Who will sacrifice all to play the greatest?

Photograph of Escapologist Harry Houdini taken in 1911.
Photograph of Escapologist Harry Houdini taken in 1911.
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Erik Weisz was one of the most famous fellas around at the start of the 20th century.

What’s that? You haven’t heard of him? Understandable for it’s not the name the world knew him by.

Try Harry Houdini instead, the moniker a young Erik came up with when he began a lifelong career of escapology and daring feats.

Houdini, or Weisz for the traditionalists, was born in Budapest in 1874 but grew up in America, began performing at an early age, and found fame on a tour of Europe when he challenged different police forces to try to keep him locked up.

He extended his repertoire to include being bound in chains, on ropes slung from skyscrapers, put in straitjackets under water, and having to hold his breath inside a sealed milk can ... well, it beats a 9 to 5 office job I suppose.

The reason for the lecture is because a new play described as “dramatic and darkly comic” is coming to the Grand Theatre – called Houdini and based on the life of the most iconic figures the world has ever seen.

Written by BAFTA award winning actor and film-maker Stuart Brennan (who also appears in the play), Houdini has been praised for a “dynamic script, sharply drawn characters and breath-taking live stunts”.

“Harry Houdini was the greatest performer who ever lived, but to be the greatest you have to be prepared to sacrifice everything,” said Brennan.

“This play is an intricate look inside his gripping life story and I think it has a wide appeal because of its extraordinary subject matter.”

The only thing missing from the production at the moment – and this is perhaps quite apt – is Houdini himself.

Brennan and director Peter Snee have yet to settle on an actor to play the role and are currently holding auditions.

Assuming they get an actor sorted out in time, Houdini is on at the Grand from Monday September 16 to Saturday 21.

Tickets are £12-£24 for evening shows, £10-£12 for matinees.

Go to www.blackpoolgrand.co.uk for further details or call the box office on 01253 290 190.

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