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Preview: Penn & Teller at the Hammersmith Apollo

Published 23 June 2010

Legendary illusionists Penn and Teller will be performing at the Hammersmith Apollo this July. The American magicians will be gracing the stage for a five-night run at the Apollo for what will be their first set of tour dates in the UK since 1994.

The pair have been performing together for a very long time – around 4 decades – and their CV of past runs and shows are testament to their brilliance. This includes their performances at The Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, which spanned almost 10 years – making them one of the longest-running and most cherished shows in glitzy Las Vegas, ‘outselling every other resident magician on the Strip and earning them the accolade of the single best show in Vegas by the Los Angeles Times’. In addition, their critically-acclaimed US Showtime TV series, ‘Penn & Teller: BS!’ has been nominated for 13 Emmys and is the longest-running series in the history of the network. David Letterman, veteran US talk show host, had once described them as ‘evil geniuses’ and their fellow magicians often rate them as the best magicians in the world.

To call them magicians is slightly mis-selling the Penn and Teller pair. Not only do they perform some of the most stunning and mind-boggling illusions many people the world over have ever seen, they also tell great stories, debunk conspiracies and tickle the audience with their black humour. For this reason, they simply are in a league of their own. Forget Paul Daniels or Derren Brown; they even give David Blaine and David Copperfield a huge run of their money. Whilst they are all capable of carrying off good illusions, Penn and Teller possess a certain edginess and bucket loads of charisma. The unusual pairing adds to their uniqueness with talkative Penn standing at a gigantic 6 feet 6 inches tall, about 9 inches above quiet Teller, who performs mainly in mime.

Many of their tricks and illusions don’t fall under ‘magic for magic’s sake’ – a lot of Penn and Teller’s work has a message due to their strong skepticism, libertarian views and atheistic beliefs. However, many of the tricks they perform are just for the fun of it. Check out Teller’s Shadow Trick on YouTube, an absolutely graceful and astounding illusion for a taste of their skills.

Having seen the pair perform on TV since I was little, I became besotted with the pair and found it such a shame that their presence in Britain has been few and far between over the years. However, the announcement of their upcoming tour has reignited my fire for magic and I defy you not to see them! Even the most fantastical adjectives do not do Penn and Teller justice. Quite stunning is an understatement. If their TV shows are anything to go by, their few London gigs at the Hammersmith Apollo are a must-see. And on that note, I’ll be booking my tickets for their show before you can say Abracadabra!

Penn and Teller
Dates & Times: 14th – 18th July 2010, 7:30pm
Venue: HMV Hammersmith Apollo
Ticket Prices:£36.00 – £42.50

Official tickets for the show available from Ticketmaster here: http://www.ticketmaster.co.uk/Penn-Teller-tickets/artist/2651

If tickets are sold out for the event from TicketMaster, you can find secondary tickets from Viagogo here: http://www.viagogo.co.uk/searchResults.aspx?SearchText=penn%20&%20teller

Or from Ticketmaster owned GetMeIn here: http://www.getmein.com/comedy/penn–teller-tickets.html

  • Laura

    We’re seeing P&T this Saturday, and I can’t wait! I’ve been a big fan for over 20 years, and my husband and I always thought we’d have to go to Las Vegas to see them perform. Now all we have to do is hop on a train! :)

  • Lucy Pereira

    I’ve just got back from seeing them tonight, Laura – and one thing is for sure: You will not be disappointed! I’m planning on reviewing the show for the London Insider, so it would be great to get your opinions on your show once you’ve seen it (as well those of other readers!)

    Tip for everyone: Penn and Teller head outside the Apollo right after the end of their show. So if you’re looking for autographs and pictures with the duo, get out quick or be prepared to wait 30 minutes to reach both Penn and Teller – they’ll be standing separately outside the entrance of the venue. I had to wait, but it was well worth it!

  • Chris wild

    I went to see Penn & Teller on 15th July and I have to say it was not worth the money. Although Penn & Teller are very good at what they do and they have a polished act, I thought the magic was very ordinary and nothing spectacular. I thought the first half of the show was quite entertaining and expected the second to be a lot better. The second half starts with Penn & Teller sitting on a park bench handcuffed together, no real magic involved so I don’t know what that was all about. You would expect the end of the show to be good, but it ended with a fire eating routine, which I can see for £2 by a street entertainer. Penn does go on and spends a lot of time chatting about nothing. I would give it 6/10.

    What I would say is that I am magician myself so I might see this differently. The lay public may enjoy the show a lot more and might not have such high expectations.