Friday, June 8, 2012

Penn & Teller!

We had a great time seeing Penn & Teller at Caesars Windsor! They put on a fantastic show, although I must admit some parts I had to look away because I'm squeamish, even if it's all magic.

Seeing the lineup after the performance, I thought that our chances of getting a picture would be minimal but I knew that Bill wanted to stay as long as possible because they are two top entertainers that have inspired his own career.

Surprisingly, the duo was more than happy to stay around for all of their fans; signing autographs, memorabilia and even someone's debit card!  Thanks to a really nice couple who were waiting in line, Bill and I got photos with both Penn and Teller, Penn signed Bill's copy of "How to Play With Your Food" and he even autographed the program booklet that Jay (Bill's cousin) bought! :)

Here is the review that Bill, from Nuvo Entertainment, wrote on the show:

On June 2, 2012, my girlfriend and I saw Penn and Teller perform at Caesar’s Windsor. As a magician and skeptic, I was very interested in seeing one of my favourite duo’s perform live. I have some of their books, and DVDs, and have watched countless Youtube videos, especially being a performer in the entertainment industry.

I am definitely familiar with a lot of what they do.  However, I wanted to actually see how they interacted with the audience and handled the unpredictable nature of volunteers that were randomly chosen from the audience. They did not disappoint!

Before the show started, there was some great soft jazz music playing with piano and bass. It set the mood that you were in for something cool and different. Unlike, as Penn can often be heard saying, other magic shows that use a lot of bad Motown music. This was a jiving and groovy show.

Penn and Teller made their entrance in a very simple way, nothing flashy at all. It was just the two of them coming on stage and saying their hellos (rather Penn saying hello as Teller talks very little in the show…plus his head was in a box).

So what happens next? They go right into their first trick. They get a volunteer with glasses, and bring her onstage. Expertly, her glasses disappear and reappear on Teller’s face once the box is ripped and broken apart off of his head. No they do not tell you how it was done.

Even though Penn and Teller have been known for some exposure of magic, they don’t show you how they do everything. They treat their audiences as intelligent and as equals, but at the same time they show that even though you may realize that the card is not really lost in the deck, they can still surprise you in a different way. They basically take your knowledge and assumptions and use that against you. I have to admit, there were two routines that I didn’t see coming as I was totally taken in by them. As a magician, using my knowledge against me is probably the best thing you can do. Penn and Teller won me over.

The duo display a unique sense of wit and humour in their acts. Penn is a master of witty verbiage, while Teller is a master of subtle body expression. The two really compliment each other and create some really dynamic fluctuations in the show with loud and quiet moments. When Teller breaks his silence and tells Penn to shut up, it only makes the moment even more gloriously hilarious as that is what a lot of people were thinking (the only other moment I can relate it to that was equally powerful and comical was in a Jay and Silent Bob movie where Silent Bob told Jay to shut up).

In a huge contrast, they ended the show on a quiet note. The whole theatre was darkened and only lit by a single candle. It was at this point that Penn and Teller truly made the audience feel as equals, as Penn stated that they could now see us exactly as how we were seeing them. It was truly a deep and beautiful moment. He explained quietly and with some added humour, but still with a humble seriousness, the peril of the bit he was about to do.

In the hands of some performers, fire eating might come off as a quick and mediocre stunt. Penn and Teller elevated it to something emotional and bigger than that moment on stage. Even though, a cross-wind on stage prevented the success of one of the transfers, it did little to diminish the point: Whether in success or failure, we are on the journey together. I, for one, am glad to take the journey with Penn and Teller.

After the show, Penn and Teller stayed out in the lobby to sign autographs, take pictures and meet their fans. Even though you could tell they were exhausted, they were still playful and genuinely appreciative of the support. They were playful and masters of the perfect photogenic poses (well they ought to be after so many years of this!) They signed everything from books, programs, to tickets and even the back of someone’s debit card!

While standing with your arms around Penn and Teller, you find that these “Bad Boys of Magic” are really a couple of down to earth, lovable guys. I guess that is their real magic. They make you smile.