Las Vegas News, Entertainment, Gambling and Facts at Vegas eNews header image 2

Criss Angel’s Cirque Show Receives Bad Reviews

August 8th, 2009 · 11 Comments

Criss Angel's Cirque Du Soleil Show Bombs

Criss Angel's Las Vegas Cirque Du Soleil Show "Believe" Bombs

Columnist Doug Elfman, from The Las Vegas Review Journal reports that Criss Angel fans flew in from as far away as London to see his new Cirque du Soleil show Believe at the Luxor on Friday. The verdict by many? Creatively, “Believe” is a possibly unsalvageable “waste of time” and a “dead end” that literally bored some audience members to sleep.

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!”

People streamed out of the theater on Saturday screaming about how poor it was. A group of six women was led by a woman yelling furiously, demanding their money back. “Dude, it’s a train wreck,” Ranger said. On a scale of 1 to 10, he declared “Believe” a zero.

Note: this post was originally made a month ago, but wanted to bring attention to the comments being made in response to this post. If you have a story about your experience at Criss Angel’s Cirque Show, please share it with us. The critics have spoken. This show needs to come to it’s end. People are getting ripped off and aren’t afraid to say it.

I didn’t see the show, which stars the TV illusionist in a Cirque performance, because I wanted to purely chronicle fan reaction to one of the most anticipated new shows on the Strip in some time, a show that is said to have cost in the ballpark of $85 million.

So I interviewed more than a dozen people after Friday’s and Saturday’s shows, and I listened to groups chat after they exited the theater. They weren’t just disappointed. Some were enraged.

Walter Huertas lives in Las Vegas and has seen every Cirque show here. On a scale of 1 to 10, he gave it a 1. He coaxed a friend to go. They left 20 minutes before the end of Friday’s debut.

“There’s no magic in it,” Huertas said.

Huertas knows Angel for his “antics” and death-defying stunts from his “Mindfreak” show on A&E. But he said “Believe” has no compelling storyline, and it’s more about dancing and unimpressive tricks, like pulling doves from a sleeve.

“It’s something that should be in a variety show,” he said. “It’s about a bunch of ‘rabbits’ dancing around in costume.”

Huertas equated the quality of “Believe” to that of Mandalay Bay’s disastrous old “Storm” show. If you ever saw “Storm,” you realize how dismal that comparison is.

Two other Angel fans, Steve Moffett and Jordan Wilson, flew in from London for Friday’s debut.

“We were hysterical about coming. We came. It was a waste of time,” Wilson said. “The magic’s not even magic.”

They complained they could see wires and stage holes used in unconvincing acts.

“Belief was not suspended once,” said Moffett, who called the show a “dead end.” “They fake an accident at the beginning, and it sets the tone of the rest of the show — fake.”

“David Copperfield is better, and he’s a boring old” guy, Moffett said.

Wilson said it should be called “Criss Angel — Don’t Believe.”

Moffett and Wilson walked out before the ending, because Angel started singing the finale, a cover of his “Mindfreak” TV theme song.

“He broke into song. I said, ‘He’s singing. Now we’re leaving,’” Wilson said.

They thought he was lip-syncing. Ranger did, too: “I’m a musician. It’s lip-syncing. The audio wasn’t matching the video.”

On a scale of 1 to 10, Moffett gave it a 4; Wilson a 3.

Like most people I interviewed, they thought Cirque’s background elements were great. Wilson said the red-motif set design is “phenomenal,” costumes are “good,” the dancers are fine, and the proscenium arches are “elegant.”

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.”

There are caveats. Some planned elements weren’t ready by Friday. And all Vegas shows get tweaked in the months after they open.

A few theatergoers said “Believe” doesn’t appear to be salvageable to them, though. Others said it might be OK if changed in coming months. Saum wasn’t so sure.

“We understand there are kinks to work out. But this is about more than kinks,” Saum said.

Saum and Ranger were in the cheap seats, in the back, and even from there they could see through illusionlike performances.

“Usually in a Cirque show, you don’t see wires. You see the wires all the time,” Saum said.

Julie Schmidt went to see Friday’s show with her daughter, Caitlin, and with Joe Sposato. All three of the Coloradoans deemed it a 4 or 5 out of 10. That’s the highest praise I heard.

“The guy next to me was sound asleep,” Julie Schmidt said.

She said “Believe” is “artistic and creative,” “but it was like there were five shows, and they couldn’t decide which one to do.”

The five subshows were, she said: Cirque performances; good dancers; poor magic; “him off doing something else behind the scenes”; and the go-nowhere storyline.

“You can see the openings on the floor” for the illusion-esque acts, Julie complained.

“The magic he did do was basic,” Sposato said.

“I thought it was going to be more like his show” on TV, Caitlin said.

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.

But Gail said the show is salvageable if the magic acts are perfected.

And Ranger was glad about one thing. After spending $55 for cheap seats — tickets are discounted by 25 percent during these first run of “ticketed previews” — he was given a free drink coupon.

“The best thing was getting this free drink coupon – the worst $55 Bud Light I’ll ever have.”


Tags: Las Vegas Entertainment · Las Vegas News · Las Vegas Shows

11 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Anonymous // Nov 21, 2008 at 4:15 pm

    Fans should remember it’s a combination of Mindfreak and Cirque. They shouldn’t go to the show expecting one or the other. I would have an open mind, because Criss also co-wrote the show, so you know it’s coming from his heart. I work with Cirque and for some backstage footage check this out…

  • 2 LORI DROZD // Nov 22, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    I “BELIEVE” I just Witnessed the worst show ever.

