Criss Angel’s Believe Reviewed by Troy Swezey

Criss Angel’s Believe: I went to opening night of the preview shows. If you are expecting a live version of Mind Freak you will be disappointed. If you are expecting another version of a typically fantastic Cirque Du Soleil show you will be disappointed. Although the show has most of the basics- something levitates, something disappears, someone gets cut in half, and something passes through something else it also includes a straightjacket escape over the audience and several acts of imagery we are led to believe are taking place in Criss’s mind such as a tornado on stage.

I don’t want to be the one to give away the story line or any secrets although I am sure they will get out there sooner or later so let’s just say he does replicate the tesla strike from season one of Mind Freak and yes, it did mind freak me for a couple of minutes. You’ll understand when you see the show.

This show, even though it is approved for ages five and up is very dark and there are several parts that are somewhat disturbing and more appropriate for a more mature audience.

The theater is beautiful with some fascinating artwork in the entrance hallway. The dancers are a lot of fun to watch and we even get to see Criss break dance.

I recommend sitting half way back as any closer may be too close to take in all the action and you’ll miss the best part of the show, the doves routine that Johnny Thompson should be really proud of.

  • LD

    That’s a very terrible “review”. You didn’t, in fact, review anything. You simply said, “yeah, it has some stuff.” Well no kidding. Every other review I have read said it sucked, the audience hated it, and it generally tanked. Care to elaborate? Maybe give us a rating 1-10? Your review does nothing to tell us if the show is good bad or indifferent. How would I know if I want to see this or not based on what you typed?

  • michelle

    I just booked front row tickets with a friend for new year’s eve. Are we gonna be disappointed??? Now I’m nervous. I’ve heard so much of people saying that the show sucks in one way or another. Maybe we should make alternate plans?

  • Kati

    I saw it last night and it was really bad, I men really bad. People we walking out mostly disappointed. I have seen all 5 Cirque shows in Vegas and this does not even belong in the same category. Waste of money and time. Lame!

  • Allison

    We saw the show on 10/12 and it was terrible. The whole show was corney. I didn’t see any magic. It was more theatrical stuff to watch, a lot of dancing. Cirque should take their name off of it as it doesn’t even compare to ‘O’ or ‘KA’ or any others. I really would recommend not spending a $ on it. Luckily we got free tickets…Sorry Criss..

  • Kristina

    I saw the show a couple of weeks ago after flying in from the East coast and was very disppointed. The opening was great when Criss comes out to talk to the audience. The show then starts with him getting electrocuted and waking up in a dream which is supposed to be a trip through his mind. He falls in love with Kayala while another women tries to prevent him from marrying his true love. There are some magic tricks; people disappearing, levitating, doves up his sleeve, etc. but I felt it was mostly a play, very theatrical, with Criss being a part of it. He does a lot of sitting around, talking to the audience (asking if we’re “still here”) and watching people dance. I’ve seen a Cirque show before and it was amazing. This didn’t seem like your traditional Cirque show. There were not acrobats, just dancing. Criss did not do a lot of magic and what he did do was nothing that would get the reaction as what he does on Mindfreak. I understand that this wasn’t supposed to be Mindfreak but I felt letdown. He also breakdances briefly and sings Mindfreak at the end while kind of dancing. Many think he lip-synched and I would agree. Overall, I wished I had waited until to wait for reviews but my travel plans were confirmed and couldn’t be changed. I was up front, center, and got the discount for the preview performance but I wouldn’t have minded paying more for a better show. The discount was given for stops, if needed, during the show. It ran just over 1 1/2 hours and they want to shorten it to 1 1/2 hours exactly. I can’t imagine how they’re going to do that given the first few minutes are clips of Mindfreak and people’s reactions to his magic. I wanted so badly to say I loved it but I can’t.

  • Jack V.

