3* Review Penn & Teller Rio Vegas

Review Penn And Teller Rio Las Vegas…..

Penn & Teller are the bad boys of magic! These anti-magicians push the boundaries and laugh in the face of ‘the rabbit out of the hat’ illusionists. They not only perform magic but often tell you how it’s done. This is their first home goal.

On TV Penn & Teller have a warmth, wit, timing and charm. On stage Penn simply will not stop talking.

This unique duo have a strange shtick in which Penn rambles on whilst Teller waits patiently and mostly steals the show with his stunning technical brilliance, precision and prowess.

I love this duo and their TV shows, but, having just sat through 90 minutes of ‘Penn & Teller’ Live at Rio Las Vegas – I left deflated, frustrated, confused and disappointed.

Here’s the problem: Penn is a brilliant intellect and raconteur, however, we don’t care – we just want fabulous illusions and 5* magic. He’s simply too clever for his own good. I find myself zoning out.

Tricks that should take 90 seconds take 8 minutes. Bits that should be 3-5 minutes are 15. In the first 22 minutes we had 3 tricks….one of which they gave away after 8 minutes of build up with no pay-off or zinger.

I genuinely want to LOVE Penn & Teller but I don’t. I respect them but want to punch them for the pure laziness, clumsiness & sloppiness of their ever evolving show (maybe that’s the problem – no polish). I get the gag “we’re clever and can show the techs cleaning up behind us” but why not ask “why bother?”


Penn And Teller Magic Show Review Las Vegas Rio Hotel
Review Penn and Teller Las Vegas
Penn & Teller Review Rio Las Vegas

Enjoy our EXCLUSIVE Audio / Video review here via YouTube:

The 1,475 seater P&T Theater was full tonight in Vegas. That’s a remarkable achievement and testament to their global appeal. This is undeniable.

The “Bad Boys of Magic,” are without question incredibly clever and talented….but collectively too sophisticated for their own good….especially in Sin City, or at least during the performance to which I was invited.

This is sad – I want to rave about these two mavericks & innovators. Instead I was given 3 card tricks (two of which went wrong), magic rings, dancing silk, paper rip & a finale that was a bigger disappointment than Roseanne’s TV comeback.

Having said that, I love the new proscenium arch staging (from the TV show), yet disappointed the new TV screens were often out of focus and not HD  – HOW in 2019?

Penn has the audacity to do a 15 minute bit slagging off Criss Angel. He parodies street magic and mocks his “fake news” magic and questions the credibility of his material.

I challenge anyone to watch P&T and Angel back to back and not admit that these shows are incomparable. Criss simply has the biggest and best produced magic show in modern history. At least be funny if you’re gonna take the piss. This is totally beneath Penn and a home goal in my view.

I applaud the fact they meet and greet the fans after the show without tacky merchandise plugs or any agenda.

I would like to think I’m of average intelligence but there were parts of the show I just lost the plot….and interest. I had absolutely no idea what Penn was talking about. Bits went on so long regularly, I just didn’t care.

Equally Teller’s ‘coins & goldfish’ bit might simply be one of the most beautifully crafted piece of magic in history. It’s 5* brilliant. Interesting this was the first part of the show that got a round of applause – could this be because it was classy, breathtaking, beautiful, edited (silent) MAGIC?

Penn & Teller Review Las Vegas

I’m so thrilled Penn has dropped politics. This was my biggest criticism two years ago. Laborious and not required in entertainment….let alone magic.

Where I do give Penn and Teller credit is that the show is almost entirely new.

They’re constantly re-inventing the wheel and the show is SOOOO MUCH BETTER than two years ago with Penn’s political rants and avante-gard nonsense taken out. I could do without the jazz but each to their own.

My issue is crafting, pacing and timing. This is a 25 minute show dragged out over 90 minutes.

Review Penn & Teller Rio Las Vegas

Teller admirably played along but as both P&T left the stage & theatre there was average applause and no standing ovation, it all just seemed to fizzle out quietly.

Such a shame & surprise considering their previous ‘gun’ finale which left the crowd stunned, shocked and excited.

Penn adlibing and being ‘himself’ was glorious, he should do more of this and less script. But, akin to Copperfield, when these guys enter into long and ponderous monologues – it’s painfully dull.

Penn & Teller are magical genius’, there’s no doubting – so why don’t we get this in the show?

Penn & Teller Review Rio Las Vegas

My lesson in Vegas is that script is king. You’ve heard of the ‘New York Minute’, here is Sin City it’s 30 seconds.

The Vegas minute is simply twice as quick as New York and London because the shows are half the length. Cut the crap and give us spectacular magic. We really don’t care how you feel or what you think – we just want to be amazed.

I’m so disappointed to write this review. P&T’s TV specials are brilliant. Fool Us is great entertainment but their Vegas show left me at time confused, bored and cold.

3* show with rare 5* moments from Teller.

Review by Alex Belfield for Celebrity Radio 5th May 2019.

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