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The Early Word : Criss Angel BeLIEve is a Stinker

By Chuckmonster on Monday, 29th September 2008 11:33am
  » filed under Las Vegas  comments: 11


The Criss Angel/Cirque du Soleil production BeLIEve started it's preview run over the weekend and some of the early preview reviews aren't particularly forgiving.

The LA Times' Movable Buffet compared it to WFN:

Vegas audiences are usually very forgiving; look at the people who still applaud the living remains of Wayne Newton. But the audience that saw "Believe" with me was appalled, based on the comments I heard.


Doug Elfman at the R-J noted:

On Saturday night, reaction was even worse.

"Everyone in the bathroom was chanting 'bull----'" from the urinals, Damon Ranger of Chicago told me Saturday. "It was absolutely awful. You can 'Believe' how bad it is -- because it's terrible!"

A group of men chanting 'BULL-SHIT' while up on the urinal block? Wow.

Robin Leach had a completely different opinion:

"Mindfreak" fans turned out in force for the high-profile first preview show. They were ecstatic, giving Criss screams, applause from the get-go and winding up with a near two-minute standing ovation! TV crews turned up with cameras to record the "Mindfreak" mayhem and mob hysteria. Top-level security was in place with five-lines of security metal detectors in the hallway before entering the theater. Audience members even surrendered all their cameras and cell-phones to avoid sneaky videos leaking out before the show is in "final shape" on Oct. 31.

... but later revealed he was in cahoots with Cirque/Criss:

I promised Criss and Cirque officials that I would not technically comment or review the production during the "preview process."

That such an agreement exists, implies that all parties involved know in advance that BeLIEve is a stinker.

It should be noted that the show is in the preview stage, which is specifically mounted so the producers can see how audiences react and make changes. Lots of changes. Like tons.



Comments & Discussion:

Finally Marilyn Manson knows how Alice Cooper felt.

I attended the show this past Sunday (3rd show) and was quite disappointed. The story line is very dark and hard to follow, and really doesn't make much sense. The Cirque Du Suleil performance was equally bad. No acrobatic moves, just dancing. I think Criss should stick with illusions and magic, since this is his forte and leave the acting to others. It is definately not a family show, which is disappointing since many children follow Criss and are huge fans as well. I'm glad I didn't pay full price for the tickets. Also, checking cell phones and cameras was a huge hastle. BELIEVE me, there was nothing spectacular to take pics of.

Do not waste you money on this terrible show. If you are into old school magic with criss angel pulling pigeons out of his sleeves and dancers dressed up like bunnys and moles doing simple three step moves, than this might be an OK show for you to see. Really surprised that Cirque Du Soleil actually put their name with this show. We had people leave early during our show and only 5 people (most likely family and girls in front row who have a ulterior motive) gave him a standing ovation. This is nothing like his TV show....Mindfreak. He levitates 4 times during the show and gets pulled apart once but besides that their is NO magic and only boring dances. We had 4 out of 5 of us fall to sleep during this show. We feel sorry for the people who are going to pay full price for this show. If you have a choice please see KA, O, Love or Zumanity (we have seen all of these and they are nothing less than fantastic).

I saw the pre review show on Tuesday ,I'm sorry but I really didn't like it. You could tell when they put the wires on Chris, when he exchanged places with a look alike, and that the legs on his cut in half trick were fake. I really wanted to like it, because I like Chris Angel but I expected better from him.
It was a little to bizzare and hard to follow. I thought his illusions would be less predictable. I think people just expect a better show from him .

Initial impressions were great. The theater is absolutely beautiful in a classic style, with elements of the macabre scattered throughout.

THEN, the show begins, and it goes downhill from there. The faked "accident" at the beginning is just laughable and ridiculous. The inspired costumes, machines, and artwork are amazing, but as one writer has already posted, the trapdoor effects just get plain old...and the rest of the "magic" is just as cliched...

I would HIGHLY recommend that Cirque/Criss go back to the drawing board on this one. I kept wondering which investors kept allowing this one to go on and get to this stage. It should've not come to a "preview" with "tweaking" and a 10/31 opening date, that needs to be held off "until the show is READY for prime time"...it is a long way off right now.

The main problem is that this is one schizophrenic show, marred by Angel's awkward, annoying monologue throughout. It would be much better if he just simply did not talk at all. That said, the show cannot decide whether it's a Cirque show, a magic show, a horror show, or some sort of macabre art display. The problem is, it succeeds at NONE of these, mainly due to the lack of unifying theme, Angel's inability to carry a live audience this large, and the lack of any truly creative "magic"...

I really wish I had had my money and time back. I had seen Carrot Top earlier in the day, and was thinking that I felt sorry for him (before I saw the Believe show) being upstaged so much---however, after seeing the Believe show---umm, I ain't worried about Carrot Top getting upstaged.

If you go to the Luxor, do yourself a favor and don't buy into the hype. Look at the programs to see pictures of the wonderful "Believe" set, BUT save your money and go see some better shows instead...maybe the producers of "Believe" will make wholesale changes sometime soon and delay the official opening, but unless they do, this show is doomed from the start...

I saw the first preview show. Both myself and my wife were excited to be there, because we enjoy his tv show. But the show was the worst thing I have seen in years. The 'tricks' were boring, unimaginative, and dull beyond belief. You could tell when they used mechanical dummies, etc. When we left, all of the other people who saw the show (and I assume most were loyal fans since it was opening night) agreed that it sucked.

I just returned from Vegas and saw Criss Angel's new show "Believe". I was anticipating a great, typically professional Cirque show, and have seen Criss' TV show. It was a great disappointment. The "magic" was stuff I had seen on TV twenty years ago; there were no "oohs" or "aahs"; it was easy to see right through all the so-called illusions. The music was canned, the dancing was second-rate MTV choreography. I felt ripped off for $225.00. All the other Cirque shows I have seen, Ka, Mystere, Zumanity, La Nouba, and Varekai, were mind-blowing experiences. I find it hard to believe that the Cirque people would put their name on such a lame production. Don't see it.

I saw the show on 10/25 RUBBISH!!!!!

How can Cirque even put their name on such a worthless show? I have seen every show they have put on in Vegas and this one is so bad i feel like i was robbed. They should do the Cirque name a favor and abandon ship now before they ruin their reputation.

The 4 clowns pre show were very good. I cannot name one good thing about the rest of the show.

I wrote to Cirque and this was their reply:

Thank you for you interest in Cirque du Soleil Matthew. We appreciate all comments and feedback and are forwarding them to the creative team. As with all of our Cirque du Soleil shows, CRISS ANGEL Believe is evolving into its own element. It is a process that Cirque du Soleil is working diligently on. My apologies if offense was taken.

OFFENSIVE there is the word I was looking for. Save your cash you will thank me later.

Remember a preview show and the "actual" show are to different things. The show has changed A LOT since the preview because they used the feedback to fix any problems. I work with Cirque so check out the link...youtube.com/lasvegas

"The show has changed A LOT since the preview because they used the feedback to fix any problems."

Friends of mine have said it was the most awful show in Vegas, they preferred The Osmonds to this and they used to be Criss fans, but are still Cirque fans. If the rumour of Criss Angel faking an accident to get out of the contract is true then I think it will help all around.

We overpaid for tickets - and were not impressed by the show. The "plant" in the audience was obvious - next time give her some acting classes. Makes it even worse when she goes to the bathroom and never comes back. Nothing for acrobatics. Mystere is way better and way worth the money. Sorry, would not recommend to anyone. Save your money - you'd get better entertainment in the casinos watching some guy gamble away his life savings.

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