My BeLIEve Review
I should preface this review by explaining a little bit about how I came to know Criss Angel, and the somewhat arduous journey getting a ticket to the show.
I had never heard of Criss Angel until I saw the Season 3 premiere of Mindfreak in June of 2007. I was instantly hooked; Criss' brand of magic and illusion quite literally took my breath away. I looked forward to each new episode with anticipation, wondering what he would amaze me with next. Despite loving his performances tremendously, I never anticipated the possibility of seeing Criss Angel live and in person. When I realized later that year that Criss would be doing a live show in Las Vegas in the summer of 2008, I knew I had to see it. I immediately started planning to see the show.
I told myself that I wanted to see the very first performance of the show. Making this happen was not easy - in fact, it was next to impossible. As soon as tickets were available to Cirque du Soleil / Criss Angel Fan Club members, I was able to purchase a ticket to the very first preview show on September 1. Unfortuantely, preview dates were constantly changing / being pushed back, and the September 1 show got pushed back by several weeks. I had to make a decision: Should I try to go to the "new" date for the first preview performance, or should I settle for a date later in the year?
I decided to go to a performance on December 6, 2008, figuring that the show would have settled by then. As much as I wanted to attend a preview performance, or even the Gala Premiere, I did not want to take the chance of a show date being cancelled again. Thankfully, the date stuck.
My first thought as I entered the BeLIEve theater is that it expresses Criss' personality perfectly. Before you get inside the theater, you have to walk past the BeLIEve Store on the left, and a wall with a forest filled with whispering rabbits on the right. The adjacent hallway is filled with 3D pictures of Criss (and rabbits) in various poses. One picture that particularly amused me was a picture of a rabbit that, as you passed, grew fangs. If you listen closely, Criss Angel's voice echoes through the hallway, telling you to "believe", and asking you, "Are you ready?"
The BeLIEve theater itself is beautiful. The stage is draped in a thick, red velvet curtain. There are intricate, gold designs framing the stage - for example, instead of a man pulling a rabbit out of a hat, you see a rabbit pulling Criss' head out of a hat. There is also a clock that has 13 hours instead of 12.
The show itself, in my opinion, is nothing short of spectacular. Seeing the show reaffirmed what I knew all along: Criss is an amazing performer, illusionist, and magician, and he is definitely not bound by the supposed "magic of television" like so many people like to claim.
Also, you must understand: This is Criss Angel that we're talking about here - not Lance Burton. (Nothing against Lance Burton - he is an amazing magician in his own right.) Criss' brand of magic is atypical. He is a dark figure, and his magic reflects that dark personality. The show is a journey into the mind of Criss Angel - you aren't going to find card tricks and a magician adorned with a cape in this show. But you will see rabbits. Criss takes elements of traditional magic - rabbits, for example - and twists them to fit his unique, bizarre world. The show is a journey. The show is about love lost and love won; good and evil; danger, wonder, and surprises.
The characters seen throughout the show are beautiful (Kayala), spooky (Crowmen), fun (the Ushers), and thrilling (Crimson). I loved the music, I loved the costumes, and of course, I loved the illusions presented throughout the show. I do not want to dissect specific demonstrations/illusions/etc. that Criss performed during the show, because I don't want to spoil it for those who have yet to see it. I will say that Criss chose a variety of illusions that he has been performing for years; some, for well over a decade. They were great to watch, and I can only imagine the thrill Criss must have to perform illusions that he has worked so hard to perfect in front of thousands of people night after night.
I can't wait to see BeLIEve again!
to the BeLIE