Review Criss Angel: Mindfreak March 27,2002
I had heard some interesting things about Criss Angel: Mindfreak, some of it from Tony Spina, proprietor of Tannens magic shop. Tony remembered Criss as an attendee at the Tannens Magic Camp and said he had a very imaginative illusion show in a very small space. He was correct.
My wife had read a positive review of the show in New York Magazine, so we went last evening, March 27th. The show is in the basement of the WWF (thats World Wrestling Federation for those of you who, like me, dont watch this particular form of entertainment). This is a tiny, low-ceilinged, dark space and one descends a staircase lit with black lights and enters a theater with about 15 tables, seating eight per table, with assorted other seats around the theater. Drink service is available. A hooded figure wearing a strange, realistic mask mimes a welcome while clanging his metallic cane on the floor. Another masked figure, female, writhes and dances on the small raised stage. Criss makes his appearance, suitably imposing with very long, dark hair and a leather costume. He does some excellent dove productions, a Snowstorm in China, a DeKolta Chair vanish of the woman, a small (and only somewhat convincing) version of the signed card through glass.
Criss then proceeds to construct a giant, and I do mean giant, robot from pieces brought to him by several assistants. The robot threatens Criss and chases him through the audience, finally trapping him in a straitjacket. He is suspended upside down for the escape. But Criss is then put in a sack and encased in a large crate. The masked female stands atop the crate and, amidst CO2 smoke but no other covers, a Substitution Trunk effect is performed, and very well done it is. Then there is a tussle with the robot, another chase, and when Criss seems trapped behind a small curtain, the curtain is swept aside to reveal the masked assistant while Criss emerges victorious from the robot. He also performs the Razor Blades, a Needle Through Arm and other effects.
Finally, the lights, which were already dim, get positively 20 watt and fluorescent, as Criss brings a volunteer on stage, the five assistants surround her, and they back away whereupon we see the spectator suspended. The stage is a thrust affair, with the closest audience members just inches away, and Criss and the assistant wave their arms over the young woman and thrust candles beneath her to show the lack of support. Then an enormous curtain is spread all around the stage so the de-suspension can occur, and Criss exits, to greet audience members and shake their hands as they leave the theater.
The show lasts about 75 minutes and Criss is doing 10 per week! The tickets are a bit pricey, in my opinion, but it is a good show. Criss Angel is listed as Creator, Producer and Director, and he wrote and performs all the music (with someone named Klayton).
You can check it all out at www.CrissAngel.com. I am looking forward to seeing more from this creative, young lad.
[ March 28, 2002: Message edited by: Matthew Field ]