MEMORIES OF MR FINKELSTEIN
W E D N E S D A Y, 4 J A N U A R Y
Was woken up by the phone ringing – it was Lucy. She asked me if I could go and see ‘Man of Magic’ at Piccadilly Theatre this afternoon. I rang up Ma, who was at the office, to see if she could drive me over in time for lunch. She could.
In the morning I spent ages staring at my photo of Finkelstein at the school fete. I’d forgotton he was so beautiful: his Ray Davies grin, his fluffy sideboards, his little legs, and the creases in his chin.
At 12 Ma drove me over to Worcester Park. Mrs B made us a hot lunch and Lucy told me all about this ghastly boy she went out with just before Christmas. She had the most ghastly time: he hadn't fixed anywhere to go or anything to do! Tried on her new coat – it’s not real fur but it’s still awfully nice. Then we got the train to Waterloo, and an underground train to Piccadilly (saw the Chinese restaurant London Grandma takes us to).
At 3 'The Man of Magic' began. It was a musical comedy, very light-hearted but fun. The costumes were colourful and gay, and Stuart Damon was Houdini - in his cloak he looked like Adam Adamant. He did lots of fantastic tricks that I simply do not understand. Once he laid his wife down on a table and put a sheet right over her, then she rose up, the table was taken away, and when she was in mid air, he pulled the cloth off her – and she'd gone! I just don’t get it. In the interval we went up to get ices. Got fruit ice-creams in plastic pointed containers. It took ages and cost 2/3d - which is wicked.
Trains crowded out going home.
This "musical fantasy suggested by incidents in the life of Harry Houdini" opened at the Piccadilly Theatre in November 1966. The magic was fantastic but the Buzz Saw illusion was dropped (I now learn) because Judith Bruce refused to be part of it! It was, quite simply, a death trap.