Criss Angel – Believe – the Las Vegas Show

Since the Mindfreak shows were aired on A&E in 2005 and 2006, I always enjoyed watching Criss Angel shows. I think he is the best in his class.

So naturally, when I found out that they built an $85 million theater in the Luxor for a Criss Angel and Cirque du Soleil collaboration, I was eager to go and see the show.

Last Sunday we drove to Las Vegas with the sole purpose of going to the 10:00pm showing of Believe.

Fortunately, I didn’t read the reviews before. Here are a few samples:

They are absolutely AWFUL.

If I had read these reviews before booking, I would never have gone.

I actually enjoyed the show. It was an experience and adventure. Criss Angel staple tricks are appearing and disappearing, levitation and mentalism. He did some of that. He also did a few slight of hand tricks, like the classic pulling doves out of handkerchiefs. All of it done masterfully.

The Cirque du Soleil dancing and occasional acrobatics fit well within the story line and the music, as always, was superb and contributed in a large way to the experience.

One thing I found that was new was the clever way the show mixed video with reality. There were several occasions or stunts where characters walked onto the stage out of a screen, or walked or jumped from the stage into the screen. At one time, a flock of doves (lots of them) appeared to be flying out of a screen, right into the audience, to the back of the theater, where they disappeared.

There were also sequences where you could not quite tell  what was video and what was stage reality.

When you see Criss Angel critics, bloggers or commentators, they often talk about how he “fakes” things by hanging from wires, or body doubles, etc.

HELLOOOO. This is an illusionist. When he is suspended from the air, or apparently walking on water or up a wall, he is hanging from SOMETHING.  How else would this be working. When he is performing a mentalist trick, he is not reading the person’s mind. He is simply using some trickery that has not occurred to you and he has diverted your attention from the trickery sufficiently to fool you. I also got a kick out of the people commenting about being able to see the cables suspending the human angles flying. Duh! This is Cirque du Soleil. Did they really think that we were going to think the angels actually flew?

On the other hand, of course, Criss Angel should have anticipated that, and not have an act of flying angels at all — they really didn’t add to the story and we could have been fine without it.

My main criticism was  that there was not as much magic as I would have liked. I saw David Copperfield a year or two ago live, and while I thought some of his stuff was dated, he did a lot more active magic and not so much fluff.

So yes, I can see how Believe might not have the 10 year contract lifetime, and how it might eventually flop, unless he cleans  up some of the rough edges and listens to the critics.

Because, after all, the reviews are absolutely miserable. And there must be some kernel of truth.

Rating: *** (because I did enjoy the show)

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