Show Review: Conversations with Penn and Teller

For 35 years, Penn and Teller have worked as a magical duo. With Broadway shows, television series’ and a 10-year stint in Las Vegas under their belt, they returned to British television earlier this year with ‘Penn and Teller: Fool Us’.

Following the success of Fool Us, Penn and Teller sold out three shows at London’s Indigo2 at the start of December.

The show began with the classic magic trick of losing an audience member’s card in the deck. A simple trick for any magician, but this is Penn and Teller we’re talking about. Add a blindfold, retractable knifes and fake blood, and you’ve got yourself a Penn and Teller style trick! Even slowing it down and showing the audience how they do the trick, it still isn’t easy to spot.

Their second trick was a variation of the ‘cup and ball’. Again, a very simple trick for any magician, hence why they proceeded to show the audience how it is done. Even with clear cups and Penn’s commentary, their fast moving hands made it very hard to see how the trick is done; the work of true magicians. 

Throughout the show, Penn and Teller worked hard to involve the audience. Their next trick was slightly unconventional. Rather than fooling the audience, as many magic tricks do, they brought an audience member up onto the stage to take part in the trick. A silver ring was put in her hands and the lady was asked to close her eyes and imagine where the ring was. What she was unaware of, was that Teller introduced a second ring, giving the illusion to her that the ring was travelling around her body. Whilst funny to watch, it would only have the full effect if you were chosen to take part in the trick.

Between tricks, Penn and Teller took part in a Q&A session, hosted by the one and only Paul Daniels. The Q&A taught the audience a lot about Penn and Teller, and it was intriguing to hear how they got together, what tricks have gone wrong and so on. A real treat for the audience was hearing Teller speak.

The highlight of the show was a trick performed solely by Teller. 100 needles were stuck into an apple, from which Teller picked them out and swallowed them all, followed by swallowing a long length of string. After some delightful gagging noises, Teller proceeded to pull the string out of his mouth with all 100 needles attached to it.

The shows finale was a trick performed on Fool Us, showing Teller’s ‘god-like’ ability to mend polyester. After a poor 11-year-old is sent up to take part by his father, Teller mended the material with his bare hands. Combined with Penn shouting and going very OTT, it was a great way to end the show.

Conversations with Penn and Teller is a fascinating show for adult fans of the duo, interested in the history of their partnership and the tricks they perform.

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