Venue: Penn & Teller Theater
3700 W. Flamingo Rd.
Las Vegas, NV
Show Dates: Ongoing
Show Times: 9pm; Please call venue for additional dark dates.
Age Restriction: 5
Show Length: 90 minutes.
Starting at $61.80
Penn & Teller aren't your typical magicians. Instead of trying to fool the audience with illusions, they explain how they're done. But don't think you're going to walk out of the show knowing a bunch of new magic tricks. Their explanations aren't enough to defy their efforts to both amaze and amuse their audiences.
The duo has been performing together for more than 30 years and recently celebrated their 10-year anniversary performing at the Rio. Along with their success in Vegas Penn & Teller have also developed a following through their Emmy-nominated Showtime series "Penn & Teller: Bulls***." In the television show, much like what they do with their magic, the pair examine common mainstream beliefs by uncovering the facts, history and commentaries behind them.
In their Vegas show, Penn & Teller may perform under the guise that they're debunking illusions. Yet, in doing that they actually create more mystery about their magic by explaining how something is done and still astounding the audience with their demonstrations. The majority of Penn & Teller's illusions are unique, and the traditional illusions that are used in the show are performed in an innovative, non-traditional way.
Since Penn & Teller aren't like other magicians they don't use typical production elements like pyrotechnics, mysterious-sounding music and numerous scantily-clad female assistants as techniques to distract their audiences from seeing how a trick is done. Most of their illusions are done without any music and while Penn is explaining them to the audience. There are a few tricks performed while Penn plays his stand-up bass or to the tune of jazz pianist Mike Jones. An accomplished musician, Jones also performs while guests are finding their seats before the show starts.
When the pair isn't performing an illusion, Penn amuses the audiences with his dry comic delivery and straightforward opinions. At six-foot, six-inches tall, his large stature and boisterous personality more than compensate for the fact that Teller is silent for the entire show.
For one trick, the duo demonstrate how phony psychics, mentalists and other performers who claim to be mind readers, accomplish what they do on stage.
"They're all bulls***," exclaims Penn.
Meanwhile Teller hands out joke books to various people in the audience. The books are passed from one person to the next until Penn asks everyone to stop. Each person with a book is asked to flip through it and pick a joke. Even though Penn explains that mind reading and other abilities used by famous psychics are fake, he's able to recite the joke selected by each audience member. This is one of several illusions in the show that requires audience participation.
For another act in the show, Penn announces that the upcoming illusion is done with string and then he goes behind the curtain leaving only Teller and a red bouncy ball on stage. The audience knows how the trick is done, but they're still astonished by how Teller manages to get a red ball to follow him around and jump through a hoop like a dog without having the ball look like it's under his control. A master at sleight of hand, Teller doesn't need to speak to bewilder the crowd.
The final and most beguiling act in the show is when Penn & Teller simultaneously shoot a bullet at each other through a small pane of glass and catch it in their mouths. Before the guns are fired Penn asks for two people from the audience who have knowledge of guns and experience shooting them to come on stage to verify that the guns and bullets used in the trick are real.
Seeing two men catch a bullet in their mouths is something you don't see every day, but then again Penn & Teller are much more than your everyday magicians.