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.
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.
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.”
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.”
After the show, Penn and Teller stopped by to chat with Allen.
“I could hardly speak! They were very kind,” she said.
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.