The tale of Harry Houdini on stage

New for 2024, award-winning theatre company New Old Friends in association with the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre present Houdini’s Greatest Escape, which will open at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford on Thursday, February 8 and tour the UK throughout the spring.
Ben Higgins (Harry Houdini) - contributed picBen Higgins (Harry Houdini) - contributed pic
Ben Higgins (Harry Houdini) - contributed pic

A spokesman said: “Almost 100 years ago today, Harry Houdini performed his final disappearing trick. Every year since, magic enthusiasts across the world have held Halloween seances in an attempt to solve the great escapologist’s last mystery. Surely if anyone could cheat death it would have been Houdini! New Old Friends (Crimes on Centre Court) can’t promise to shed any light on that story but do have a brand-new one…

“Harry Houdini is the world’s greatest entertainer. Just as his death-defying escapology stunts have him, and his wife Bess, on the cusp of a career-defining performance for King Edward, he finds himself framed for murder by a gang of criminals in cahoots with the chief of police. Can Harry and Bess escape the plot and clear their names? And how is their rival, The Superstar Spiritualist medium, Agatha, involved? All will be revealed in this hilarious 39 Steps-esque thriller, played out in New Old Friends’ inimitable, award-winning style of physical comedy, sparkling wit and just a touch of chaos. Featuring a cast of four playing multiple roles, this show will have you laughing and gasping throughout at the magic of theatre and the real magic of illusions designed by TV’s Pete Firman (Netflix Good Omens, BBC One’s The Magicians).”

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The cast includes Ben Higgins as Harry Houdini, Lydia Piechowiak as Bess Houdini many other characters played by Kirsty Cox and Adam Elliott. Feargus Woods Dunlop from the company said: “This is a show we have wanted to make for years and are over the moon that the company is finally in a position to realise the vision of blending our slightly chaotic overtly theatrical nonsense with some genuine illusions. Researching and getting to know Harry and Bess Houdini has been fascinating and this, entirely fictional, episode in their crusade against fraud mediums has been a huge amount of fun.”

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