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Criss Angel: A Better Believe

By: Feb. 19, 2011
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In the fall of 2008, both Criss Angel and Cirque du Soleil were pilloried by press and fans - fans of both Angel and Cirque - when Criss Angel Believe opened. It was touted as a perfect marriage of styles, Angel's goth, edgy act and Cirque's artsy "reinvent the circus" form. It was a marriage made in hell. Instead of blending into a cohesive, entertaining whole, the elements clashed. But, Cirque promised a retooling and the result is much better and, even, fun.

Now, one of my guilty secrets is that I enjoyed watching Angel's TV show, Mindfreak. I like to be fooled by an illusionist. I like to wonder how an illusion was done. For me, Angel himself, was the best part of the show. But there wasn't enough of him. Instead, there were clowns, lots of girls and an easily discounted story. Criss Angel seemed miscast in the piece.

Today that has changed.

Yes, the clowns, doing some magic, still open the show. And, there are the pretty girls. But now they assist in the illusions. In  the revamped show we get lots of Criss Angel. He shows us home video and photos of his evolution as a magician along with video of some Mindfeak  stunts. And we get some pretty good illusions. He talks a lot more and does go into the audience. (For me, the only disappointment is that apparently someone sent him to a speech therapist. He's lost his heavy and - to me, comforting like a bit of home - Lawn Guy-land accent. I miss it.)

To some of the audience members Angel clearly has a touch of rock star as they - teenage girls - almost swooned when he spoke to them.

The illusions are fun to watch. Only once, when passing out bits of paper supposedly "at random" to the audience is there a slip. It was clear that some paper scraps were being held in the container by his thumbs to pass out to specific people. Otherwise, Criss Angel: Believe is fun. 

According to my informal post-show survey, the audience had fun. And it is fun….lots more fun than the original. Angel is engaging, his illusions are interesting and the positive vive in the audience adds to the festive mood.

Criss Angel: Believe is not the best Cirque du Soleil show of the seven in Las Vegas. But it is far better than it was two years ago. And it is lots more fun.

Criss Angel Believe plays at the Luxor Wednesday through Sunday nights. Tickets range in price from $64.90 to $176. They are available from Ticketmaster:







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