VEGAS: Penn and Teller

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Penn and Teller are magicians/comedians who have been on national television several times performing their off beat magic. Penn is the tall, loud one and Teller is the short one that never utters a word. They perform almost nightly at the Rio in Vegas. The Rio is located off the strip and doesn’t have the grandeur of the big hotels like the MGM or the Mandalay Bay. It’s an older building and the crowd tends to be trashy.

Penn and Teller isn’t a first rate show compared to Vegas standards and tickets are mid-range around $65.00, but they can be entertaining. Their act is part magic, part comedy with long rants from Penn. The pre-show starts out with a piano player who invites audience members up on stage to examine two trunks, one made of clear plastic and the other of wood. People go up and check the trunks looking for any false doors and also have friends or family members take their pictures under the Penn and Teller logo spelled in big red letters.

Penn and Teller don’t make any grand entrance once they go on stage. Penn begins a loud rant, thanking the crowd for choosing them instead of the other magicians, which he makes fun of before going on a long bit on how magic can create this wonder that can be kept with you for your whole life unless you find out how the trick works. He then has Penn locked in the plastic trunk, which is then placed in the wooden trunk, which in turn is locked. He then tells the audience if you want to keep the wonder to close your eyes so you won’t know how Teller escapes. Of course everyone keeps their eyes open and laugh with the ease with which Teller escapes.

Another highlight is what they call their Vegas number. With loud music, flashy lights and even a dance number, they perform a trick, which sees Teller encased in a mummy-like case and then divided three ways and placed side by side. It’s an impressive trick but then they do the trick again the Penn & Teller way showing how it’s done, which is very amusing.

Overall, there were many slow points to the show. Some of the bits were drawn out far too long and were focused on small tricks such as cards so there wasn’t much visually for the audience. It was fun to see them once, but once was enough. They were kind enough to meet and greet the audience afterwards for pics and autographs.

by Clint Romag

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