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Houdini at Blackpool Grand Theatre

“I want to do a scene with Stuart, he’s full of ideas this kid!”
– Rutger Hauer (Blade Runner)

Hauer went on to surpass this ambition, starring in Stuart Brennan‘s 2012 vampire movie, The Reverend.  Since co-founding the film production company, Burn Hands Productions, during his student days, Brennan has gone on to take the lead in at least fifteen short and feature films.  His performance in Risen, in which he portrayed the boxer Howard Winstone, won him an honorary Championship belt from the World Boxing Council.  He also won Best Actor at the BAFTA Cymru Awards in 2011 for this role.  His role as producer has won him numerous awards and nominations at the International Film Festival.  It’s fair to say that Brennan is a real player in terms of all round ability in the world of film and performance.  A glance at his resume on IMDb shows an increasing list of responsibilities with each project.Harry Houdini (Jamie Nichols) Houdini (6) photo by Thierry Sewell

Houdini, which opens at Blackpool Grand Theatre on Monday 16 September and has been in development since 2010, is written by Brennan (his first script for the stage) and directed by Theatre Giant’s creative director, Peter Snee.  The concept art for the project was developed by the Oscar-winning WETA Workshop, the team behind Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia and X-Men.  Costumes are designed by Fraz Roughton who has worked on productions across the UK, from Shakespeare to street theatre.  Sound is provided by London-based sound designer, Daffyd Gough and an original score has been composed by Nordic musician, Tord Brudevoll.  This is an impressive creative team and promises much for the play which has now fledged from London’s West End to tour the UK.

The play charts the lives of the Houdini brothers, magicians ‘Dash’ (Theodore) and the famous escape artist, Harry, who performed in Blackpool at the Hippodrome (now the Syndicate building) in 1905.  It was while performing as The Brothers Houdini at Coney Island that the brothers met Bess who was performing in a song and dance act, The Floral Sisters.  Initially, she was courted by Theo but in 1894 she married Harry and the couple went on to perform as The Houdinis, with Bess acting as his onstage assistant, and the brothers went on to perform separately.  It’s a love triangle that’s been played out in both The Prestige and The Illusionist on the big screen in 2006, both becoming large box office draws.  This is the real thing!Bess (Evanna Lynch) and Theo (Stuart Brennan) - Houdini photo by Thierry Sewell

In the stage depiction of their lives, Brennan plays the part of Theo, with Jamie Nichols, of Life Begins and The Wedding Singerthe musical, taking the part of Harry.  Bess is played by Harry Potter star, Evanna Lynch, well known for her portrayal of Luna Lovegood.

This performance is sure to draw large audiences, appealing to lovers of history, biography and magic.  The team promises to weave a compelling story, taking us throughout ‘and beyond’ Houdini’s life.  It is playing from 16 to 21 September and tickets start at £11.50.  To book, visit the website, phone (01253) 743339 or visit the box office on Church Street.

 

Photos by Thierry Sewell

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