I’m just going to say it: I love Siegfried & Roy. There you go. The message board is now open for you to mock me, if the urge strikes. But I’m proud to admit that I saw the legendary, brazenly bizarre Las Vegas illusionists/wild-animal tamers perform live on two occasions way back when, and I had a ball.
So it was with some trepidation that I tuned in to last night’s 20/20 installment Siegfried & Roy: The Magic Returns, which chronicled the duo’s journey back from Roy’s 2003 tiger attack to their recent farewell performance for charity. After all, most of the story of their lives has already been detailed (met on an ocean liner, became famous showmen, had the Mirage resort built for them, got special Michael Jackson song recorded for them, ranked among the world’s highest-paid entertainers) or glossed over (that, um, unique bond of theirs) countless times in the past. And the tale of their tragedy, survival, and recovery has also been the subject of several TV specials and interviews.
How’d it turn out? The Elizabeth Vargas-hosted program on ABC did spend a lot of time rehashing (and glossing over) all of the old stuff, but it was warming to see Roy back in business (even though his insistence that Montecore, the tiger that mauled him, was actually trying to protect him is kinda confusing). Seeing Roy walk, feed the animals, and bicker once again with Siegfried was certainly worth it. As for the much-discussed final stage show that the guys put on for brain research, it was less amusing. Certainly, I’m glad S&R got to go out on their terms, but the anticlimactic program they put together was strange — dark strange, rather than the typical, bubbly S&R haha strange. The final moment, when they brought Montecore back on stage (via magic, of course!) was meant to be poignant, but it left me decidedly unsettled and wistful. Still, audience members like Teri Hatcher, Robin Leach, Rhea Perlman, and Danny DeVito all seemed to love what they saw.
Anyway, what did you think? Was the duo’s 10-minute farewell enough? Think they’ll be back again? And how about Siegfried & Roy themselves? Miss them? Always a bit too weirded out by them to give them a chance? It’s too bad: You missed out.