You Have Until Saturday to See ‘The Girl Who Handcuffed Houdini’

Posted on: November 5th, 2018 at 5:09 am by

©Mark Shelby Perry 2018

You had us at Houdini. Throw in a séance, a water tank, and a disputed death, and we were completely hooked.

We were already longtime fans of artist, writer and producer Cynthia von Buhler’s work (The Speakeasy Dollhouse: The Bloody Beginning, The Brothers Booth, The Illuminati Ball), so when we heard that her latest immersive theater production, “The Girl Who Handcuffed Houdini” was being performed nearby, we had to investigate.

©Mark Shelby Perry 2018

Based on von Buhler’s noir comic book series and graphic novel of the same name, the theater piece explores the events leading up to the death of the famed illusionist Houdini, with various characters taking contradictory points of view.

When we entered the building, we were immediately transported to 1926, and given a “passport” which allowed us to follow one character throughout the evening as he or she interacted with the other actors. (Like other immersive theater pieces, guests who come back for another performance can see things that they have missed. In this case, they can follow a different character, seeing the story through new eyes.)

©Mark Shelby Perry 2018

We got to follow private detective Minky Woodcock (played by the truly fabulous burlesque star and actress Pearls Daily), who discovers secrets about the final days of Houdini’s death. Among other characters, we crossed paths with Houdini himself (Vincent Cinque); Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Lord Kat), who believes that Houdini has supernatural powers; and Bess Houdini (Robyn Adele Anderson), who suspects that her husband is cheating on her. And also a live rabbit named Agatha Christie.

©Mark Shelby Perry 2018

The performance takes place in the historic townhouse which today includes the William Barnacle Tavern (formerly Sheib’s Place, a speakeasy where the New York City Council drank during Prohibition), along with the 199-seat Theatre 80 Saint Marks. The audience also follows the actors upstairs into apartments which have been transformed into a hotel room, a detective’s office and other settings.

We had a wonderful guide who helped the audience along in case anyone got lost. The set design, costumes, script and actors were quite mesmerizing, and when we left, we weren’t exactly sure what time period we were in.

From the graphic novel, “The Girl Who Handcuffed Houdini” ©Cynthia von Buhler 2018

We don’t want to give too much away, but we were truly, well, immersed in the characters, the locations and the mystery.

The Girl Who Handcuffed Houdini” runs until this Saturday, November 10. Tickets can be purchased here. Costumes are encouraged but not mandatory (of course, we DID dress for the occasion). Comfortable shoes are suggested, since you’ll be walking around as well as climbing stairs.

Recent Stories

City Inaugurates 2-Way Delancey Street Bike Lane this Morning

The city will roll out the green carpet this morning. Implemented last month, the nascent two-way protected bike lane along the south side of Delancey Street is finally ready for its official inauguration. The Department of Transportation is holding a press conference this morning on the Lower East Side to celebrate this “safer route for bicycle […]

‘Sunshine Cinema’ Office Building Replacement Begins Marketing Push with New Renderings

The reincarnation of the former Sunshine Cinema takes a new leap forward this week. East End Capital and K Property Group purchased the Lower East Side theater last year for $31.5 million and are redeveloping the property into a 65,000 square-foot commercial tower. For the moment, it’s still standing, yet remains a magnet for feces and […]

CB3 Appears Receptive to BID Involvement in Liquor Licensing, Despite Vehement Community Opposition

Should local business improvement districts have a hand in the liquor license process? Last week, the SLA subcommittee of Community Board 3 heard a proposal by the Lower East Side Partnership that would see the business improvement district insert itself into the liquor license application process. Needless to say, the appearance on the agenda caused […]

City Finally Replaces Light Bulbs in Columbus Park After Months of Darkness

Something as simple as changing light bulbs got caught up in the city bureaucracy. Nevertheless, after an extended period plunged in darkness, Columbus Park in Chinatown is back under the lights. The city last week installed LED bulbs in a majority of the eighteen light poles dotting the park. This was the task, strangely, of […]

Staring into the Pit of Essex Crossing Site 3

Another major hole in the ground, soon to sprout luxury. Along Delancey Street. Work is at a feverish pace as excavation and foundation activity at Site 3 of Essex Crossing proceeds. Here’s an update from Delancey Street Associates’ weekly e-blast: Drilling is complete for the foundation work [at 202 Broome Street], except at tunnel locations. […]