Penn and Teller
Penn & Teller are playing inside the Penn & Teller Theatre at the Rio Hotel and Casino. This
pair of magicians/comedians/professional hucksters has been performing together globally for
years and are now signed to an extended contract with the Rio. "This is not your typical Las
Vegas show," announces Penn at the top of the production, and then for the next ninety minutes,
Official Web Site for Penn and Teller
The show combines elements and segments from many of their appearances and shows from the past
with material that is specific with their Las Vegas home. The way that the show has been put
and presented is nothing short of brilliant. Even when everything is explained, the
smoothness, ease, and speed with which these things are executed is amazing.
Upon entering the theatre, you are not only greeted by the sight of a beautiful and well-
appointed theatre, but also by a class pianist and a box on the stage. The pianist entertains
us as we are
asked to come up on stage and inspect the box. Like many of the Penn & Teller routines, the
audience is challenged to make sure that things are "supposedly" what they seem. We know that a
going to be done with these items, and our personal involvement heightens the enjoyment of
this, their opening trick.
This "Odd Couple" of magic proceeds with Penn rambling on with an endless discourse about a
variety of topics, and pokes fun at everyone and everything. Teller remains mute and cute
show, getting several opportunities to showcase and astonish us on his own. The audience is
continually amazed and entertained. Occasionally, the audience is "let in" on a trick, but the
always the same; we are equally entertained with the knowledge as we are without it.
My favorite was the "this is not the trick you think it is" trick...because a trick is set up,
and it turns out that it is not that trick, but in the final reveal, we find out that it was
trick either...the trick was really on the audience the entire time...it was wonderful.
The show moves along at a wonderful pace right up until the last trick--the magic bullets. It
is a good illusion, but the pace of this trick is completely different than all of the others.
slow and requires a lot inspection and preparation. Additionally, if you have seen Penn &
Teller onstage or on television in the last several years, you have seen this trick. We know
we know the patter, and as audience members the anticipation and surprise are gone. Because of
this, the trick is a bit of a let down after having seen so many other wonderful things. It is
illusion, but it doesn't seem to be the best way to end the show.
Penn & Teller put on a great show. It is also nice to see them acknowledge and thank their
staff and crew--something many performers seem to neglect, and without the support and efforts
everyone, the show doesn't happen. Penn & Teller are both Las Vegas residents now, and so in
many ways, they have come home for an extended stay. It is nice that they have found this home
performances. It is a great show and certainly worth seeing.