The last act of Harry Houdini (thecockpit.org.uk)
Harry Houdini died on October 31st (Halloween) 1926 

Official cause of death:ruptured appendix

possibly the after effects of a punch to the stomach

possibly a psychic attack by a group of angry spiritualists

As the greatest illusionist of his age Harry Houdini kept up the mystery right down to his final moments


This daring one man show by Barry Killerby attempts to tell his tale…


...'I have never seen a theatre so empty on press night’... was my first thought when taking my seat in the auditorium at the Cockpit theatre for this show. 
However when combined with the smoke and mirrors lighting and perfectly minimal set, the empty seats just seemed to work to heighten the sense of melancholy as we are introduced to an ageing Houdini reflecting on his career: From humble beginnings arriving in America as a child of Hungarian jewish immigrant parents to becoming the greatest stuntman of the 20th century.


The performance takes a candid look at both Houdini’s personal and professional life such as his loving relationship with his wife Bess who helped him with certain aspects of his performance, as well as exploring his drive an motivation to keep pushing boundaries and performing increasingly more daring stunts.


It also documents his fascination with the darker side of life such a visits to lunatic asylums and  in later years his crusade debunking spiritualism, (which had become enormously popular after the huge death toll of the first world war) but which Houdini felt played on peoples credulity an took advantage of their grief.

Although interestingly despite this his wife Bess held a yearly seance for him at the knickerbocker hotel in New York for 10 years after he died, (Alas he never put in an appearance!)



Despite being best known for his role as Mr Blobby, Barry Killerby is clearly a talented writer and performer, the last act of Harry Houdini is well researched and by turns both funny and poignant. 
Tonight was good but I feel like Killerby is just getting started, once he has performed this show a few more times and really found his metier it could be something quite spectacular.
Catch it now or else loose all bragging rights when in a few years it either wins an oscar or takes the West by storm!