Penn And Teller: Fool Us Friday 7th Jan 9:00pm ITV1

This Friday Jonathan Ross hosts Penn and Teller: Fool us on ITV1. The idea is Britain’s best magicians are invited to do a trick which will fool Penn and Teller.¬†Any magician that can fox them will get to perform in their Live Las Vegas show.
Obviously it’s a good hook to get a variety magic show back on primetime telly. In my case they rang me up and said they had a shortage of unusual stage magic and they’d heard about my chicken and duck routine. So I dug out the Bill Smith boxes, gave them a clean and got down to business.
 
They also asked if I’d do my water tank routine for the VT section of the show. So we shot it in my mum’s garden and it was minus four outside!!! Bloody freezing:
 

Actual photo of Dedi performing his version of Derren Brown's Russian roulette routine - Well prepared should it go wrong.

 
The Chicken and duck routine is based on the oldest recorded magic trick in the world performed by ancient Egyptian magician, Dedi.  In the Westcar Papyrus he reattached various severed heads of birds and then resurrected them.
 
The idea of swapping the heads over was apparently¬† performed in the middle ages where the method was: they actually chopped the heads off the animals!!! I’d liked to have seen that.
 
The tongue in cheek comedy routine I performed on the show was first evolved by Servais Le Roy when he worked with Bosco who used to swap the heads over on two Doves: One white and one black one. Apparently it was the strongest layman reaction trick in the show and when they teamed up  Le Roy  suggested using a cockerel and Duck to make it more visual. And so evolved this shocking yet funny routine.
Very few performers have done the act which is exactly why I wanted to do it. I love researching ancient ideas and making them work. Mind you, after touring with a duck and a chicken and three assistants I now know why people don’t do it. It plays big but packs massive!! I had to change cars to take it on tour. Also as a routine it requires loads of co-ordination between the performer and assistants who have to be as “on it” as the magician.¬†Luckily I have my wonderful assistants Tia and Charlotte.
 
During my Edinburgh show I performed this routine as my opener and did it as “The Enchanter” character¬† – A seventies cruise ship magician.

The Enchanter

Of course it’s a bit alternative to do the routine as that character for prime time ITV1 but I think I still managed to do it in an ironic cheesy way – inspired by Steve Martin’s character ‘Tony Flydini’.
If you watch carefully I even drop in a little¬† “De Matos skip” as I shimmy to the boxes. Penn and Teller: Fool us,¬† ITV1 Friday 7th January 9pm
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3 Responses

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Charlotte Jo Hanbury. Charlotte Jo Hanbury said: RT @ali_cook: A little blog about tomorrow night's show https://alicook.wordpress.com/2011/01/06/penn-and-teller-fool-us-friday-7th-jan-9 … […]

  2. Just saw this on the ABC in Australia, love the trick! Your presentation was marvellous, tight and well rehearsed as well as quirky and witty. Very well done.

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