A New Westminster illusionist who fooled Penn & Teller once is set to try to do it again.
Vitaly Beckman returns – virtually – to Penn & Teller: Fool Us, airing Friday, March 19 on the CW Network.
In the show, invited magicians try to fool the famed Las Vegas magic-comedy duo by staging tricks the famous twosome can’t figure out.
Beckman has done it once, when he appeared in front of the pair four years ago in the show’s third season.
This time, thanks to COVID-19, Beckman’s appearance will be filmed remotely from Vancouver.
Beckman notes the performance will be shot with stringent conditions that won’t allow any camera trickery, and the secret of the act will be disclosed to a judge. The judge will closely watch Beckman’s act and listen to every word Penn & Teller say to see if they can guess Beckman’s secret – or if Beckman will take home a second Fool Us trophy.
Beckman, who was born in Belarus and raised in Israel, was hailed as “one of the most unique and innovative illusionists in the world” by the Chicago Tribune. He most recently had his show produced off-Broadway by Daryl Roth, whose producing credits include Tony Award winners such as Kinky Boots and Indecent. The show was booked for a 16-week run at New York City’s prestigious Westside Theatre, the same venue where Penn & Teller started their careers in the 1980s.
Beckman is known for his original illusions that all centre on the theme of bringing art to life – from making drawings and paintings spring to life, to making audience members’ faces switch places on each other’s driver’s licences during live shows.
In an interview with the Record in 2019, Beckman said magic and illusion tap into something very primal in humans.
“It’s a very unique art form. It’s very ancient. People have been performing it for thousands of years,” he said. “It can be light, it can be fun, or it can be very deep, even life-changing.”
Which will it be on March 19?
Beckman’s newest illusion will be unveiled during Penn & Teller: Fool Us – and if his magic can’t make the pandemic disappear, he’s hopeful it can at least help viewers to forget about it for an hour.