Monday, September 29, 2008

Criss Angel - Believe? How About Don't Believe.

I have been curious about Criss Angel's Las Vegas production with Cirque du Soleil ever since it was announced last year that it would be opening in Luxor.  With those two acts together it seemed like a sure hit.  I had even considered going to one of the preview performances  which began this month (the shows official premiere is actually at the end of the month)  after several delays, but because of the postponements decided to give it a wait and see what the word of mouth would be.  I work in one of the most well known casinos in Las Vegas so word travels fast.

I am glad I waited.  Besides having one of my customers tell me it was a total bore and that the magic used in the show is totally lame, Danny Elfman of the "Las Vegas Review-Journal" posted an article today.  He is the entertainment editor for the paper,  In the article he says that instead of watching the show, he stood outside the showroom and asked several people what they thought of the show on the way out.  To put it mildly, people were either disappointed, bored, and even outraged with the show.  That is not a good sign.

In one part of the article, Elfman writes:

Kevin Saum of Chicago added, "The Cirque music is awesome."

But despite the best elements, Angel's show is appalling, Saum said. On a scale of 1 to 10, Saum deemed it a 3.

"It's embarrassing to put the Cirque name on it," Saum said. "He walks around the whole time and doesn't do anything. It's not his TV show. It's just really bad."

Saum and his friend Ranger flew in for a "bro's" weekend, specifically to see "Believe" plus Foo Fighters at the Hard Rock. They loved Foo Fighters. They hated "Believe" so much Ranger exited the theater by calling out to random people in the Luxor to not see it.

"They were drawing people in with the Criss Angel (fan base), and they drew us in, and we were very disappointed," said Saum, who usually loves Cirque shows. "The whole storyline is dumb."


Elfman continues:

John and Gail Michalak came from Los Angeles to see "Believe" with Karla Delemos. On the 1-to-10 scale, John gave it a 1; Gail a 3; and Delemos didn't rate it -- she fell asleep.

"I just got screwed," John said. "He pulled three doves out of his hat. Go to the Magic Castle in L.A. if you want to see magic. But don't come here."

John said fans were also upset they had to turn in their cell phones before entering the theater.

"Everybody said the biggest 'Mindfreak' is you're gonna get your phone back," he griped. "Never have I wanted to get my money back. I want my money back."

Hearing him say that, Gail warned him about Angel's tough-guy image: "John, you're gonna have him knocking on your door!"

"They need to know if it's not good," John insisted.

You can read the entire article at the Review-Journal by clicking here.

So, it seems that in the next month Criss and Cirque du Soleil have a lot of work to do.  If not, this could be an 80 million dollar bust for Luxor, which is owned by MGM/Mirage Corporation, and a flop for Cirque du Soleil.


Anonymous said...

saw the show, Believe in Vegas within the first three days of previews, and in Biblical terms, it sucked a big one!

Save your money, wait for KOOZA to come to your city and get your money's worth.

What were they thinking when they invested in this Cirque do Solame, singer/dancer/wannabe magicial. Cirque is slipping. They risk not only losing money with this misadventure but a lot of their fans when the word gets out they have become commercialized.

Be forewarned!

Anonymous said...

WORSE than awful. I actually felt sorry FOR HIM. Suggestion: Criss, just get naked and stand still for 90-minutes. Your (live) "magic" and cheezy break-dancing stink on ice. My 5-year-old nephew does more "believable" tricks. I honestly think this show is UN-salvagable...unless Cirque takes their theater & music and does a complete re-do. (Criss needs to stick w/tv camera tricks and paid actors who "act" mesmerized.) And I'm getting really sick of people saying this show wasn't "supposed" to be a magic show. What did they need Criss for then?! People know (of) Criss by his illusions, so of course that's what they "think" they are paying to see. If it's simply another "Cirque" show, may I suggest Criss audition for "O" the next time they have an opening? Poor birds- how did they get caught up in this train wreck???!!!

Anonymous said...

This show was so bad on EVERY level, I knew something just wasn't right. I knew Criss Angel wasn't the sharpest knife in the draw but Cirque? Then I watched "The Producers" again the other night and got it... this is "Springtime for Hitler" 2008!

Let's think about it. They get the biggest no talent hack, rock star wannabe that has NO track record of headlining a live show on this scale (and no, doing your own show in NY in a 150 seat basement room doesn't count), whose career is built around editors and production people crafting him into a magician on screen... then insure him against his ability to fulfill his contract to them (I would LOVE to have read those terms!)

Next... set out to produce the worst show ever and hit up the insurance when it fails!


Look very closely at the parallels. Take a production team running out of original ideas (Max Bialystock/Leo Bloom = Cirque's Guy Laliberte', Gilles Ste-Croix) add some overblown and warped choreography (although excellent - don't forget the amazing goose-stepping showgirls) then give an ego maniacal (and by many accounts gay) star with severely limited ability too much artistic control (Roger DeBris = Criss Angel) then through a huge amount of money at them and let it all implode.

Can anyone else not see this?

The sad fact is that this show will probably never make it to comedy cult status. This 2008 equivalent to "Plan 9 from Outer Space" might take years before the public can look back and laugh. I hope at least "The Producers" can.


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