Derren Brown: Live Shows

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DERREN BROWN: ENIGMA 2009 - 2010 Show Programme

Act I

  • Before the show starts, DB's voice is heard over the tannoy from backstage. He instructs people to write down three of their favourite things on a slip of paper and place it in a basket on the stage; there are only sixty slips of paper. DB comes on stage and asks someone on front row to pick a slip out (he is also given a dictionary in case any of the words are a little odd). He is to play a game of word disassociation with DB: he has to give five words unrelated to the first written word, and from those DB will discern what the word is. DB knows it is a word relating to music or a band but is unable to deduce it, so the spec tells him it is 'McFly'. The process is repeated for the second written word, this time with just three random words, and DB gets it correct.
  • DB gives a sealed envelope to a member of the audience to look after until the end of the show
  • DB reminds the audience of the game 'Guess Who?' in which one of twenty-four faces has to be identified by asking questions with a Yes/No answer; he is going to play his version: 'Guess Whom?' He uses frisbees to pick four members of the audience. DB explains that people who arrived at the show early had their photographs taken in the foyer. From these DB picked those which would be used in the evening's show. Each player has to pick one photo and remember the face and name and they are all then returned to the pack. DB then lays all the photos out on the table and the first spec puts her hand on his shoulder and DB asks questions to which she only thinks the answer: he duly identifies her chosen photograph. He then uses the next two specs who each place a hand on his shoulder and again after a series of questions, DB correctly identifies each person's photograph. The final spec stands facing DB and the photographed members of the audience stand up. After a series of questions DB eliminates all but one member of the audience and asks the spec to write the person's name down: it duly matches the last standing member of the audience.
  • DB returns to the player of word disassociation for the final word: he takes three random words but cannot work it out so leaves it temporarily.
  • DB got a woman up on stage and asked her to think of a childhood memory; the then gave a psychic reading in which he revealed her memory.
  • DB describes how he met a Russian woman who convinced the KGB and the CIA she could see through tin foil: she would demonstrate her skill by having someone wrap a playing card in foil, and then predicting (with 100% accuracy) whether the card was red or black; sometimes she would even be able to tell the value and suit of the card. DB perform this effect with a spec from the audience, accurately ging the value and suit of the card. He explains he was able to do this by using the reflection of the card in the tin foil. However, he continues that the Russian woman had always wanted to be able to really perfect this, and eventually she did. She revealed her secret to DB and although he could not reveal it to the audience he is able to demonstrate it. He duly tells the time of a spec's watch set to a random time and wrapped in tin foil, the value of a rolled die in tin foil and another value of a playing card, again in tin foil.
  • During this, a small table was placed on the stage, upon which stands a box covered by a cloth. DB asks for a female volunteer who has lost a grandparent; he ascertains the woman's name and the name of her deceased grandparent, in this instance, Doris. DB tells a story about his grandfather who had a locked box in his spare room the contents of which remained a mystery throughout his childhood. The woman is called to the stage and DB asks about her grandparent. DB returns to his story and says that after his grandfather's death, the only thing he wanted to keep as a reminder was the locked box. He produces a key and the volunteer is told to open the box. Within the box is another box, and the second box contains a brandy glass containing a ball of wool. The end of the wool is passed into the audience and the ball is unravelled; inside the wool is a smaller box which contains a coin on which the message 'In living memory of Doris' is engraved.
  • DB starts to talk about a task for the audience during the interval in which they have to vote for a random image of seven on display on the stage by marking their choice on a pad. He interrupts himself to return to the game of word disassociation: he writes a string of numbers on a card and asks the player for the final written word. The string of numbers relate to the page, column and word position in the dictionary of the final word.

