Maskelyne’s special effect sword

18 January 2022

This sword is far from ordinary. It was used by Sir Henry Irving in an 1885 production of Faust, which went on to be performed almost 800 times. The sword is regarded as a benchmark for the use of technology in theatre. Linked to an electricity supply the sword sparked during a duel. Its creator was John Nevil Maskelyne. Since then magic illusions have played a part in many theatrical productions in London’s West End, most recently in shows such as Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at The Palace, Magic Goes Wrong at the Vaudeville, Mary Poppins at the Prince Edward and The Prince of Egypt at the Dominion.

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