An Appearing Act by Penn and Teller

Those rascally magicians Penn & Teller return to town Tuesday through Dec. 31 at the Wiltern Theater with “The Refrigerator Tour,” named for the 450-pound refrigerator the fearless comics drop on themselves during the opening number. “We also drop an anvil on a live duck,” noted the tall, bespectacled Penn Gillette--otherwise known as the one who talks. “What bothers me is that people are more upset about the anvil falling on the duck than the refrigerator falling on us.”

In addition to a sawing-Teller-in-half trick using clear plexiglass boxes, Mofo the psychic gorilla will make a return appearance. In another number, audience members will be invited onstage to screw Gillette into a packing case, from which he’ll make a Houdini-type escape--sans clothes. And for fans of sharp, shiny objects, there’s a piece featuring a forest of deadly animal traps. “I think it’s the sweetest and creepiest piece we’ve ever written,” he contends.

If some of the acts sound familiar, you might have seen them on the pair’s recent NBC special, “Don’t Try This at Home.” Said Gillette: “Altogether, the stuff on the TV special is about 10 minutes of this show. Forty percent is new since we played the Wiltern the last time. So even if you saw that show and the TV show, it’s still about 35% new. We do whatever show we think is best; we won’t put a bit in just because people want it--or take it out just because people have seen it.”

BOY MEETS DREAM GIRL: In “Doughball,” newly opened at East West Players, Perry Miyake goes home again--to Venice. “I wrote it after I re-met my dream girl three years ago,” noted the playwright. “I had no one to tell, no one to appreciate the significance of the occasion--of finally having a date with her.


“Then, by chance, my best friend from high school dropped by.”

Miyake also rediscovered a fondness for his old neighborhood, “a little section on Centinela (Ave.) and Culver (Blvd.)--they call it Mar Vista.

“We’d hang out at the pharmacy and read comic books, then go to Mago’s for their famous avocado-chashu burgers.”

In the play, Sansei graphic artist David has come back to visit his parents for Christmas, and reminisces with an old classmate about summer carnivals at the Venice Japanese Community Center where Doughball, a kind of poor man’s roulette played with a basketball dropped down a chute onto a board made of multicolored muffin pans, was a popular game.

“It’s about getting together with a childhood friend and appreciating where you came from,” said Miyake, “and the frame of reference is a chashu burger.”