16th August 2019

Escapology Act in tribute to Houdini

Aberdeen magician Dave Goulding is to be an added attraction at Aberdeen Lifeboat Open Day this Sunday 18 August, 11am – 4pm.

Dave will perform an escapology act in which he will be chained, shackled, padlocked and finally locked into a heavy sack by a steel securing bar before attempting his escape. Although not a direct repeat of Houdini’s routine, first performed in the City by Harry Houdini 110 years ago, Dave’s performance is a tribute to his hero in the escapologists art.

On that day, thousands of spectators gathered on 1 July 1909, when Houdini was trussed up in padlocks and chains before throwing himself into the chilly waters of Aberdeen Harbour at Fittie (Footdee), just a few yards from the lifeboat station. As concern for Houdini’s safety mounted among the crowd, reports from the time say “Then suddenly, he resurfaced, triumphant and free from his shackles”.

Dave Goulding says: "It is a great honour to perform an escape close to where the greatest of the great, the grandfather of Escapology performed all those years ago. I hope that I can follow in Houdini's footsteps and generate some publicity for our show, ‘Harbour Sleights’ at the Tivoli, which we are performing to raise funds for the RNLI.".

Unsurprisingly, modern health and safety considerations make it impossible for Dave Goulding to perform the escape underwater – indeed the Police intervened to try to stop Houdini from his original attempt. But Mr Goulding will instead perform ashore at Aberdeen Lifeboat Station Open Day this Sunday at Victoria Dock Entrance to the harbour (east end of Waterloo Quay). His performances will take place at 1230pm and 2.30pm.

Other members of Aberdeen Magical Society will join the fun at the Lifeboat Station Open Day, performing close-up magic to amaze and entertain visitors.

The performance is a curtain-raiser to ‘Harbour Sleights’, a family magic show at Aberdeen’s Tivoli Theatre on Friday 30 August at 7pm. Performers, including Dave Goulding – all members of Aberdeen Magical Society – will star, with all proceeds from the performance going to support Aberdeen Lifeboat’s vital work of saving lives at sea. Tickets for Harbour Sleights are on sale at Aberdeen Box Office on Union Street (www.aberdeenperformingarts.com) and will also be on sale at the lifeboat open day.

Donald Montgomery, chair of the Aberdeen Lifeboat Fundraising Group, says “Aberdeen Lifeboat Open Day is a highlight for the crew, and for the community. The public are invited to tour Aberdeen’s all-weather and inshore lifeboats – and the visiting Stonehaven Lifeboat – and to meet the crews. There will also be visiting displays form other blue-light services such as the coastguard, fire, police and ambulance, music from the Gordon Highlanders Association Pipe Band, games, souvenirs, stalls, teas & coffees, a barbecue and ice cream stall. It’s the last Sunday of the school holidays and Aberdeen Lifeboat Open Day is an ideal family late summer day out.”

Admission is free. Parking near the lifeboat station is limited. A free vintage double-decker shuttle service is a further attraction on the day, running from the Town House/Sheriff Court stance on Union Street from 12 noon with the last return from the Lifeboat Station at 3.30pm. The No 15 First Bus route from Airyhall via Union Street to the beach/retail park has a stop 100m from the Lifeboat Station on York Street.