"I Give the Show Two Months. Tops."
A group of us in town from Boston saw the Criss Angel show last night. I had a free ticket and I still felt ripped off. It is sad to watch Cirque, which I generally have enjoyed over the years, put their name on something so awful. There hasn't been a great Cirque show in Vegas since "O" and that was 10 years ago. The Criss Angel show sets a new low.
Unlike "Le Reve" or "Ka" or some of the other Cirque-like shows that started bad but they have tinkered with and made fairly good, the Criss Angel show seems unlikely to be fixable because the concept itself is so flawed. Magic is about taking the ordinary and, when it is touched by this one special figure, it becomes unusual. That's why magicians come off as these ego-driven, pseudo cult figures - for which Criss Angel could be the archetype.
Cirque, on the other hand, is about transporting you to a place and a group of people who are otherworldly from the get go. Things appear and disappear out of no where. The stage is nothing but trap doors.
But the extraordinary thing is that even though this place is so strange, you know that the two guys on stage balancing on a broomstick are, in fact, human beings just like you. Knowing that somehow these performers have trained and trained and trained to get to the point that they can make the impossible look effortless is why Cirque is magical.
On the other hand, back in the supposed "magic" show, the audience won't be impressed when someone disappears from under a sheet if they know the stage is riddled with trap doors. And you can't do a cliche saw-the-man-in-half trick as the show's climax after you've shown the audience earlier that you have the puppeteering technology to not only make supposedly sawed-off legs writhe around on a table but, back in the first act, dance about on stage.
The anonymous, masked performer who turns out to have some physical skill that is beyond belief is the hallmark of the best Cirque shows. That is the opposite of what a magician is. It's not surprising, then, that the traditional Cirque athleticism is almost entirely missing from the Criss Angel show. I'm sure that Mr. Angel was concerned such demonstrations of real talent would up stage him.
The show had either extremely eager, sycophantical fans, or, more likely, plants who were just hanging out in the bathroom striking up conversations about how great it was with anyone who would listen. I'm guessing plants since three friends went to the bathroom over a 20 minute period and ran into the same woman. It wreaks of desperation. If anyone tells you the show is good, ask them how much of a kick-back they're getting from MGM/Mirage.
I give the show 2 months. Tops.
If you're a fan of magic and want to see a good show, check out "Penn and Teller" at the Rio or even Lance Burton or David Copperfield when he's in town. If you'd like to see something Cirque-like, go see "O" or "Mystere" or "Le Reve." If you have tickets to Criss Angel, call the box office immediately to see if you can cancel.
Comment by EastDakota - September 28, 2008
”A Rotten Experience Start to Finish”
Give this one a skip. The show isn't very good. He thanked god at the end for giving him this show after 15 years trying to get it on (look, shouldn't A MAGICIAN be one of the last to be devout? I dunno... seemed wrong).
And they force you to check phones and cameras and then YOU HAVE TO REMEMBER THE PERSON WHO TOOK YOUR STUFF originally.
Are you kidding me? And the check return is in the hallway where people are leaving - so you're getting bashed around as you try to remember the person who took your goods hours before. A rotten experience start to finish.
Comment by David B. - September 28, 2008
No Show For Fans
I was very disappointed that I traveled across the country to attend his VERY FIRST SHOW and never got a glimpse of him after the show for photos/hand shake or autograph!! I am a huge fan and expected to at least get a chance to see him off stage after the show.
Comment by Lora W. - September 28, 2008