My wife and I had a GREAT TIME at Penn & Teller’s show at the Hammersmith Apollo last night. I’d heard months ago that they were going to tour the UK (Manchester, Birmingham then London) and managed to get tickets in the stalls before they went on general release thanks to being privy to the news through various magic circles (no pun intended!).
If you’ve not heard of them, they’re a pair of magicians from the US that have been working together since the 70s. Penn is a colossus of a man at 6’7″ and is a loud, magnificent showman. Teller looks tiny next to him (although he’s probably average height) and doesn’t speak. He’s silent throughout the show, which adds another dimension to the act.
I’m definitely not going to give away what’s in the show, as it’s on until Sunday and you might be going, but all types of magic are here. From the opener, which left one lady in the audience with a video on her iPhone of how it was done, through to sawing a lady in half, from explaining that all mind-reading, clairvoyancy and mediumship is just a trick then demonstrating exactly that, to a visceral demonstration of a very risky trick with a nail gun, nothing disappointed.
In the interval, we spotted Paul Daniels and Debbie McGee having their photos taken with fans – if I’d known he was going to be there I would have dropped him an email to tell him to bring the money he owes us!
At the end of the show, Penn made a poignant monologue whilst performing a ‘carnie’ or freak show act which was designed to give everyone an even bigger sense of wonder about what they were watching. “Don’t wonder ‘how’ we do it, wonder ‘why’ we do it” he told us.
As soon as they’d taken their bow, the pair shot off stage through the auditorium and stood outside the Apollo, chatting (well, Teller probably stayed silent) and signing autographs for fans.
None of this ‘we’ll sign anything you have at the stage door in about half an hour.’ No. They went from stage to street in a matter of seconds. There were hundreds crowding both of them. They were going to be there for AGES.
They don’t tour the world very often as they’re resident at one of the Vegas casinos most of the year. If you can get tickets and have time to get to London this week then go see the show.