Magical performance from memories of Magic
Daniel Llewelyn-Williams’ taut terrific one man show, A Regular Little Houdini is filled with history. Of his home town in Wales, of Magic, of a world lost, and of a tragedy remembered.
Set in Newport, South Wales, Llewelyn-Williams’ love for its history is the foundation and spine of this coming of age show of a little boy enamored with Houdini and magic during the Edwardian era. Llewelyn-Williams weaves a superb narrative drawing on actual events and places from the history of Newport – an appearance of the great escape artist Harry Houdini where he proposed to leap chained and straitjacketed from the Newport Bridge, the Newport Transporter Bridge which was one of the wonders of the age, the great tragedy that occurred there and the fabled story of a brave lad who risked his life for others on that day.
All this serves as the ample background for the endearing story of a working class family struggling against the harsh realities of the day and of a young boy who dreams of greater things.
Joshua Richards’s direction is sharp, swift and sure handed and serves the story brilliantly. Meg Cox provides some lovely music.
And here’s a first for me – what a program! Full of historical notes and information of the personages and events that the show covers, this is one program you should put on your book shelf among the history tomes.
But the real joy of this show is in watching the performance of Llewelyn-Williams. He takes to the stage like a whirlwind, lifts up the audience and doesn’t let it go until he’s ready to send us home completely entertained by his tale and completely overwhelmed by his talent.
I’ve seen 44 shows at the Hollywood Fringe this year, and Llewelyn-Williams’ performance of a little boy who learns that the world is always magical as long as we keep believing in magic, is at the very top of my list.
And c’mon, is there any nationality that has a more melodic accent than the Welsh?
Not for my money.