WATCH | Drought pulls plug on escapologist’s Houdini trick

01 February 2018 - 15:37 By Dave Chambers

Capetonians hoping to see an escapologist free himself from Houdini’s “Chinese water torture cell” this month will have to watch it on YouTube instead.

That’s because Paul Krendl’s act has been cut from the GrandWest show “The Illusionists Direct from Broadway” due to water restrictions.

Publicist Debra Souza said the “critical water crisis” meant GrandWest had decided Krendl should not fill his 950-litre tank.

“However‚ the show will still run for the same duration‚ giving audiences an action-packed magical experience‚” she said.

“Producers and ‘The Illusionists’ are extremely sensitive to this situation and thank patrons for their understanding.”

Krendl recreates a trick regarded as the most sensational performed by the legendary escapologist Harry Houdini in the early 20th century. In it he is handcuffed and shackled before being suspended upside down in a locked tank of water ... then escaping.

Speaking to his local newspaper in the US‚ Krendl said he bought the tank because he needed a “showstopper” trick for his act.

He practised yoga to hone his concentration and studied breathing techniques by working with a deep-sea diver‚ he told the Virginian-Pilot.

There were times when he emerged from the tank vomiting‚ or pass out and require rescuing. But he went from holding his breath for 30 seconds to more than three minutes‚ he said.

He was recruited for “The Illusionists” in 2015 and now tours the world performing the escape.

After the GrandWest shows from February 7 to 11‚ Krendl will return to the line-up at Montecasino’s Teatro from February 14 to March 11.