Derren Brown: Live Shows

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Something Wicked this Way Comes (DVD 2008)

Something Wicked this Way Comes contains material from the live stage show broadcast on C4.

SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES 2005 - 2006 Show Programme

Act I

  • Music Informationsongs used before, during, and after show:
    Wednesday's Child
    Space March
    The Persuaders
    Midnight Cowboy
    Beats For Beatniks

    all by John Barry
    Buy Song
  • DB throws a stuffed toy into the audience to select his first volunteer who is then told to name an animal and come on stage to turn around a board to reveal a comedy drawing of a mixture of animals. The spectator is then given a combination locked briefcase, and told to try guessing the combination in the interval, as the briefcase's contents will be important at the end of the show. When the case is picked up there is a sealed envelope underneath it which, when opened, contains the name of the animal chosen at the start of the show.
  • The entire audience is told to think of the surname of the first person they had a crush on, and another audience member is then chosen by the monkey to go up on stage; they then pick four more "liars" from the audience. The five spectators then write their chosen surname down. A bag containing four white balls and one black ball is introduced, and each spectator is instructed to take a ball from the bag and keep it to themselves. DB then asks them each a question: if they have a white ball they have to lie, but the spectator with the black ball has to tell the truth. DB duly discovers the liars and sends them back to their seat leaving the truth teller. In some performances DB reveals the surname chosen by the truth teller at this point.
  • DB discusses Psychics in disparaging terms and goes on to perform a demonstration of ESP with another audience member in which the spectator is able to get the cards in the same order as DB.
  • The audience is warned that a film that is about to be shown contains subliminal messages, after which four audience members will be overcome with a desire to come up to the stage. The short film is shown and at least four people come up to the stage from whom DB selects the four that will stay. They are each given a number from 1 to 4 on it and then told to put their free choice of five different coloured envelope into a blank envelope. Four chairs are then lined up on stage and the spectators are each told to pick one to sit on. Another audience member is then called up to the stage to read out a letter which is a prediction saying which envelope will remain unchosen, how many males and females will come up to the stage, and the order in which they will sit on the stage. They then open their selected envelopes which each contain their seat number in the auditorium.
  • DB concludes the first half by warning the audience that no under-12s should return for the second half.

Act II

  • The curtain rises to reveal a table and two chairs, DB appears from the wings to Bach's Goldberg Variations and, without speaking, walks into the audience and takes a woman by the hand and leads her to the stage. They sit opposite each other and she is given a large nail to verify its authenticity. DB then hammers the nail up his nostril (in a performance of 'Blockhead') after which the audience member helps him to retrieve it. The nail is then hammered into a piece of wood and given to the spectator as a slightly gruesome reminder of the effect.
  • Music Information'Adagio un poco mosso' (second movement)
    from Piano Concerto No 5 in E flat (Op 73)

    Ludwig van Beethoven
    Buy Song
  • DB explains that the second half of the show includes demonstrations of mind control on himself, and its use for pain control. He then tells a story about how he distracted himself from the pain of bullying at school by counting objects, and with this another audience member is selected and told to take a handful of buttons out of a bowl and put them on a tray. Both the bowl and tray are covered up, and the spectator is told to slap DB (in keeping with the story) after which the tray is uncovered and DB announces the number on buttons on the tray within a couple of seconds. The effect is then repeated with the spectator shaking the tray during the counting, but DB is still able to count the number of buttons correctly.
  • A plastic sheet is put on the stage and buckets of broken glass are poured over it, with an empty wine bottle being smashed on stage and added to the layer of glass. DB mentions The Great Prestoni, a performer who could deprive his brain of oxygen in order not to feel pain so that he could walk over broken glass. An audience member is chosen (preferably someone with medical experience) to take his pulse: having established his pulse is present, DB puts a plastic bag over his head and apparently stops his own pulse. DB then walks backwards and forwards over the glass. He then lies face down on the glass, and the spectator is guided to stand on DB's back. DB stands up, and the spectator feels his pulse return to normal to conclude the effect.
  • The show is brought back to the briefcase seen at the start which remains locked. The combination is revealed to be its custodian's date of birth and house number, but the case is not opened. DB then throws copies of ten different newspapers into the audience, and the spectator choses the one that they read. The spectator then picks the page, column, story and rips the page of the paper into small pieces which are then passed to DB. The spectator is told to pick a number between 1 and 10 (as there are about ten pieces of paper), which turns out to be the word highlighted in a copy of the paper locked in the briefcase during the show.


  • DB shows an edited version of a recording of the evening's show which shows how several subliminal messages were planted in the script which all result in the selection of the paper, page number, and word.

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