Writer: Daniel Llewelyn-Williams
Director: Joshua Richards
Reviewer: Jacqui Onions
A Regular Little Houdini brings together magic and history in an engaging one-man show.
This well-crafted play transports the audience to Newport, South Wales, in the early 1900s. It links together historical moments including Harry Houdini’s visits to Newport’s Lyceum Theatre and the building of city’s landmark transporter bridge, all told from the perspective of a young local boy with a passion for magic.
Although the local history references will be of particular interest to people that know the Newport area, and in these audience members the South East Wales colloquialisms will raise a smile, the story has been pieced together in such a way that makes it engaging and emotive to all.
Daniel Llewelyn-Williams’ solo performance of his own clever writing is mesmerising. He commands the attention of the audience from start to finish with his skilful storytelling of the highs and lows of Newport’s history reflected in his character’s life. He embodies the role of a 10-year-old boy, full of youthful energy, and allows him to subtly mature into a teenager, old before his years, in front of the audience’s eyes without any assistance from effects or costume changes. Llewelyn-Williams might be the only actor on stage but he ably conjures many more characters in the imagination of the audience – you will leave feeling like you have met the whole family.
There is no set for this show. The blank backdrop may not add a great deal to the production but does ensure no distractions from Llewelyn-Williams’ enthralling narrative. It is also the ideal blank canvas for the beautiful lighting design, be it giving black drapes the luxurious appearance of red velvet theatre curtains or creating a sensation of drifting in and out of consciousness.
The real strength of this show lies in Llewelyn-Williams’ performance – absolutely captivating.
Runs until 28 January 2017 | Image: Contributed