Harry Houdini was the greatest performer who ever lived, but fame and fortune do not come free. For his brother Theo and his wife Bess, the price may have been too high. Now a theatre production, starring Luna Lovegood, is to look inside the gripping life story of Houdini.
The production entitled Houdini explores the devastation that is reaped by ambition, love and jealousy. The theatre play is a sharply written, dramatic, darkly comic new script about two of the greatest performers the world has ever known – the Houdini Brothers: stuntmen, illusionists and magicians. It will premiere at Stoke on Trent Repertory Theatre on September 9th before touring the UK throughout September and October.
Featuring sharply drawn characters and breathtaking live stunts, Houdini was written by BAFTA award-winning actor and filmmaker Stuart Brennan. Theatre Giant’s creative director Peter Snee will direct the production with a creative dream team that includes film and TV production designer Danny Rogers, costume designer Fraz Roughton, sound designer Daffyd Gough, and composer Tord Brudevoll.
Concept artwork has been developed with multi-Oscar winning design studio WETA Workshop who are based in New Zealand and whose multiple credits include Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, X-Men and Chronicles of Narnia.
Principal casting is currently underway to find the perfect Harry; Evanna Lynch, well known for her role as Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter films, will be taking the role of Bess, Harry Houdini’s wife and stage assistant.
Harry Houdini, noted for his sensational escape acts, first attracted attention on a tour of Europe where he challenged the local police force to try and keep him locked up; audiences were simultaneously enthralled and entertained and Houdini’s flair for comedy, gimmickry and breathtaking nerve developed quickly and soon informed all his work.
He extended his repertoire to include chains, ropes slung from skyscrapers, straitjackets under water and even holding his breath inside a sealed milk can! In 1904 thousands watched as he tried to escape from special handcuffs commissioned by the Daily Mirror in London and although some suspected his increasingly complicated escapes were fabricated, they remained in the small minority.
As President of the Society of American Magicians, Houdini was keen to uphold professional standards and expose fraudulent artists. He died in 1926 from a ruptured appendix, possibly the result of a fatal blow…but mystery and legend still surround the facts…
Tour dates are as follows:
September 9th – 14th: Stoke on Trent Repertory Theatre
September 16th – 21st: Blackpool Grand Theatre
September 24th – 28th: Swansea Grand Theatre
September 30th – October 5th: Windsor Theatre Royal
October 7th – 12th: Dublin Gaiety Theatre