Advertisement

Penn and Teller call Edmonton escape artist’s routine ‘perfect’

Penn and Teller give high praise to Edmonton escape artist
If you've seen a certain street performer in action in our city, You may now have something in common with the illusionists Penn and Teller. Community reporter Morgan Black explains how one woman found herself in Las Vegas for the performance of a lifetime.

Edmonton actor and escape artist Miranda Allen has received a big compliment from legendary illusionists Penn and Teller.

Allen, alongside her best friend and co-performer, Sarah Emslie captivated the duo on the TV series Penn & Teller: Fool Us. The show is a magic competition where magicians perform tricks in front of Penn and Teller, where the goal is to baffle and captivate the legendary illusionists.

While she didn’t manage to fool them and win the prize, the duo called Allen’s escape from a barrel filled with red wine “perfect.”

“I was emotionally prepared for every outcome, except them liking it that much,” Allen said. “It was completely overwhelming.”

“You inspired us. It was beautiful, it was heroic. I just loved every second of it,” Penn told Allen during the epsiode.

Story continues below advertisement

Back in March, the pair flew to Las Vegas to perform the routine in front of a live studio audience. During the stunt, Allen is restrained by handcuffs and chains and then locked beneath the lid of the barrel.

She said the moments on stage just before her big performance, were actually the most calm she had felt since arriving in Las Vegas.

World-renowned magician Shin Lim takes tricks to social media
World-renowned magician Shin Lim takes tricks to social media
“Everything was madness, right up to the dress rehearsal,” Allen laughed. “[My costume] got wine spilled on it during the dress rehearsal just before we went on stage. So my friend was downstairs hand washing it out as they were setting up the camera angles, desperately drying my shirt to run it to me onstage.”
Story continues below advertisement

The idea for the stunt first came to Allen more than two years ago.

“I was performing at the Adelaide Fringe in Australia. In between shows, I was hanging out near an outdoor garden area,” Allen said. “I noticed they were using these oak wine barrels as tables. I just kept wondering ‘Can I fit in there?'”

As soon as she came back to Canada, she began developing the performance.

“Then, suddenly I was standing in front of Penn and Teller on television.”

Read more: 2020 Edmonton International Fringe Festival cancelled over COVID-19 pandemic

With a stunt like the one she performed for the magicians, practice makes perfect. Without it, there could be disaster.

Allen said working on an escape stunt takes quite some time to perfect.

“I was raised by an architect and an avalanche forecaster, so working with structures and risk management were everything in my house,” she said. “I’m very afraid for my life when I’m conceptualizing and building the stunt. I take that fear and channel it into making sure I’m doing my homework.”

“I’m really trying not to think at all, which is very difficult and takes a lot of rehearsal. I work with free-diving principles to hold my breath. So it’s about slowing your breath and conserving your oxygen.”

Story continues below advertisement

After the show, Penn and Teller stopped by to chat with Allen.

“I could hardly speak! They were very kind,” she said.

Read more: Young Calgary magician hopes gender bias vanishes with help of Penn & Teller

Allen said when her episode aired on July 13, she relived the magical moment all over again.

“Being on stage in that environment, that’s a really lovely moment for a performer, because that’s where I’m at home…in front of a live audience.”

Allen is working on a new stunt that “involves a lot of rigging.”

She will be debuting it for an upcoming digital Fringe variety show on July 28.