Review: The Houdini Experience starring Hans Klok - Peacock Theatre, London

The Houdini Experience
starring Hans Klok
Peacock Theatre

Tuesday 28th February 2012: The Dutch magician, Hans Klok, debuted his new show, The Houdini Experience, at the Peacock Theatre. As the title suggests, the show is a tribute to Houdini's illusions and escapism but also includes dance, acrobatics and gymnastics. 

I should say early on that I'm a bit of a sceptic about magic, sorry, 'illusions', and I've never been to see a live show before. However, I arrived at the premiere of The Houdini Experience to see a gaggle of photographers by the red carpet snapping Klok, reputedly the world's fastest magician. He has clearly gained a big following from his TV career and his seven-month run in Las Vegas during which time he was assisted by Pamela Anderson. Paul Daniels and Debbie McGee were present to support Klok and the audience also included celebrities such as Linford Christie and Warwick Davis.

The show was primarily a tribute to Houdini's work but somewhat confusingly also featured sections themed around 'pirates' and 'the 17th century'. The outstanding illusion of the first half of the show was a very impressive levitating light bulb which zoomed around the theatre.

The performance of Zhang Fan was breathtaking - his balancing act on a slack wire wasn't far away from magic itself.  Fan wowed the crowd by balancing on a ladder and a hand unicycle on the high wire.  Also in the first half of the show were the outstanding acrobats Duo You and Me, who showed exceptional strength, balance and elegance in a unique and beautiful performance.

Arguably the illusions became somewhat formulaic and there are only so many times you can see a woman disappear from a sealed box but despite my pessimism, I was unable to work out most of the tricks and found myself grudgingly impressed. The show finished on a high with Klok escaping from a straightjacket while hanging upside-down by his ankles between steel 'Jaws of Death' which were held open by held apart only by a burning rope. 

I don't know whether I'm a magic convert, or whether I'll be going to a magic show again soon, but I was definitely entertained.

Review by Tom Herne and Desi Aleksieva

Performance dates:
23rd February to 25th March 2012. 
Performance times: 7.30pm, matinees Saturday at 2.30pm and Sunday 4.00pm 
Box office: 0844 412 4322 

Ticket prices £17.00-£47.00 (preview) to £19.00-£52.00, 
matinees – children tickets half price 
Age Limit: 5 years plus accompanied by an adult and