Having written A Regular Little Houdini in 2013 as a love song to his hometown, Newport born and bred Daniel Llewelyn-Williams has since produced and toured this wondrous modern fairy-tale all over the world to audiences who can’t get enough of Newport’s history and the irrepressible spirit of this tenacious young boy who defies destiny to become a stage-magician.
A Regular Little Houdini has enjoyed huge success across the UK, off Broadway in New York, In Los Angeles, San Diego, Adelaide and is now coming back to its home in Newport for two nights at the Riverfront Theatre after an extended run in Vienna. This will be the UK premier of this new Main Stage version of the show.
This new version is a two-act offering, an up scaled big-budget bonanza with more marvellous storytelling, more death-defying feats, oodles more magic and a load more wonder.
Set in the sprawling urban slums of the South Wales docklands at the turn of the l20th century; A Regular Little Houdini is a coming of age, Cinderella-story about a young boy from the docks who seeks change. Filled with youthful imagination and joie de vivre and a very real danger brought about by the reality of working-class industrial life, the play is inspired by the author’s family stories and the true to life visits of Houdini to Newport. The master showman and self-publicist, twice came to working-class, industrial Wales. He had an affiliation with the town of Newport and the multi-cultural docklands of Pillgwenlly; himself an immigrant Hungarian Jew, from the melting pot of New York, he recognised the potential within these urban slums. In America, his audiences were strongest in these areas because he represented the “young immigrant success story” and they worshipped him for it. Newport, the buzzing industrial hub was his springboard into Europe, and while there, his publicity stunts involving Newport police, their cells and an illegal jump off Newport Bridge, immortalised him in the eyes of a local boy and landed him on the front page of the national newspapers.
Writer and star of A Regular Little Houdini, Daniel Llewelyn-Williams family comes from Pill, descended from dockers, from Irish immigrant labourers and hearty Welsh mams. He also comes from a long line of great storytellers. It’s their true stories plus other family yarns of the dockside, plus Houdini’s folklore, plus the Newport Docks disaster of 1909, plus the building of Newport Transporter Bridge in 1906, plus Daniel’s own story of becoming an entertainer, which all come together to create this fabricated tale of a young boy with an irrepressible spirit who fights all the odds to break the mould and “escape” the drudgery of working-class life, whilst keeping respect for his roots.
Told through the eyes of an innocent boy whose imagination knows no bounds, this mix of adventure and real history blurs with tales of cyclopes and feats of derring-do, but poverty and family responsibility ultimately conspire to weigh-down his dreams.
A Regular Little Houdini will run for 2 nights in the Riverfront Theatre, Newport on 11th 12th March 2020 as a culmination of a world tour. For tickets and information please visit: http://www.newportlive.co.uk/riverfront or call 01633 656757