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Mainstage At Bakehouse Theatre, Wed 8 Mar.
This is a tale of a young man’s hopes and dreams set against the historical backdrop of Newport, Wales in the early 20th Century. Harry Houdini was at the peak of his fame and our young Welsh narrator hoped to emulate his hero with feats of magic and ‘amazements’.
Predictably, his working class family didn’t warm to the idea of his chosen profession, but he toils away in private learning magic tricks and practising feats of escapism with his best friend. His first attempt at the spectacular does not end well, and leaves him with a permanent disability. A tragic industrial accident on the Newport docks took his much loved father, and he eventually settles for a proper job.
A chance encounter with his childhood hero reawakens his childhood dream however, and he decides to once again focus on magic.
This self-penned play is beautifully delivered by Daniel Llewelyn-Williams. One slips seamlessly into his world of magic and adoration of his hero. His childlike innocence and enthusiasm is infectious, and his authentic delivery in the Welsh dialect of the time is engaging and curious. His emotion around the death of his father is underplayed with true British stoicism but still feels poignant.
There are some impressive magic tricks along the way, but the most impressive thing about this piece is Llewelyn-Williams’ ability to immerse his audience in the sights and sounds and smells of a time long gone.
Houdini’s mastery of escape would have been an alluring metaphor of freedom for gangers and dockers and their struggling families at the time, but then, as now, despite life’s hardships, if you hold on to your dreams long enough, you may well achieve more than you ever imagined.
A story beautifully told with a charming authenticity.
A Regular Little Houdini continues at the Mainstage at Bakehouse Theatre from 7.30pm until Sat 18 Mar.
Book at FringeTIX on 1300 621 255 or adelaidefringe.com.au. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.