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A Regular Little Houdini

From 23 critic and 11 member reviews
Members say: Absorbing, Enchanting, Great acting, Entertaining, Intense

About the show

59E59 presents this one-man play from Daniel LLewelyn-Williams about a Welsh dockworker's son at the turn of the last century, who, smitten by Harry Houdini, dreams of a life of magic. More…

His parents struggle with their son’s eccentricity, but doggedly training himself to emulate his hero on the industrial detritus, his relentless ambition finally brings him face-to-face with the world’s greatest showman - and one of the most terrifying events in British industrial history. Is it possible to follow one’s dreams when poverty weighs you down like mud? An story that blends childhood imagination with the cynicism of adulthood. A tale of hope, determination, and magic.


"A unique and captivating one-man show...It combines splendid storytelling and illusion with real historical events...Daniel Llewelyn-Williams' has written 'A Regular Little Houdini' with meticulous detail and delivers a stunning performance...You'll be entranced and entertained by 'A Regular Little Houdini.' The theater's intimate performance space is the ideal venue for the show. See it while you can." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"A regular little spellbinder...Llewelyn-Williams is a king-size stage presence with leading-man looks and a knack for spinning a yarn...It may seem unlikely that a piece about the power of illusion, featuring several scenes of high action, would work so well in monologue form, but Llewelyn-Williams has a gift for the telling detail...For audiences of any age, it's a supremely entertaining tale that brings another time and place to vivid life." Full Review

Berkshire Fine Arts

"Llewelyn-Williams' language is intoxicating. He can conjure both love and terror with tone. He has a musician's sense of rhythm, at times rushing forward as the drama heats up. At other times, he relishes the experience of being buried in mud and then the exaltation of survival...Try out this wonderful evening of theater and discover the heart of Wales, of Houdini and especially one family's love for each other and the town in which they live." Full Review

Stage Buddy

"There’s a bewitching sense of history in the magical inner workings of 'A Regular Little Houdini'...Llewelyn-Williams has created an entrancing tale out of a historically dark time in the history of South Wales, with his charismatic one-man show...A son bringing an artistic statement to us through his grief? Precisely the kind of theatre and commitment to excellence that we yearn for here in New York City. Bravo, Mr. Llewelyn-Williams, bravo. Expert direction is provided by Joshua Richards." Full Review

Woman Around Town

"The piece is written in evocative, local syntax...Each character has his own completely distinct voice and physical attitude. Transition is fluid...Llewelyn-Williams wisely takes his time, provoking our own imaginations...Director Josh Richards exercises finesse. Expressive gesture feels organic...A skilled, entertaining, and imaginative play, foreign in context, but humanistically familiar." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

“It's not easy to create an entire universe by yourself. Sharing that universe with others is exponentially more difficult...Llewelyn-Williams does just this. If you are looking for a flashy production, this is not it...If you want to see an extremely talented performer with attention to detail, the ability to switch characters excellently, and a penchant for magic, this is precisely your cup of tea...Llewelyn-Williams weaves in historical events, making it quite clear he has done his homework.” Full Review


“If there's a criticism to be leveled at ‘A Regular Little Houdini,’ it's that it could be longer. Llewelyn-Williams, director Joshua Richards, and composer Meg Cox (the only three people listed in the program) seem to have been on their own in crafting the show, which might explain its brevity. And, if that's true, it's too bad, because I imagine Llewelyn-Williams has a lot more to say about the people of Newport, South Wales.” Full Review

A Seat on the Aisle

“David Llewelyn-Williams delivers a strong performance as Alan John Williams (and of the rest of his family to boot), dealing not only with Harry Houdini’s magical and escapist escapades but also with the most serious issues of life, death and survival. In addition, however, he has sprinkled his performance with delightful bits of sleight-of-hand and other legerdemain that lighten the mood and never fail to entertain.” Full Review


"Entertains, informs, and intrigues. Thanks to Llewelyn-Williams’ prodigious portrayals, this one-man shows stirs, enlivens, and mesmerizes...A fault of the production is that in the set-up of events, the conflict dims at certain junctures. Though I found myself dropping out, Llewelyn-Williams’ enthusiasm overrides this playwriting fault...With further development and perhaps adding depth to Alan’s magician’s skills, the final humorous moments of his meeting with Houdini would really pop." Full Review

Theatre's Leiter Side

“A generally intriguing, charismatically performed, 65-minute solo…Llewelyn-Davis's minimalist, vocally and physically highly expressive performance, well-directed by Joshua Richards, has toured the world…With its familiar but always pertinent message about following your dream, regardless of your circumstances, 'A Regular Little Houdini' pulls a rabbit out of a hat to create a moment of entertaining theatrical magic. A little more conventional magic, though, would have made it even better.” Full Review

