Saturday 27 August 2011

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Criss Angel's Believe

I've been avoiding seeing Criss Angel's Believe for a couple of years now.  It didn't start that way.  I'm a huge Cirque fan, and I find Mindfreak somewhat entertaining.  When the show opened in 2008, I was pumped and couldn't wait to see it.  Cirque with magic?  Brilliant!  How could it be anything but incredible! Unfortunately, at the time it was a couple of months until I could get to Las Vegas, and before I could get there, the reviews came out.  Apparently it could be less than incredible.

So I left the show for a while.  Three years actually, and I still wouldn't have gone, but Lori wanted to see it.  Do you know how hard it is to tell Lori that you don't want to do something that she wants to do for three years?  I've earned my medal for bravery, let's just say that.  Finally though, as she always does, Lori got her way.  Cheap tickets and a free evening mean that I spent last night at Believe.  So is it as bad as the reviews say?

Not really, but this may not be a fair comparison.  The show was heavily revamped about 10 months ago.  Gone are almost all traces of the Cirque influence, and left in it's place is a standard Criss Angel magic show.  I like magic, and Criss seems like a pretty good magician on TV, so this should be better right?  The problem is that the magic isn't very impressive.  If you've seen David Copperfield's show then you've seen the tricks from Believe, but you've seen them performed better.  Actually if you've ever seen an episode of America's Got Talent then you've probably seen most of the stuff from Believe. 

They say that there are only a limited number of illusions, and that the difference between tricks is the personal spin that magicians put on it.  This should play into Criss Angel's hands as anybody who has seen an episode of Mindfreak will tell you that he's incredibly creative.  It's not on display in Believe though.  The tricks are bland and obvious.  Criss' spin seems to be adding some small pyrotechnics and a lot of swearing.  It makes me wonder how real the tricks on Mindfreak are.  How can anybody who does such amazing stuff on TV have such boring tricks in his live show?  Is the real magic of Mindfreak the "magic of television"?  It makes you wonder, and I wonder how much of it will stick in my mind the next time I stop to watch a Mindfreak episode.

After the revamp of the show, the ratings improved a tiny bit, taking his show from a one star level, up to two stars.  That sounds like about the right placement for this show, so although it might not be as awful as the original reviews, it's still not good.  It does seem that the show may still be transitioning in it's move away from Cirque though, so I'm going to give the show another three years and then, if by some miracle it's still playing, I'll come back and try the show again.  Until then, congratulations to Mystere.  You are no longer my least liked Cirque du Soleil show.

Practicing the pose.  If it's not better in 3 years, I'm ready to take over.


  1. I went to opening night, and it was as bad as they say. I will never go back, no matter how many revamps they do. I love that you guys go to so many shows!!

  2. Was that the night Criss got into it with Perez Hilton? I'd heard it was a terrible Cirque show when it started. Now it's just a bad magic show. That's an improvement right?