    I ” BELIEVE” I just witnessed the most pathetic attempt at magic ever.

    I “BELIEVE” I just got screwed.

    I give this show a -10 out of ten. I fell asleep during it. I like to find good in everything but the only thing good about this show was the end. When he disappeared. The house was full and the only clapping was by a handfull of people with sympathy claps!!!!!

  • 3 Pam // Nov 23, 2008 at 11:53 pm

    !!!!!!!!!! DO NOT WATCH THIS SHOW !!!!!!!!!!

    I love Chris Angel, his show is terrific, he’s got a great personality and despite MANY bad reviews and people telling me “don’t waste your money” I went anyways.
    Walking into the show I had very LOW expectations (based on what people told me) and as I sat down for the first 5 minutes of the show, I tried to tell myself that it wont be that bad and that I’ll be able to find some good in it, I tried…but accomplished nothing.
    I am SO upset with Chris, he sold himself out. I understand it was a Cirque show, but don’t start the show off with examples all of your death defying stunts that you’ve done on tv and then after 20 minutes of dancing around with rabbits in costume, pull a bird out of your sleeve!
    It was a waste of time and money.
    Some people left the show early, if was sitting in an isle seat I would have done the same.
    Shame on Chris, he wont last 10 years there! The respect I had for him as a magician is lost.

  • 4 KEITH // Jan 6, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    Hey everyone just got back from vegas where part of our trip was to see Believe. All four of us were so pumped to see the show, but, we all came out of the show very disappointed. The magic was so obvious with the exception of 2 tricks. We wanted to be blown away but it just reinforced in our minds that his tv series is nothing but a bunch of camera tricks and editing. Criss if u read this u need to reinvent the show because you are going to lose alot of fans. Next time we all agree to go to Copperfield. Sorry Criss but when you hype yourself up so much you better deliver, and for the money we paid I would like a refund. I give the show a 3/10. DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY PEOPLE!!!!!

  • 5 Bill // Jan 22, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    This show IS A HUGE DESASTER!!! IT IS JUST HORRIBLE!!! Been to Vegas 10 times and seen ALL shows on the strip, I really mean ALL SHOWS! Among them: “Mamma-Mia”, “O”, “KA”, “La Reve”, “Zumanity”, “Beatles”, “Phantom of the Opera”, “Jubily” and some more not as high-end, but stil pretty good. THIS one is just a JOKE!!! Do not waste your money and time! This show has taken a couple of good ideas from the artist Salvador Dali (show used long-legged rabbits instead of the elephants in Dali’s paintings); dancing is not the best, but still very nice. As to the “magic” – there was none. Tricks we saw would be absolutely loved by my 7 years old daughter, but my 12 year old son would definitely try to throw something at so called “magician”. People were leaving in the middle of the show! I remember after watching show “KA” I was so amazed that I asked people at the booth “Did we pay enough?” The only question I had after this show is how do I get my money back for the crap I just have seen!!! DO NO GET CONNED!!!! DO NOT GO THERE!!!

  • 6 brian // Mar 2, 2009 at 7:15 pm

    Terrible in every way! We seen it on the opening night and nothing but disappointment all the way. We had respect for him from his Mindfreak TV show but lost all respect for him from his low class, magic tricks 101, and non talented singing. cmon, how can cirque possible support this terrible show and put their name and reputation with with this show? Save you money and put it towards anything but this show!

  • 7 Liz // Apr 13, 2009 at 8:37 am

    VERY dissapointed.
    Not worth the money.. any money.

    You can actually see the tricks before they happend. It is NOT a Magic show and is NOT a Circus.. is something that has no beggining and NO end.

    It is a shame that Cirque Du Soleil would put his name into this production.

    He is burning his image for future projects.. I would love my money back!!!!

  • 8 Annette // Apr 18, 2009 at 6:59 pm

    Just saw this show on April 9th and I have commented on everything possible to let people know.DON’T WAIST YOUR MONEY AND SEE THIS SHOW IT SUCKS I can’t believe I paid so much to see this show what a dissapointment. I was ripped off. It was so amateur that you could see all the ropes and the trap doors. I can’t believe Cirque Du Soleil with all these bad reviews haven’t canceled the show. I know sooner or later this show is going to crash. It sucks as I used to like Criss Angel. I thought he was better than David Copperfield by far but after seeing this preformance not a chance…

  • 9 Christy // May 24, 2009 at 7:37 am

    I went twice now and seen the show and Loved it even my Husband who is not much of a fan like me enjoyed it the 2nd time as well its a Stage show and you all have to remember he did not want it to be just a magic show. And If the show is doing so bad why is still one of the Top 10 shows in vegas even with the recession. Ive also talked to other people who loved the show as well. Thanks

  • 10 Laurie & Gail // Dec 31, 2009 at 7:31 pm

    Unfortunately I have to agree with all of the comments above. WE ahve followed his show Mindfreak on TV and couldnt wait to see him in Novemebr 2008 just after it opened.
    WE were very disappointed and to be quite honest haven’t evened bothered to watch his TV show when we got back to Australia.
    I hope he gets his act together and makes it HIS SHOW and we will gladly come back and see him again. Dont give up Chris.

    Laurie & Gail B. – Gold Coast Australia.

  • 11 Nick Hardie // Oct 6, 2010 at 6:12 pm

    Worst show I ever saw. we go to Vegas each year and this has to be the pits. Don’t waste your money

Leave a Comment