The Advertiser

for a previous production "By turn social history, comedy, theatre with a touch of magic thrown in — the story surrounds the excitement of the young boy discovering Harry Houdini and then discovering the escapologist is to visit his hometown. It’s the capacity though that Llewelyn-Williams has to immerse us in his story, to make you believe, feel and pull for him that sets the sole performer, and play, apart. A touch too long maybe and unsure of genre but an excellent 60 minutes." Full Review


for a previous production "A spell-binding one-man show...With few props and lots of imagination, it transports you back to the tough working-class world of a family...It starts slowly but, through the strength of Llewelyn-Williams' performance and writing, you are soon gripped by his tale as it builds in excitement, mixing heart-breaking tragedy with uplifting hope about human endurance...A beautifully crafted show that casts a spell that stays with you long after it is over." Full Review

The Barefoot Review

for a previous production "Llewelyn-Williams is appealing on many levels...The lad grows up as we watch. He tells of his dreams and fears. He tells of his hope to impress against the odds with an impossible feat. Audience members hold their breath as the narrative becomes more graphic and frightening. The performer has us in his spell. And suddenly an hour has gone and we have been treated to yet another brilliant piece of Fringe theatre." Full Review


for a previous production "Llewelyn-Williams shows us the man, and the boy, looking back at past times, and reliving them. His performance is riveting, and he occasionally punctuates his narrative with some very well-executed sleight of hand...The script is beautifully written and Llewelyn-Williams weaves his fictional story and the real events together so cleverly that one could easily believe that the entire tale was factual...Llewelyn-Williams is captivating, and a great storyteller." Full Review

The Reviews Hub

for a previous production "Brings together magic and history in an engaging one-man show...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...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...Absolutely captivating." Full Review

A Younger Theatre

for a previous production "Credit must be given to Llewelyn-Williams for holding the narrative together and masterfully switching between characters...Despite the latter part of Alan’s story feeling a bit rushed, everything generally meshes together nicely...Where 'Little Houdini' shines the brightest, however, is in its beautifully tender moments...The pace is perfectly measured in these instances, and the audience is enveloped in tense silence as we enjoy every word of the narrative unfolding before us." Full Review

British Theatre Guide

for a previous production "The show is directed, with admirable attention played to narrative light and shade, by Joshua Richards, but the charm of this hour-long production hangs on the undoubted warmth and affability of Llewelyn-Williams’s portrayal not only of the irrepressible young Alan but also his centred adult incarnation...While there is a modicum of prestidigitation, the spectacular illusion to which the piece seems to be building never materializes. This is only a minor disappointment, however...A heartenin... Full Review

Wales Arts Review

for a previous production "Llewelyn-Williams manages to shrink the stage to an intimate space. His conveying of Newport’s working life in the early part of the last century carries a warm conviviality...Although Houdini’s visits and reputation provide the foundation for the play, his true role is as the hook on which to hang this fascinating hour spent in a time gone by...In this wholly engaging piece of work, Daniel Llewelyn-Williams has succeeded in performing an amazing feat of his own." Full Review

Broadway Baby

for a previous production "Llewelyn-Williams masterfully turns back the clock to portray Alan’s childhood...He flows between characters, never letting the transformation stunt the rhythm of the story. The pacing of the story itself seems a little odd...To race so quickly through so many formative years adds a rushed feel to the second half of the play...That's not to say the emotional wealth of the play's second half doesn't come across...Not necessarily the most artful, but definitely a thoroughly warming piece." Full Review

Absorbing, Great acting, Entertaining, Exciting, Scary!

See it if You want to hear a gripping story. It starts off slow but really gets exciting as the story goes on.

Don't see it if You don't one person shows that only have an empty stage. It's all in the acting which Is pretty intense! This is not a magic show.

Also Very short (just over an hour). Certainly worth seeing for the serious... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Delightful, Enchanting, Quirky, Refreshing

See it if Suspenseful one man bio with surprising twists and turns. Shows how a person can give their life unique meaning. Good writing and acting.

Don't see it if You don't enjoy one man biographies, even though the story is unusual. You are looking for a fancier production.

Great acting, Absorbing, Confusing

See it if You want to see a gripping, energetic one-man performance.

Don't see it if You want a story that's a little more evenly paced and clear.

Enchanting, Refreshing, Heartwarming

See it if -you are looking for a story of family, a perfect complement to this time of year; -you like the storytelling craft; -you believe in magic.

Don't see it if - you don't like one person shows - you want fluffy, noisy, boisterous diversional entertainment

Absorbing, Clever, Delightful, Enchanting, Entertaining

See it if You want to see a well done one man show.

Don't see it if You have kids.

Intense, Great writing, Enchanting

See it if You want to witness a master story teller.

Don't see it if You are not willing to be swept up.

Intense, Riveting, Profound, Must see, Great writing

See it if You wish to be moved and amazed in equal part.

Don't see it if You are not prepared to listen to a good story well told.

Absorbing, Funny, Intense, Intelligent, Great acting

See it if You enjoy a compelling story, well told and beautifully acted! It's suitable for kids but tackles, complex themes and emotion intelligently.

Don't see it if You have little imagination.

Ambitious, Enchanting, Entertaining, Clever, Absorbing

See it if You want to be transported via the magic of theatre.

Don't see it if You only like big-scale garish theatre.

Cast & Creatives (5)