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Penn & Teller Review - Hammersmith Apollo (June 2023)

Updated: Oct 11, 2023

An opportunity to watch Penn & Teller perform live in the UK is rare. But for 2023, Penn & Teller are touring and performing beyond their successful Las Vegas residency.


Dates for this tour originally went on sale a few years ago and then Covid hit. A tour that has dates over a couple of weeks in the UK which includes Wolverhampton, Manchester, Birmingham and London.


My tickets were for the London show at Hammersmith Apollo. A rather nice venue.


Nearby, lots of shops and places to eat gave me a chance to get some pre show tea. Unexpectedly, I noticed Penn wandering the shopping complex. Seizing the moment, I was able to say hello briefly and get a selfie. Certainly a highlight and not someone that I expected to meet (thank you Penn).

Penn Jillette - Hammersmith 16-Jun

Like many shows these days, a VIP meet and greet package was on sale in advance and sold out. Timing wise, the option to get this upgrade was ruled out for me due to restrictive travel times to get home. Though if my memory serves me right, it included selfies and signed playing cards/tour posters.


With the show starting at 1930, doors opened at 1830 and the venue was very well organised, getting the crowd into the theatre. Another bonus was spotting magician Noel Qualter in the auditorium, who has appeared on Penn & Teller (cheers Noel for the selfie)

Unlike a lot of magic shows, the venue also had a decent amount of merchandise on sale. I was able to get a tour programme, mug, key ring and playing cards. Nice collectables for my home office.


They also had a signed poster on sale that I would have loved but they had run out. Maybe I will be able to pick up on eBay as I collect signed posters but they were selling for just £20 which wasn't bad. The merchandise was pretty reasonable cost wise to be fair.


Programme, keyring, mug and playing cards merchandise

Once into the theatre itself, you can see why the venue is excellent for magic, as it is able to hold a large audience capacity and I had pretty good view of the stage from the stalls.


An impressive feat that Penn & Teller were performing 6 dates from this venue alone in London. An audience packed with those who love magic and of course magicians.


Hammersmith Apollo

Traditionally known as the bad boys of magic, it is hard to understand why these popular comedy magicians are not members of the UK's Magic Circle - the elite club for the best magicians.


Politics surrounds this decision but it all revolves around a view that their act is exposing magic methods. And even if that was the case, would the act want to be members?


In fairness to the act, the exposure is generally a setup to fool the audience into believing they understand before going on to fooling them further.


If only their contribution to magic could be recognised some how by the club? Who else has the draw to attract such large crowds and promote magic on this scale in the UK other than perhaps Dynamo.


The show started at 1930 and ran to 2200 which included a 20 minute interval.


While this initial review in spoiler free, what I can say is that the show focus is most definitely on humour. Everything revolving around effects and performance that is most funny. Penn being a great comedian and Teller being a fantastic mime artist. A fantastic combination.


While stage magic, supported by video screens, the act consisted of mentalism, card magic, whackyness and illusions.


The audience reaction was positive with all jokes going down well. The audience being mixed with some children through to older adults.


The show is very engaging and interactive in parts, encouraging audience participation. Penn & Teller also have their own individual sections in the show as well as sharing the stage. Teller putting on one very memorable act with a wood chipper. Hilarious!


With only two shows left at the time of writing in the UK, getting tickets will be hard. But if you do get a chance, just go.


A fantastic evening of magic from two famous and popular magicians who are an important part of magic history.


Thank you Penn & Teller, along with your US and UK team for the fantastic show.


A magic highlight for me that I will never forget, despite seeing a lot of magic. A truly original and brilliant act.


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