Act II

  • DB gives the voting pad to a member of the audience to look after.
  • A binaural tone is played to the audience to identify good trance subjects and two people are selected: they are brought to the stage and blindfolded. DB talks about the way in which mediums used the trance states and shows an image of a woman balanced between two chair backs and the man is told to become rigid, and is balanced across two chairs in the same way. He is unblindfolded, and comes out of his trance. He is asked to comment on his experience and is returned to the audience.
  • A member of the audience is chosen at random, and asked to confirm the liquid in a vinegar bottle tastes like vinegar. DB pours the rest of the vinegar into a glass. While in a trance the female is told to drink the vinegar and enjoy it as refreshing drink: she does.
  • Still in a trance, the woman is given a card and a pencil and encouraged to write randomly on it. The card is place in an envelope and placed in her hand. She is unblindfolded and is told to walk through the audience to pick a new spec. The woman and the new spec come to the stage, she is brought out of her trance and the spec is told to empty all the money he has on him onto the table, add it up and announce the result. The spec opens the envelope and finds the number previously written on the card by the woman to match the cash total. The spec and the woman return to the audience and a trace-clearing tone is played.
  • DB introduces the spirit cabinet to the audience and picks two men from the audience to sit sentinel over the spirit cabinet on stage. One man is told to write the name of someone he is with on a piece of paper, the other man is told to write the name of someone he loves but is not in the theatre on his slip of paper. Both slips are placed into envelopes, initialled and held by the two men. They check the chair and table in the spirit cabinet and all is found to be normal. A woman who previously fell under the trance is selected and brought to the stage as the medium. DB puts a bell on the table in the spirit cabinet, places his medium into a trance and puts a bag over her head as a blindfold. The curtains of the spirit cabinet are drawn, DB asks if there is a spirit present if it will acknowledge its presence. The bell is heard to ring. The medium is brought out the trance and claims not have rung the bell. A ball and a glass are put on the table, and the medium's hand is placed over the glass's opening. The medium is blindfolded and the curtains closed. The bell rings and the curtain is opened; the medium's hand is still in position, but the ball is now inside the glass. The medium is brought out of the trance and claims not to have moved her hand. A chalk board is placed on the medium's lap and she is given a piece of chalk. Again she is put in a trance and blindfolded and the curtains are closed. The bell rings and sounds of the chalk board being written on are heard. The curtain is opened and there is scribble on the blackboard. The medium is brought out of the trance and claims not to have done the drawing. Two more blackboards are placed face to face on the medium's lap and the chalk is placed between them; she is returned to her trance and the curtains closed. One of the men is asked for his slip of paper, it is thrown into the spirit cabinet and he shouts out the name he wrote. The bell rings and the chalk is thrown out of the cabinet. DB opens the curtain, takes the blackboards and they have the shouted name written on them. The medium denies any knowledge. DB ties the medium's wrists and knees together and the two men also knot the rope. A tambourine is placed on the medium's arms; she is placed back in her trance and blindfolded. The curtains are closed. The tambourine is thrown out of the cabinet. The curtains are opened and the medium is still tied up denying throwing the tambourine. One of the men suddenly jumps up from his chair to the audience's amusement and his confusion. He stands in the cabinet holding another blackboard in folded arms and is blindfolded. The medium still restrained is given another tambourine, put in the trance and blindfolded. DB also puts some newspapers on the cabinet's table. The second man is asked to take his envelope out and he also stands in the cabinet with his hand on the blackboard and is told to shout the name passionately in his mind. He is also blindfolded and both men and put in a trance. DB closes the curtain. The tambourine rattles, paper is thrown out of the cabinet, the bells rings, the cabinet shakes and shouting is heard from within. DB opens the curtains. One of the blindfolds has a silly face drawn on it and the medium has the tambourine on her head. The men and the medium are woken up, and the medium is untied. The man holding the blackboard continues to hold it to him and the other man is finally asked to say the name of the person aloud. The blackboard is turned around and the name is shown to have been written.
  • DB talks about the cracking of the Enigma code and how it was done by the key factor of nothing human being random. The voting pad is totalled up while six men are picked by frisbee. Stickers with the numbers one to six are shuffled by one of the volunteers and randomly passed along the line. The six numbered men are told to stand in front of a lettered circle (A-F) on the stage at random. They are then told to reorder themselves randomly. A lady is picked by frisbee and brought on stage and asked for a letter between A and F. By shaking hands with the man associated with the letter she forms a psychic connection with him. DB gets three sets of pictures: he gives the woman one, places one at the front of the stage and gives each of his numbered pictures to the corresponding man. DB opens the woman's envelope and the pictures are shown to be the same as the ones shown in the interval. He shuffles them and asks her to pick one at random. She reveals her picture is an ice cream with matches the man with whom she has made a psychic connection's picture. Each man is asked to clip his picture to their letter on the stage. DB points out that there was two variables in this: the picture of the ice cream and the man's position. He opens the envelope at the front of the stage and it is shown to contain the matching details. Everyone is sent back to their seats. The most voted for picture is revealed as being the confetti and that is missing from the six on the stage. However, the man who was given an envelope to look after at the start of the show is asked to open it and he reads a prediction which says the most popular picture will be confetti. Two panels of seemingly random letters which have formed part of the set of brought together and shown to contain the message 'Choose the confetti'.


  • A film is shown and a woman introduces herself as DB's mother thanking the audience for coming and introducing a band to play the show out, who are called McFly. The song is clearly written for the occasion as it describes the process of the final effect but includes a lyric listing the pictures in the order in which they are displayed apparently randomly on stage.
  • As the clapping reaches its height, DB stops the audience and explains he did not have thousands of different versions of the song ready to play, but that he decided on the order of the pictures two years previously. He shows that the initial letter of each image Egg, Needle, Ice cream, Goose, Moose, Apple juice spells ENIGMA: the show's title.

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