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The Last Act of Harry Houdini - a spooky show for Halloween

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

WRITTEN and performed by Barry Killerby, The Last Act of Harry Houdini comes to The Cockpit Theatre for Halloween, playing from October 29 to November 2, 2019.

The man who brought us Mr Blobby now seeks redemption by bringing his own, highly acclaimed one man show to London. Harry Houdini confronted death on a daily basis and his own death, on October 31, as foretold by the very mediums and mystics he spent his life debunking, is his final act.

On October 21, 1926, two strangers visited Houdini in his theatre dressing room. Ten days later, he was dead. Harry Houdini was a poor Hungarian Jewish immigrant who rose through the Vaudeville theatre circuit to become the greatest showman of the early twentieth century.

In this highly acclaimed production, the Master Magician is forced to confront his obsessions with asylums and dance halls, movies and seances until finally revealing confidential show business secrets and the real motivation behind his death defying career. Somewhere, in this last act, is the answer to what killed the greatest escapologist of all time.

In this epic rags to riches story, there was also great sacrifice and little known secret obsessions. Locked in his theatre dressing room, Houdini exposes the darker side of the great self liberator. He was one of the first aviators in a brand new world of travel; one of the first movie idols at the birth of cinema; an insatiable collector, his vast library bequeathed to the Library of Congress; a philanthropist who paid for the graves and memorial stones for fellow magicians and the scourge of the new Church of Spiritualism.

Barry Killerby’s career includes widespread work in regional and commercial theatre, then for 12 years with BBC TV in a wide variety of BAFTA-award winning Light Entertainment programmes such as Noel’s House Party, Live & Kicking, even The Generation Game and many more. He wrote The Last Act of Harry Houdini in commemoration of his father, and this play represents his return to the stage after sharing this long journey with his family.

The production is directed by Ishwar Maharaj.

Tickets: £12, £10 concessions. To book, visit www.thecockpit.org.uk/.

Times: 7.30pm. Special Anniversary Performance on October 31 at 9.30pm.

Running Time 60 minutes.