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  • Writer's pictureAlex

Houdini's greatest escape

show banner Houdini's greatest escape
Houdini's greatest escape

We were invited to attend the press night for “Houdini’s greatest escape” at the King’s Head theatre in Islington, now being held in a new venue literally 30 seconds away from the original pub venue. Running there until the 30th of June the show is action packed with hardly a moment for relaxation, especially from the hard working cast of four actors who portray a huge range of characters between them. The three main characters of Harry Houdini, his wife Bess and his brother Theo are based on real life, as is the escapology and trickery but the rest is a fantasy of entanglement with the police and London’s underworld crime family and how Houdini and his wife will  extricate themselves from disaster.

Harry houdini and his wife Bess
Harry Houdini and Bess

A number of live action magic moments unfold before you as you might expect, but that is interspersed with a convoluted, slapstick storyline that gets crazier almost every minute. The cast managed to draw in the audience early and the almost instant costume changes let them swap characters at a very fast pace but still keep you invested in the old and the new characters.

Houdini's opponents
The ne'er do wells!

Harry Houdini was a remarkable character in real life, although his memory is fading somewhat now almost 100 years since his death. This show goes some way to help keep alive his exploits and abilities even if the storyline is fictional. Special mention must be made of the very hard working actors who work at an incredible pace for 90 minutes to create the entertaining chaos that ensues. Without giving anything away there is one scene where one actor plays 3 characters involved in a single fast-paced conversation, almost without missing a beat! The one missed beat was met with humour and appreciation by the audience as an obvious demonstration of how hard a job it was and how well the actor had kept up with it. This show is great entertainment, which is all you can ask for really when choosing a small venue theatre for a hilarious and action filled 90 minutes of your time.

Houdini and his wife on the run
On the run

The show is suggested for ages of 10+ with the usual caveats for stuff, but I think most children over 10 will love this show. It’s fast paced and very slightly naughty in places, but light heartedly so and there isn't moment of inaction. The location is well served locally with plenty of places to eat and drink so this show can make for a great evening out in Islington.

Until the 30th of June


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