The trick is to preview Derren Brown's Svengali tour without using any terrible magician puns. Actually, that shouldn't be too difficult since the 40-year-old hypnotist and illusionist from South London maintains that he is not a magician and is, in fact, an arch-sceptic who seeks to demonstrate only the power of the mind, misdirection and suggestion.
Having started to conjure and do close-up sleight of hand work while at university (in Bristol), Brown's career took off in 1999 when Channel 4 commissioned Derren Brown Mind Control. With the questionable mystic powers of US illusionist David Blaine starting to wear thin, Brown's skills, and particularly his theme that he was not a magician, found an audience.
Numerous TV specials and further series, such as 2003's Russian Roulette Live, cemented the charismatic performer in the nation's subconscious. His repeated assertion that his illusions were the result of mere misdirection and an acute understanding of the workings of the human mind - rather than borne of any mystical or paranormal power - were continually reinforced with televised evidence and the testimony of apparently unwitting bystanders.
But every now and then, he'd throw in a stunt so audacious and unbelievable that it defied any logical explanation whatsoever. Yet we know he doesn't cheat, so...
Misdirection you see. He has never said he never cheats, we just believe he doesn't because he infers as much so very frequently. And this is Brown's 'x factor' - he makes viewers believe that he is nothing special and yet delivers stunts so incredible that the only logical conclusion is that he has magical powers.
If you want a closer look at Derren Brown, then you may get your chance following news that he has announced a series of UK dates for his Svengali tour.
May 2011 dates in Birmingham are sold out but there are a handful of tickets remaining for Northampton and Plymouth (May), Bristol and Bournemouth (June). Brown is doing six shows a week at London's Shaftesbury Theatre from 8th June to 16th July and tickets are available now for a number of these performances.
The 2012 dates begin in February at Leeds Grand Theatre (five shows), before runs at Milton Keynes, The Lowry (Salford), Southampton and Torquay. Tickets are on sale now, starting at around £30.
Please note that show is not suitable for children under 12.