'coin in the hand' player a little more.
  • DB demonstrates his memory skills by recalling the numbers of members of the audience who are in a particular local telephone book. When he finds members of the audience who are in the directory he tells them their address and telephone number. The effect concludes with him detailing the page and column in which the final person's number is located, the numbers above and below the person's and, of course, their number.
  • DB gets the 'coin in the hand' player back on stage, and attempts to confuse them even more about which envelope to choose. An envelope is chosen, and it turns out to be the one containing the picture of the parrot (DB claims the player has won the 500 on a couple of occasions). Just before they player returns to their seat DB returns their wristwatch to them if it was suitable for pickpocketing.
  • DB concludes the first half by asking the audience to write down the details of someone they know who has died, and think about them during the interval.

Act II

  • DB enters ringing a handbell and gives a brief history of the birth of the spiritualist movement in America in1848 involving the Fox sisters. He then talks about doing something a little different in the show, as the parents of a friend of his who died nine years ago are in the audience.
  • DB gets the audience to call out random letters to make a name; the name turns out to be DB's friend's name and DB explains that if the audience were to watch a recording of the show they would understand why they arrived at that name.
  • DB gets two women from the audience and asks them to imagine that they are spiritualists. He passes them some items, including a baseball cap, a Rubik's cube, and an audio cassette, which belonged to his friend. He asks them to say what they think his dead friend was like when he was six. DB writes the answers out of the spiritualists' sight but they are able to provide the information accurately. They are also asked which sport he played and their correct answer is shown on a t-shirt which also bears the deceased's name.
  • One of the women who is particularly accurate in her answers is asked to remain on stage. She talks to DB and answers questions about his dead friend, DB tells the audicen that the answers are all provided in a letter asking for work experience written before he died. DB then asks the lady to imagine what his dead friend looks like. A photograph is displayed to the audience and the spiritualist's description is close.
  • She is asked to imagine him touching the backs of her hands and she actually feels this; she is also told about how he used to pinch someone just above the knee and she also feels him do that.
  • The work experience letter is then opened and it turns out that the details given by the spiritualist are correct or extremely close.
  • DB selects six different people, two men and six women, at random from the audience. He recreates a ouija board using lettered cards placed in a circle around a table and an upturned wine glass; DB states that the glass will move to the letter 'Y' if a spirit is present. Two of the audience members stand by the table and put their fingers on the glass which moves to the letter 'Y'.
  • DB proves that there is no conscious element influencing the people using the ouija board by writing a letter on a small card behind his back which is then sealed in an envelope and placed on the table. The cards are also placed face down to avoid any conscious influence. When the glass has moved to a card it is revealed to match the letter on in the envelope.
  • DB then gets the ouija board users to try and choose the date on which his friend died from a choice of four upturned cards with a different date on each. The first date chosen is not the correct year of death, so they try again: the same, incorrect, date is chosen again.
  • DB asks the volunteers to place their fingers back on the glass and use the ouija board to choose some more letters; their selection appears not to spell anything until duplicate letters are added as there is only one of each letter available on the table. The chosen cards give a row letter and the name of a person sitting in their in the theatre. This person is thinking of a deceased friend who died in the year indicated twice by the board. They then comes on to the stage and DB holds their hand and reads details about the dead person culminating in their name.


  • DB chooses a person from the audience at random who is asked to think of a two digit number. DB says that surveys have been done on random numbers chosen by people who read different newspapers; he writes out some of these on a sheet visible to the audience. DB tries to work out the subject's number based on reading that person and their choice of newspaper. He gets it wrong. It is then revealed that the numbers DB has written down form a magic square and each row, column, and several other combinations all add up to the subject's number.

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