A theatre-goer was struck down by a mystery condition which left her unable to walk while in the audience of celebrity illusionist Derren Brown’s stage show.
As the final act before the interval began at the Theatre Royal, Newcastle, earlier this month, Claire Sauer from Cramlington, Northumberland, began to feel affected by the trick Brown was performing on another audience member.
Brown had called a volunteer onto the stage, and seemed to be ‘putting him under’ – and the 37 year old felt as though she too was being affected by the trick.
As the house lights came up for the interval, Ms Sauer said she was unable to move her body.
Affected: Claire Sauer (pictured right, in front of a poster of the celebrity illusionist) started to feel affected by the onstage trick Brown was performing on another audience member at the show at the Theatre Royal in Newcastle earlier this month
She said: ‘I had lost the feeling in my neck, my head was just bobbing around and fell onto my partner’s shoulder. He just thought I was sleepy, and in my head I was saying “no no, I’m not sleepy”, but I couldn’t speak.
‘I started crying but tears were just running down because I couldn’t move my face. I don’t know what happened, I think it was just his voice and the way he was talking.’
Theatre staff had to help Ms Sauer out of the auditorium and into a wheelchair before the end of the show on August 8.
But even then she claims she was unable to move or feel her limbs. She asked whether Brown would be able to come out and help – but his management said this would not be possible.
With Ms Sauer still unable to move, theatre staff were forced to call an ambulance to take her to hospital.
She said: ‘The paramedic was saying “try to move your leg”, but I just couldn’t.’
But after hours of testing – during which time feeling slowly returned – doctors concluded there was nothing physically wrong with her.
Ms Sauer, who has now recovered, said: ‘I got loads of checks. I felt really faint and weak and horrible – I couldn’t work the next day. It was so scary.’
Can’t help: Brown says none of the illusions in his show can be described as hypnotism, and that he doesn’t know how Ms Sauer came to have such a reaction or how he could have helped
Previously sceptical call centre worker Ms Sauer says she went into the show doubtful of the affect the illusionist could have – she certainly didn’t think he would be able to influence her.
Brown says none of the illusions in his show can be described as hypnotism, and that he doesn’t know how Ms Sauer came to have such a reaction or how he could have helped.
He said: ‘It was fascinating to hear of Claire’s story, and I’m pleased she’s OK. As far as the show goes, there’s nothing I do in the first half, and no hypnotism in the show at all, that I can think of that could have triggered such a reaction.
‘But it sounds like Claire is a very receptive person and would have doubtless been a talented subject to bring on stage.
‘I’m sorry to hear of her frightening experience and pleased she’s made a full recovery.’
MailOnline have contacted Brown’s management for further comment.
A spokesman for the Theatre Royal said: ‘We can confirm that on Tuesday night a customer took ill during a performance of Derren Brown’s show Underground.
‘Members of our Front of House team assisted the lady and stayed with her until she left the Theatre in the hands of the emergency services.
‘We are sorry to hear that this occurred and delighted to hear the customer made a full recovery. Our team are fully trained to deal with first aid situations like this and pride themselves on a quick and compassionate response.’