Stage Review

PENN & TELLER

EW's GRADE
B+

Details Lead Performance: Penn & Teller

''Vegas won't change us,'' these two claim on billboards leading into town, positioning themselves as the anti-Siegfried & Roy. Penn's mile-a-minute patter takes aim at two favorite targets: fellow magicians and supposedly irrational beliefs (he even mocks the idea of a human soul -- something merely implicit in most other Vegas shows). Perhaps they revel too much in being bad boys, but there is something still unmatched about a magic act relying less on shock and awe than on alternation between nonstop blowhard articulation and some beautiful, if morbid, vignettes that are virtual silent movies. The only letdown is the climactic bullet routine, which -- due to its lengthy setup and prior TV exposure -- ends the show with a literal but not quite figurative bang. (Rio, 888-746-7784)

Originally posted Apr 04, 2003 Published in issue #703 Apr 04, 2003 Order article reprints