Review: A Regular Little Houdini @ Chapter Arts Centre

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A Regular Little Houdini is an original and brilliant fringe performance and deserved winner of 4 International Fringe Festival awards. It is your chance to escape to an evening of utter enjoyment. Performed and written excellently by Daniel Llewelyn-Williams and directed by Joshua Richards, this is a one man show with a running time of 55 minutes. This performance was shown at Chapter in Cardiff and was on for 3 nights. It’s currently on a tour around the UK and is also being performed in New York next December.

The show is set in Newport at the turn of the last century. Allen, the show’s protagonist, is inspired by his hero (Harry Houdini) and loves magic but his working class life keeps getting in the way of his dream. His personal journey collides with the world’s greatest showman himself and changes his life. The ending to this show is terrifying and you empathise with Allen.

Daniel Llewelyn-Williams was very believable in the role of this character and was very interesting to watch. He had a vocal quality which meant he could portray different characters well throughout the show with different accents. The body movements and gestures were very true to the character with lots of energy.

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The set and props were very simple but effective in this show. A multi-use briefcase was used in many moments as different objects and worked very well. Dim lighting conveyed the mood of the Edwardian times very well. I really liked the use of costume as it was historically accurate. There use of the music was effective and really contributed to the mood of the show and emphasised the atmospheres and tones conveyed. The visual effects of the magic tricks, or ‘Amazements’ as Allen liked to call them, were a particular highlight.

It was obviously a big risk to make A Regular Little Houdini a one man show, but it worked and I was always interested in what he was saying. This performance truly showcased Daniel Llewelyn-Williams’ talent and we’re likely to see a lot more of him in the future.

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