Escape artist preps Marietta performance

‘50 Shades of Great’ set for Friday

Photo Provided Michael Griffin performs an underwater escape while chained and locked in a box. The renown escape artist will perform his act “50 Shades of Great” 7 p.m. Friday in the Gun Room at the Lafayette Hotel in Marietta.

MARIETTA — Escape artist Michael Griffin hopes his show ends with a bang Friday night in Marietta.

The Houdini-style performer who once jumped off the Showboat Becky Thatcher into the Muskingum River while bound in chains will resurrect an old act in honor of his 7 p.m. Friday performance in the newly renovated Gun Room Restaurant in the Lafayette Hotel.

The act uses guns and Griffin hasn’t done his Russian Roulette routine for several years, mostly because it’s too scary for him and the audience.

Despite the guns are loaded with blank rounds, the discharge can be lethal, he said. Actors have been seriously wounded or killed, such as Brandon Lee, after shot with a gun loaded with blanks, Griffin said.

“People will get killed with a blank,” Griffin said.

Griffin calls it an Evening of Chance.

“It’s a version of Russian Roulette,” he said.

Four gold-plated revolvers are used, three of which are loaded with black rounds, he said. The fourth is empty.

It’s an audience-participation show that never quite settled into any kind of normalcy for him, Griffin said. It was mentally difficult to perform and often Griffin said he could taste his own bile before the trigger is pulled.

The last time Griffin performed the act was with a college student in the audience who pointed the gun to his head.

“He looked at me and said ‘I can’t do this,'” Griffin said.

The gun act will be among many in the “50 Shades of Great” show, Griffin said. The audience is part of the act, too, and its responses will determine what other feats will be performed, Griffin said.

As for escaping from the bottom of rivers or coffins, those will always be part of the repertoire, Griffin said.

“That’s what I do for a living,” he said.

Griffin is a two-time World Magic Award Winning Escape Artist. He appeared on “America’s Got Talent” the first season when shock jock Howard Stern was a judge.

Stern, who said he liked Griffin’s act, participated in a stunt, Griffin said.

“He can’t tie a knot for anything,” Griffin said.

Tickets for the Marietta show are $15 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under.

Griffin enjoys performing in Marietta. Something about the town is appealing, he said.

“I like the whole flavor of the area,” Griffin said. “I like the history of it.”