I am not a very big theatre fan, so when I found out that Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood from the Harry Potter movies) was staring in a show called Houdini that was playing in Swansea, I knew that I had to attend. And I am so thankful that I did. I didn’t know what to expect and was not very much aware of the Houdini Brothers story although I had some information I had heard growing up.
Sitting in anticipation I was hooked onto the show from the first scene with the Wild Man of Mexico which had my heart beating faster within a few seconds of being on the stage. From that moment I knew that the show was going to be something special. I was in awe when Evanna came out and I found myself getting teary that I was that close to her (being a big Harry Potter fan).
As the show went on I found myself being engrossed in the lives of the brothers Houdini – Theo and Harry and their relationship to magic – and to each other. The show was a backstage look at how the brothers interacted when they were off stage and how they came to become the people that they had.
It was soon clear that the brothers were not on the same level – Harry was offered a position with Martin Beck, but only without his brother. Harry declined this but Theo told him it was a great opportunity and let his brother – and wife/assistant Bess – move onto bigger and better things. But it wasn’t long before fame and jealously started to kick in. Harry’s fame got to his head and he started to forget about the people that were important to him – his brother and his wife. He was obsessed with being perfect but didn’t realise that his life around his was falling apart.
His brother Theo on the other hand was not doing as successful as Harry and was struggling to look after the family that he was trying to raise. Theo wished that he could make his brother see how selfish he was becoming and that he wasn’t the brother that he had growing up. Harry’s fame and ego was stronger and he would not believe that things around him were falling apart.
Unfortunately, Harry’s life was brought to an end at the age of 52. The play ended with a look at 10 years in the future when Harry appears to Bess and gives her snow – which she always loved. And the audience were treated to foam being showered during this scene.
The stunts used during the play were breath taking. The Water Torture Cell and the catching bullet with teeth tricks had me on the edge of the seat, barely breathing, until the trick had been completed. The acting in the play was flawless and although there had been a few things that had gone wrong according to Evanna, I was unable to find any faults with the show. The acting was fantastic and well rehearsed. The play ran at a good speed and allowed us to see the important parts of the lives of the Houdini Brothers. There was a good mix of humorous parts, breath taking parts and tear jerking parts and it was brought together in a fast paced, well researched manner.
And to top off the evening I got to meet the wonderful Evanna and Chris Rankin who was also in the Harry Potter movies as Percy Weasley.
If this play was to be shown again next year and following years, with the same actors, I would be more than happy to see it again and again and continue to be entranced with the lives of these two brothers – who despite being apart – were nothing without the other.
About the play
The highly successful Brothers Houdini soon find this out, when their death-defying feats start to draw in ever bigger crowds.
Join us for what promises to be an explosive theatrical spectacle, when the prestigious promoter Martin Beck offers only Harry an opportunity that will change his life forever.
This intricate look inside the lives of two of the greatest performers the world has ever seen explores the impact of family, love and jealousy. Watch as two masters of the stage perform, entrance, delight and surprise; performing a number of famous illusions in this gripping life story that is certainly not for the faint-hearted.
Discover the legend. Believe in the magic.