Penn & Teller Fool Us : 16th July
Another great show, the quality and expertise of the acts cannot be questioned even if they do not manage to fool Penn and Teller.
My only real gripe I guess would be with they hyperbole and aggrandisement practised by Jonathan Ross. I mean there is no doubt that Penn & Telller are amongst the worlds elite magicians and are therefore part of a small group. Teller is, of course, exceptionally knowledgeable and I would love to be part of a talk on magic with him and Max Maven (recognised as a great performer and historian of magic) or with Jeff McBride and Eugene Burger (recognised for their devotion to the teaching of the art and craft of magic).
TV and Showbiz Talk is about presenting ‘stars’ with all the titles and honours it can bestow and sometimes the over enthusiastic ‘billing’ of its artists can be amusing. Take for example one of the acts on tonight’s show (Michael Vincent) he has a lesser billing to the stars of the show (understandably) BUT is recognised worldwide by magicians as one of the finest exponents of ‘classical magic’ with books, DVD’s , Magic Awards and international lectures to his credit he truly deserves the label ‘’great’. Of course, he is not a household name and I guess that’s what the game is all about. Sometimes its not simply about talent, it’s about marketing and ALWAYS about exposure.
AND this, by the way, would be my answer to some of those magicians who are concerned about the “Fool Us” premise of the Penn & Teller Show. I accept magic is not simply about fooling people, it is about the art and the craft BUT, let’s be honest magic is about that moment of awe and wonder when the dramas presented by the magician cause the mind of the spectator to question HOW, WHAT, WHEN?
HOWEVER, this programme is, for the most part, showcasing great talent and magicians who otherwise might not be known by the general public – and that has to be a good thing!
So tonight’s show …
This was a great routine, nicely constructed and beautifully executed, the plot of the confused magicians is straight from Cardini. I was with Penn most of the way with only a slight clue of what was going on – Teller got it so no trip to Las Vegas for Cubic Act.
I do think that this act was a great union of abstract art and illusion and also think that some viewers may have jumped to an early, incorrect, conclusion as to method and so be blinded to the art of the
A great premise, easy to follow with the premise of testing female intuition… the ‘chair plot’ taken to the nth degree….
The opportunities given for the spectator to change their mind really confounds the eventual climax of named person in right seat with correct food holding the right coloured envelope.
This fooled Penn & Teller and so a big WELL DONE must go to Nick.
I loved the routine – and, not wishing to imply I know more than the dynamic duo, there was one question that occurred to me which, if asked, might have lifted the veil of mystery on this exceptionally smart routine. If my assumption is half-way correct Nick not only managed to fool Penn & Teller but pulled off one of the most beautiful of Becker-esque-style subtleties. (Hint for fellow mentalists there to see just how far off mark I am).
Of course Nick may not have done what I think he may have done, my thoughts are tentative and untested, and in which case I am lost too.
What can I say…
Immaculate card handling especially with Penn & Teller sitting at the ‘critical angles’ and a plot that was so direct – the transposition of signed cads from a red deck to a blue deck. The display of the selected ‘blue cards’ and the switch for the ‘signed red cards’ which HAD to have taken place was invisible…
It’s so hard to convey to non magicians how elegant, smooth and flawless Michaels work is. His technique is invisible to many of the world’s most magical eyes and represents decades of practice, mentoring and personal dedication. Love your work Michael – inspirational and aspirational!
Morgan and West
The 4th Dimensional Tourists… From the outset I loved their Victorian style characterisation.
The art of cutting silhouettes is something we don’t see very often and the few times I have seen it performed live have been very entertaining. The premise of this act was great and I too thought they did what Penn & Teller said they did… The fact that they did not makes their routine even more intriguing. I want to watch this routine again for that non-switch..
Penn& Teller Nail Gun Roulette
What can I say – wonderful routine.
Loved the delivery, the menacing humour and the fact that Penn spoke of the ‘ethics’ or ‘real danger’ on stage.
If you were to ask me what makes Penn & Teller so good, apart from being nice guys – I met them once on their first UK show several years ago – is the fact that Tellers obvious skill is support by Penn’s ability to deliver great lines. Their attitude to the magic, what they do and what can be implied by their effects is sharp, challenging and intelligent.
Both are masters of their art and have carved themselves a niche in the world of magic not because of what they do but HOW they do it.
Aspiring magicians take note – it’s YOU and YOUR attitude that is perhaps more important than what you do. Great magic can be ruined by poorly constructed presentation – the dynamic and interesting performer can make a good effect a miracle.