Places tend to get even busier during the summer in the Midwest, especially on a warm Friday evening. There was no exception when the world famous Penn & Teller rolled into the Horseshoe Casino in early June.
The Venue is located deep in the heart of the bustling gaming complex. On this particular evening, men and women of various ages assembled to see the famous Penn & Teller showcase. I noticed a wide variation of ticket holders. Some young women wore ravishing dresses while other men and women sported shorts and t-shirts. There was definitely a mixed demographic, but everyone attending was above the casino minimum age of 21.
Believe it or not, not everybody is familiar with Penn & Teller, my parents for instance. For those who are not, here is what you have missed so far….
They joined forces in the mid-seventies and began their bid for world domination. Separately and together, they have performed Broadway, Las Vegas (the longest headliner show), and numerous TV cameo appearances – shows including David Letterman (20+ times), The Simpsons, Friends, Top Chef, Dancing with the Stars, and MTV Cribs. The tandem has even hosted their own Showtime show called: Penn & Teller: Bullshit! Critically acclaimed, this intriguing show has received multiple Emmy Award nominations.
Despite all of the recognition, awards, and money (I presume they have made), the stage to begin the show was plain, virtually barren. Before any human embarked upon the stage, there was nothing to be seen other than a top half portion “&” red symbol. Then around 8:05 pm, two figures entered the stage. One was definitely Penn and the other shorter man appeared to be Teller. However, there was a large, brick block covering/sealing the individual’s head. Everyone assumed that this was the famous quite sidekick, but was this Teller?
The first magic trick of the evening would reveal the apparent truth. It required a volunteer from the show who wore eye glasses. Naturally, Penn selected one of the attractive young women near the front section of the stage. She had unique, pinkish-red glasses. After she stepped on the stage, Penn politely borrowed the lady’s glasses and placed them in his top-left suit jacket pocket.
After a series of successful jokes and other distractions, Penn broke the heavy rock block atop the man’s head with a sledge hammer. It was enough to break the material, but not knock down the man. When the dust cleared, it was in fact Teller and to everyone’s surprise the one-of-a-kind glasses were on his face!
Throughout the night, the team executed various skits for a strong hour and a-half without any breaks. There were no “filler” acts, no pink slime to extend the duration, just the juiciest, best cuts for my comrades and me.
I could easily name eight to ten stunts masterly performed, but like good mysteries, it is better to overt the details. I want to mention I was particularly impressed when certain tricks were revealed to the crowd so that they could see precisely how the “magic” was done.
Penn & Teller are a fantastic combo. Penn Jilette has written a New York Times best seller: God No! Signs You Might Be an Atheist and Other Magic Tales as well as has starred on the Celebrity Apprentice reality TV show. Brutally honest and with a high level of charisma, he could sell a show about “nothing” to anybody.
Teller, on the other hand, carries a special spellbinding stage presence. Without announcing anything aloud verbally, he generates loads of attention and laughs. As a virtual silent performer, he is an elite craftsman.
Together the two classy artists form an unmatchable combination of comedy and magic. I found the dedication to the audience outstanding – at the closing of the show, Penn ate fire, burned his mouth and afterwards still volunteered to mingle with the crowd after the show in the lobby!
This premier act that will satisfy even the highest of expectations, regardless of the ticket price paid. The evidence was apparent as everyone exited the arena – upwards of 75% of the people leaving were engaged in some sort of conversation, none with disappointment. Penn & Teller have set the bar very high for past, present, and future decades in their profession.
Reviewed by Sean Heraty on 6/8/12
Rating: 5/5 stars