Magicians are performers who need audiences to help create magical entertainment. A magician and their audience are a double act where the performer reveals and conceals and the audience allows themselves to be led in the act. Magic is based on deception, but if a magician appears to be deceiving their audience they will seem like a second hand car salesman. In order to disguise deception, magicians use a variety of skills and draw on the everyday practices, values and beliefs of their audience, using such knowledge in their act. Magic is an example of how the cultural practices of an audience are incorporated into the construction of live entertainment. Derren Brown combines psychology, magic and showmanship. He focuses on
scepticism and belief in the paranormal or supernaturalism, drawing on the historical tradition of mentalism, which is a form of magic that has the appearance of psychic powers. He explains how conjuring tricks such as table levitation or mind reading can be achieved by psychological manipulation. A live show such as ‘An Evening of Wonders’ blurs boundaries between rational explanation for conjuring acts, and metaphysical explanation that Brown is capable of mind control. People jokingly refer to him as a Jedi Master. For such conjuring acts to work, Brown utilises audience preconceptions, understandings and misunderstandings of paranormal ideas, psychology and the power of the mind, and magic and misdirection. Brown is so successful in his use of psychology that his performances ‘go beyond the concept of magic’, as one person described it. In such a way, Brown anticipates, manages and exploits how his audience thinks about psychology, magic and the paranormal.