Vancouver Fringe Festival review: Houdini's Last Escape will dazzle and amaze

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Calm yourselves, calm yourselves! Houdini’s Last Escape will dazzle, amaze, and incite riotous laughter! Playwright-director Ryan Gladstone has created a crisply paced show, in which escape artist Harry Houdini decides to tell his life story with his wife, Bess, playing a variety of roles. As befits its vaudevillian subject, Houdini’s Last Escape plays with performance styles: Harry and Bess act out their courtship in dumb show, and Harry’s escape from a straitjacket is played like a silent film. As Houdini, Christopher Bange is an accomplished illusionist with wicked comic timing. Tara Travis’s Bess is terrific; she’s understated as herself and wa-a-ay over the top as everyone else. In one of many hilarious scenes, Bess bounces back and forth, playing both sides of an argument with her mother-in-law. This is one show you won’t want to escape from.

At Waterfront Theatre on September 8 (6:50 p.m.), 10 (8 p.m.), 13 (5 p.m.), 15 (10:30 p.m.), 16 (6:55 p.m.), 18 (1:15 p.m.).

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