In case any of you are travelling to Vegas in the future and considering the new Criss Angel - Believe show, here is a quick review and comments.
My wife and I travelled to Las Vegas to see "Believe" and were quite excited to see the show. We both enjoy the Mindfreak shows but are not big fans of Criss Angel. Much of his 'magic' are illusions that appear quite convincing with the help of editing and tv.
I realise that the Vegas shows now are soft-openings or previews, nevertheless, with that in mind, here are some of my thoughts on the show we saw:
Tuesday, September 30th, 7pm, Section 102 Row J
"Believe" Gift Shop at the Luxor prior to entering the theatre:
The usual collection of overpriced items such as $30 t-shirts that look like they would disintegrate with one wash and $20 programs for 30 pages of photos of Criss. Lots of people looking, not many buying.
Cell Phone & Camera Relinquishment:
Camera and cell phone use is prohibited. It's printed right on the tickets. This is not something new, leave the cameras & phones at home. With that said, anyone who brought these items to the show had to relinquish them before entering the show through a metal detector. I did not bring any of these items so I was not one of the scores of people waiting at the end of the show for their items to be returned.
Theater and Stage Set-Up:
Very nicely done. We had great seats up close and center. I won't go into details of the decor but it did seem to fit the "Believe" style and helped build anticipation for the show.
There are four characters who make their way about the theater. I'm not sure what their role/purpose was. Yes, to engage the crowd prior to curtain up but their activites just didn't seem to fit with the ensuing production. Really, a pointless distraction that may perhaps engage some of the children in attendance.
The Show (Spoiler Alert):
In one word...awful.
The entire production appears to be a directionless trip through a mish-mash of Cirque and Mindfreak entertainment. The show begins with a chit-chat from Criss and some Mindfreak PR via a big screen. Then Criss advises that he will attempt to replicate his 6 million volt trick on stage. In this attempt, Criss is electrocuted (not really of course) and thus begins a trip into magical make-believe.
I will not give a narrative of the entire production but will comment on some aspects.
Yes, Criss advises that the flight of him and other performers is not an illusion and that of course there are wires involved. Fair enough, but does it have to be so glaringly obvious? The wires are entirely visable and on a number of occasions, you can see the other performers hooking Criss up to the apparatus.
They are visible on the stage and a couple of times you could see the performers obviously dropping through them.
Dancing moles, dancing rabbits. The dancing is well performed, however it is unremarkable in that Michael Jackson coverd the group dance thing with Thriller over 20 years ago. Tired and uninspiring.
What's with the dove tricks. Criss states that this is not a magic show, then what is with the dove tricks? And Criss running behind a screen making multiple costume changes became tiresome after about the third change.
The fake white rabbit running across the stage and the blithering assistants was just perplexing.
If you are a die-hard Criss Angel fan, you will no doubt be pleased to see Criss in person. You will be disappointed with most of the illusions performed in the show.
If you are a Cirque fan, this show sets a new level of disappointment for the once great production company.
There are no "wow" moments in this show. I found myself looking at my watch about every 10 minutes waiting for it to end. It was a very disapointing show and I do not see, creatively how Criss and Cirque can save this production. It has been delayed 3 times already. It would not surprise me if it was delayed a year to improve it or it closes completely. I understand that the initial run was to go for 10 years. Not a chance. In this economic environment, entertainment dollars could and should be allocated elsewhere.
If you have any questions, please either respond here or feel free to PM me.