A magic society which was performing in Leeds city centre to mark its 100th anniversary was banned by the city council from putting on two of its acts over health and safety concerns.
Leeds Magic Circle arranged with Leeds City Council last year that it would stage its celebrations, along with shows, demonstrations and entertainment for the public, at Kirkgate Market last Saturday (April 6).
However, it received an email, dated Friday March 29, saying it could not carry out the Houdini style escape from a straitjacket while suspended from a crane or the Russian Roulette routine because of health and safety and because market traders had expressed concern about the presence of guns in the market.
Franklin Arbisman, President of the Leeds Magic Circle, explains how the Russian Roulette works. He said there are four guns, three are loaded with blanks and one is totally empty and you can tell they are fake guns because they fire from the top and not from the front as is the case with a real gun.
He added: “They wanted every risk assessment under the sun and that is understandable. I do the Russian Roulette and have been doing it for 40 years. I have public liability insurance for £10m as has Michael Diamond who was going to do the escape and there is no danger to the viewing public in any way, shape or form.
“We are magicians, not dare-devils, we don’t take chances. It is beyond disappointing we could not do these acts, they could have set it out at the beginning.”
Leeds City Council said some of the routines were "not appropriate".
A spokesperson added: "We were delighted to welcome the Magic Circle to Leeds Kirkgate Market as part of their 100-year celebrations last Saturday. The performances by all the magicians were really fantastic and it was great to see so many people of all ages, enjoy the event.
“Whilst the organisers did undertake a risk assessment we felt that it was not appropriate to hold the escapologist and Russian roulette acts on this occasion. This decision was taken in full consultation and discussion with the organisers.
“This did not deter however from what was an amazing day at Kirkgate Market, and we would be thrilled to work closely with the Magic Circle around the potential of other shows being held at the venue in the future, and around the requirements needed to ensure that more acts can be performed as part of the event.”