REVIEW: Houdini’s: Fun, funny and magical

Magician Richard Harrington entertains the audience at Houdini's

As someone who grew up watching Small Daniels, sorry Paul Daniels, and repeats of Tommy Cooper on the telly, I was naturally intrigued to hear Canterbury was getting its own magic bar.

Names after the legendary master magician, Houdini’s opened last month with an escapology attempt by performer Stuart Burrell.

I made my first visit to the bar in St Peter’s Street – in what used to be Benji’s sweet shop – last night with my friends Emma Grafton-Williams, Alice Limmer and Zina Avili.

Although the bar is open from 11am, the proper magic starts around 6.30pm.

We arrived a bit early, but the guys behind the bar obliged with a few tricks card and then it was on to the main event, a performance by magician Richard Harrington, a very funny and talented man.

Richard Harrington works the room at Houdini’s

It’s a small place which means you’re right on top of the action, the performer often moving around the floor performing his tricks.

And as it’s so intimate, don’t be surprised to find yourself becoming a part of the show.

Emma was picked on first as Richard made some jokes at her expense.

And then Richard asked me to lock him in some manacles behind his back.

I’d foolishly left the keys in the small padlocks, Richard pointing this out to gales of laughter in the room.

But it didn’t seem to matter as he casually slipped his hand in and out of the chains throughout much to the delight of the audience.

If the venue has one drawback it is that it is very small. It didn’t help, for example, that I was sitting by a large candlestick holder which appeared to do nothing other than get in the way.

But it’s the most minor of minor quibbles. The four of us had a fun and funny night full of great magic. And something a bit different is a great antidote to Canterbury’s noisy bars and gastropubs.


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