    Criss Angel’s Believe is quite simply the single worst thing ever committed to the stage under the banner of a “professional” theatrical production. In fact, I have seen dozens of amateur productions that are exponentially better than the atrocity unfolding on stage nightly at the Luxor. I have been in the entertainment business for more than 20 years, and in that time I have been employed to sit through hundreds of preview performances, so that I could later give notes to the director, which he or she would then consider in getting the show ready for a hard opening. I have also worked on the production of several very large and complex magic shows. After watching Believe, I sadly concluded that there was no simple way to salvage this awful show. All I could think is that they should keep the set, the costumes and the choreography and start from scratch. If Cirque and the Luxor aren’t deluding themselves (and I know that they’re not – Cirque is very worried about how this show will affect their reputation) they will close down the show, give it a complete overhaul, and reschedule the opening for some time in the first quarter of next year.
    The show has many flaws, but the two most unforgiving flaws are its star and the magic (what little there is) that he performs. Criss Angel is a mega-reality TV star; reality TV is his domain, and he dominates it well. Criss has never had experience performing in a professional, first-class theatrical setting (and don’t point to his show in the WWF theater in NY – I saw it several times, and while it was decent, it was small, and by no means could it be considered a “professional” theatrical endeavor), as a result, the “star” of this show sticks out like a sore thumb when it comes to stage presence, movement, and just the basic ability to look like a professional performer. Unfortunately, all of the reality TV fame in the world won’t automatically result in the ability to grace a stage in the manner needed to come off as a professional stage entertainer. Criss needs to spend months in daily, intensive training with theater professionals, who can teach him how to stand, move and talk like a professional entertainer. The Cirque elements of the show are of the highest professional caliber, which only contributes to just how amateurish Criss comes across as a performer.
    We could forgive Criss’s lack of professionalism, if the magic were stunning. But it’s not. In fact, it is some of the most poorly conceived and uninspired magic I have ever seen. This is Criss’s fault. First, he painted himself into a corner with his TV show. Anyone with even a modest understanding of magic realizes that Criss can’t do in public what he does on TV. Criss uses the camera in a masterful way to assist him in the illusions he performs, but without the audiences point of view being limited by the camera, Criss simply can’t do live on stage the things he does on TV (he can do things similar to what he does on TV, but they will look less miraculous than what he does on TV). That being said, there is a world of incredible magic and illusions out there and dozens of professional magic consultants that could breathe life into this pitiful show, but Criss has not availed himself of them. Why has he not? For one, he has begun to believe his own press. Second, he refuses to pay for it (Criss is notoriously frugal when it comes to this stuff – the classic case of penny wise, pound foolish). Third, the few professionals he did contact to help him with the magic in the show were asked to sign ridiculous secrecy agreements that would prevent them from ever again using principles of magic that are hundreds of years old, if they worked with Criss on Believe. (And no, I have no personal axe to grind, I never was, and never wanted to be, involved with this show – but the magic community is a very small world, and I saw this silly agreement myself).
    From a financial point of view, Believe is not likely to just close and go away. With the amount of money invested in the show to this point, it makes more sense to invest some more, fix it, and run it long enough to recoup the investment. The only trick will be getting this done in a manner that doesn’t kill Cirque’s, Criss’s and the Luxor’s reputation.
    If you have tickets to the show, get a refund. If you’ve been a victim of this show, demand your money back. Letting the show open – even in previews – was, in my view, a negligent act by Cirque and the Luxor, and they should not be allowed to profit from their own negligence (I understand that the Luxor has given refunds to angry patrons). If you want to go see a good Cirque or Cirque-like show, go see Love, Le Reve or Zumanity. If you want to go see a good magic show, go see Lance Burton, Nathan Burton or Jeff McBride at Palace Station. Don’t spend your hard earned money on Believe, until Criss, Cirque and the Luxor show their fans and patrons the respect they deserve and reconstruct this theatrical atrocity from the top down.

  • Ron

    We planned a family trip to Vegas around getting tickets to “Believe”. What a major disappointment. The show is simply awful. Guaranteed to put anyone to sleep is the best magic performed. The illusions that are performed are not crisp and if you are sitting close, you will see how everything is accomplished. Very disappointing overall. The saw trick is very poor. Not even a working saw used for the illusion. The dancing is okay but each routine is the same. How many times in one dream sequence show is Criss supposed to die? I think he finally accomplishes his goal if it is death to the show overall. Even his weak attempts at communicating with the audience, show that he is not convinced himself that the show is any good. Don’t waste your money.

  • brandy

    IMOP…I went to see the Criss Angel Believe show at the Luxor, and I must say…. IT WAS HORRIBLE! I am a huge Criss Angel fan, I think he is a great entertainer, however this show was horrible. I found out after watching the show that everyone that has seen the show to date has hated it also, everyone left the theater talking about how bad it was, my suggestion is it is better to save your money for another show and skip this trash. Also, it is not kid friendly at all, I did not take my kids to it, however there where some there and they left in tears from being scared of it. Think of Alice in Wonderland on really bad drugs.

