Not since Billy Batson first uttered “SHAZAM!” has a teenager so effectively harnessed the power of electricity.
The character Voltara, as portrayed by Moxie CrimeFighter Jillette, made her stage debut Sunday night to close the Penn & Teller show at the Rio. “Mox,” as she is known by shorthand, is the 13-year-old daughter of Penn and Emily Jillette. She’s developed Voltara as an act for the upcoming season of P&T’s TV show “Fool Us.”
Sunday was a test-drive for the TV show, which begins tapings for its sixth season and records 14 episodes through March 7 (tapings are free and run 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.; click on-camera-audiences.com/shows/Penn_Teller_fool_Us for info).
Mox has worked on the Voltara character for a few weeks. Without disclosing the specifics, Voltara has assumed superhuman-type powers after being struck in the forehead by lightning (possibly while golfing in the rain with her mom).
She assumes superpowers, and the act involves an electric chair and a long, metal rod that she magically electrifies.
Voltara is able to make herself feather-light, and she can also weight a ton. Radically fluctuating weight is a family characteristic. Her dad, who along with Teller also took part in the act, knows all about that.
Mox was understandably excited, to the point of giddiness, before and after her five-minute appearance.
“It was scary. It was fun. I can’t wait to do it on TV with my dad,” she said after the performance.
Her 19-member entourage added support and organized selfie-seeking fans afterward. But the kid’s performance onstage was composed, funny, and spot-on, prompting at least one audience member to stand and shout “Bravo! Bravo!”
It was her grandmother Diane, but still …
Whether Voltara is Mox’s eventual alter-ego, super-hero character or a side act in a larger project is yet to be seen. As Emily says, her daughter might well be a magician. She also might be a history teacher. But the kid has already delivered a five-star (out of five) performance. To quote Grandma, “Bravo!”
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts.Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.