It’s Official! Check Out the World’s First Tandem Double Strait Jacket Escape

After Ning’s highly successful “The Water Vault” mega stunt, it seemed difficult to top her precision executed full view underwater escape. However, I think we did and to a record 10,000-strong audience that packed the entire National Museum facade as well as the SMU green across the road.

It was a sight to behold! The energy of the audience was incredible and this was the biggest turn out for a single act at the Singapore Night Festival!

UI B1Photo credit: Bernard Sim

We are honoured that the National Heritage Board (NHB) hand-picked us to close their most important festival of the year and we did everything we could to present an original spectacular stunt – “Ultimate Inversion”.

The day started early for our team as a huge 170 -tonne crane was brought in to hoist us high up in the air above the National Museum. 

We did a couple of initial tests with us suspended at a low height and went through a rehearsal where we escaped from our double strait jackets but without setting the rope on fire. The amount of sway and instability on the tandem rig was surprisingly unnerving. Due to wind conditions, we did not even get raised to full height in any of the rehearsals. We also made the decision to increase the height from 50ft to 75ft above the ground for a more spectacular visual.

Technical rehearsals continued through to 6pm that also included fine tuning music and editing lengths to fit the actual timing of raising and lowering the rigging.

Our performance time was 10pm but by 9pm, the facade of the National Museum, in front of the stage, was jam-packed with people. By showtime, we had a massive crowd of over 10,000 people.

As the day before, our stunt was preceded by an amazing animation sequence of Ning & myself that ended with our poster and names on the facade of the National Museum.

UI A1Photo credit: Amos Lim

We then took the stage to a huge show of support from the audience. We had our strait jackets examined by different audience members and invited two spectators onto stage to strap both of us up in the jackets.

After we were secured, we were hooked onto the tandem rigging by our ankles and the rope was set on fire. We were hoisted vertically up 75 feet in the air. The higher we went, the more I felt the rig swaying. Ning must have felt it more being at the bottom of the “pendulum”. At times, it felt like we would slide off one side of the bars, even though we have a stabilization cable. We had no safety nets employed for this mega stunt.

UI E1Photo credit: Erwin Tan

UI A4Photo credit: Amos Lim

UI B6Photo credit: Bernard Sim

I think we are the only people in the world to have the view that of the Singapore city skyline – upside down. It was thrilling, scary and exhilarating at the same time.

UI A2Photo credit: Amos Lim

UI B3Photo credit: Bernard Sim

UI E2Photo credit: Erwin Tan

With tensions running high and the audience watching in anticipation below, we started our escapes from our strait jackets. Our bodies swayed as the rigging system shook from side to side as we wrestled ourselves from our restraints. Here is an interesting note: Ning & I have different ways of escaping from the jackets so our pacing and timing was not synchronized. This made for a nice asymmetrical escape that made it more interesting for the audience.

UI A3Photo credit: Amos Lim

We took almost three minutes to extract ourselves from two strait jackets each. Dropping all the jackets to the ground below. There was a slight hiccup as my last jacket got accidentally hooked and stuck on Ning’s feet. She tried to raise herself up to remove the jacket. In the process, she grabbed one of the hand chains for her rig but it came loose as she tried to pull herself up. She let out a blood curling scream and our crew and a lot of the spectators realized something was not right. However, she recovered and I managed to remove the jacket and throw it to the ground.

UI B5Photo credit: Bernard Sim

UI A5

Photo credit: Amos Lim

This was the signal to lower us back to the stage and we dismounted from the rigging as a shower of pyrotechnics erupted behind us as well as blasts of CO2 cannons.

What an experience for us! It is very tough to describe how we felt before, during and after the escape. We had only moments to catch our breathe as the Singapore Book of Records (SBR)and the International Brotherhood of Magicians (IBM) Ring 115 were on hand to adjudicate our mega stunt. We were presented with the record certificate by Mr Ong Eng Huat, the President of SBR.

We are also honored to receive an “Outstanding Achievement & Contribution to Magic” by the President of IBM Ring 115, John Teo.

UI B4Photo credit: Bernard Sim

It has been an intense 6 weeks leading up to this escape, as well as Ning’s “The Water Vault” yesterday. I’m glad that everything went smoothly and we have made another indelible mark on the magic landscape with these two original stunts. In a few hours, we fly up to Shanghai to rejoin the “Mariner of the Seas” till mid Oct 2013.

Thank you to our incredible magic crew, NHB, the media and general public for the tremendous support and opportunity.

UPDATE: Watch the official video HERE.

Ultimate Inversion Youtube

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About J C Sum

International Illusion Artiste & Illusion Designer
This entry was posted in Behind The Scenes and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to It’s Official! Check Out the World’s First Tandem Double Strait Jacket Escape

  1. You two have raised the bar!!!!!! FANTASTIC JOB!!!!!
    Richard and Dayle

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