  • Scott G

    Criss Angel is a fantastic illusionist but this show is HORRIBLE (and I am being really polite here). I think that someone at Cirque has convinced Criss that he is now an actor but he is not. The show itself it a supposed to be a dream but it really is a nightmare. We had 6 people there all of whom were really excited to see Criss’s show and where extremely disappointed in this mess. Stupid dancing moles and rabbits?? Give me a break. If you are an illusionist, stick to it and forget the Cirque idea, it just doesn’t work. This show is supposed to open on Oct 31 and I will bet it closes before Christmas if not before that. Even the usherette who sat us was warning us not to expect anything close to what you see on Mind Freak. She also told us that the show was “way better than it was 3 months ago”! I pity the audience at those previous shows. DO NOT GO TO THIS SHOW!

  • Jim

    This show is the worst. I live in Vegas and have seen every Cirque show here and elsewhere and this was by far the biggest train wreck I have ever seen. Where was the magic that wowed me on tv? I saw doves appear from sleeves..”Lance Burton”, Criss get sawed in half.. “Penn and Teller”, a woman crawl out of Criss’ stomach..”David Coperfield”..etc..etc. Every trick he did was easily figured out by me and everyone else around me. I had 5th row seats and could see every hidden wire on the stage. People were walking out of the show after paying over $100 a ticket… what does that tell you? I saw more self absorbed Criss Angel BS on the screens promoting what an incredible phenominon he is than actual magic backing these claims up. I feel bad for Cirque du Soleil as they are a great company and all this show can do for them is tarnish their image. Someone please find me the refund line!

  • Clive

    My wife planned a whole trip around “Believe” for my birthday as I am an avid Criss Angel fan. I was really excited about the show. Two days in advance, we were at another show and Criss was seated in front of us. I got to meet him and get his autograph. He seemed like a genuinely nice person, down to earth. We got dressed up, went to the show; had terrific seats. After 45 minutes I was wondering if the show would ever end. It was awful. There is no story line, the “illusions” (the few that there are) are poorly done and lost in the Cirque “confusion”. The music is just bizarre and I’m a musician. Upon leaving, the crowd was very quiet… no excitement. Did hear several people commenting on how they just wasted $300. I wish I hadn’t gone, not only because of the money. Now I have lost my respect for Criss. Since the Luxor signed Criss and Cirque for 10 years, they will have some major re-work to do.

  • J.C

    I saw the show on November 2nd, 2008. I can’t say it was HORRIBLE, TERRIBLE or, THE WORST SHOW I’VE EVER SEEN. But, I can say that I was some-what disappointed. The show is dark, gory and I would not recommend for children under 8. I saw how some tricks were done, the dancing was a bit off and the acting wasn’t the best either. But, come on, how can you possibly say it was the WORST SHOW EVER? Isn’t that a BIT harsh and a little bit TOO direct? I am the biggest Criss Angel fan out there, I have almost every little bit of Criss Angel merchandise. You name it, I probably have it. My main point of view is that, if you’re going to see MINDFREAK on stage, you’ll be some-what disappointed (The reason I say some-what is because it’s not supposed to be MINDFREAK on stage in the first place.) If you’re going to see a Cirque show, you will be disappointed. HOWEVER, if you are just going to see Criss Angel himself as a fan, you will LOVE IT! To be completely honest, I only went to see Criss Angel himself up there, in front of me, to perform A TRICK (even the typical thumb trick everyone can do.) Even if he just did that, I’d be happy. I went to see him. I saw him, he was awesome, I’m happy. He even smiled and winked at me. Sure, the show could use a little maybe a lot of fixing, however, if you’re just going to see Criss Angel, you will NOT be disappointed. Not everyone can say “Hey! I saw Criss Angel breakdance LIVE in front of my eyes!” So that’s why I think the show is good – only if you’re there to see Criss Angel alone.

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    He is one of the greatest illusionist's I've ever seen.

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    It was an amazing show, I saw it when I was in Vegas.

  • Tex

    Is this the same Troy Swezey who has worked as a parking attendant and trys to perform mentalism magic?  AND we are supposed to listen to him?  I mean he only parks cars for a living and does not perform much himself professionally. 

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