OT (but with multiple JB references) Just an illusion...
- Just an illusion...
6:02pm Monday 8th December 2008
By Hilary Porter
EVER had an offer you can't refuse? I have it
was a recent invitation from world-famous illusionists, The Twins.
"We'd like to put you on The Table of Death," was
the somewhat macabre yet intriguing message on my answer-machine.
Now Wareham- based identical twins Paul and Gary
Hardy-Brown are very charming, gentle-natured individuals.
But with the table booked for a date that had
nothing to do with dinner! I wondered if this
spine-tingling encounter with them was set to be one meeting too many.
Our rendezvous was at an aircraft hangar at
Bournemouth Airport where, cloaked in secrecy,
they had been designing and making their
trademark large-scale magical illusions for the nation's major pantomimes.
As I arrived they were tinkering with some
"magical" devices to try out on Christopher
Biggins in Southampton Mayflower's musical
pantomime Cinderella (which opens this weekend and runs until January 17).
I raise my hat to Biggins, who, on his way to
winning last year's I'm a Celebrity endured
being swamped with rotten eggs, maggots, decaying
fish and cockroaches, and managed to eat after
15 minutes of chewing a kangaroo penis and a
dish of vomit-tasting witchetty grubs.
But had the twins managed to come up with a form
or torture worse than any of the infamous
Bushtucker Trials all in the name of entertainment?
I was sworn to secrecy over their plans for
Biggins and his Mayflower co-stars Matthew Kelly,
Craig McLachlan and Stefanie Powers.
And they never did tell me what they have in
store for Billy Pearce in Cinderella at the Bradford Alhambra.
But The Twins were able to give me a taste of the
horrors that await John Barrowman, star of Doctor
Who and Torchwood, as he headlines in Birmingham
Hippodrome's production of Robin Hood.
Of course, Barrowman's TV character, Captain Jack
Harkness, cannot be killed only banished to another galaxy.
But, as I agreed to try out the illusion The
Twins have lined up for him, I was all too aware of my own mortality.
Inside the bowels of the hangar, I came face to
face with the monster Barrowman is set to meet
a huge solid air construction with 26 2ft spikes
like menacing jaws ready to impale anyone who dares get too close.
Almost as soon as I arrived, Gary released a rope
that set the 200-kilo vice crashing down.
"Would you like to try it out?" asked Paul.
Realising that these spikes are for real, and
don't magically recede or disappear, I almost refused.
But the photographer was ready and waiting and
hadn't I promised to lie on their Table of Death?
It certainly felt like the point of no return as
they shackled me with chains and padlocked cuffs,
bolted my feet under an iron bar, chained my arms
above my head and lay me down on the cold, hard table.
Escape was impossible. I was instantly reminded
me of those medieval torture racks.
"I'm not Houdini, you know you do know what
you're doing have Health and Safety looked at this?" I rambled.
Was it the coldness of the hangar or was I really
shaking with fear as they proceeded to lower the
spikes so they were almost touching my body?
I was terrified and pleaded with them not to let
it go wrong. It would have been an instant,
painful and bloody death had that slim rope slipped from their hands!
The Twins revealed that Titan an 8ft steel
robot that is conjured back from the future to
aid the Sheriff of Nottingham's quest to defeat
Robin Hood would set fire to the rope each
night that sends the spikes crashing down as John
Barrowman lies chained on the table behind a curtain.
Apparently he has just seconds to escape to reappear in the audience.
It's a phenomenal piece of magic.
you can watch the video at the original site:
or if that gives you issues you can check out the YouTube upload:
John as Robin
Precious and rare all Love is, gender matters not.