This is a positive review?
"their Joe Pesci-voiced rockstar-y Goth-dripping New Yaawk-bred cult hero"
"a few stock Copperfield-esque audience participation tricks"
"the usual saw-in-half illusion, which could be so wonderful as updated to feature dripping tendrils of intestines hanging from Angels two wriggling halves as though it were from some original movie on the Sci-Fi Channel, was ruined by the fact that the body parts were separated and spun around before the chainsaw ever hit the box"
" all fairly standard illusions."
" the overall feeling remains that well this show will be absolute dynamite a few months from now when it cures and ages and grows into something even more individually spectacular."
(in other words, it sucks now.)
"One of the things still needed in the fine tuning of Believe is coaching for Angel himself, a guy whos obviously a major, major player as a showman but not yet someone who has found his sea-legs as an actor."
(apparently someone doesn't know that showmanship and acting go hand in hand. I think the word he meant to use was 'marketeer.')
"when the magician claims Believes obviously well rehearsed illusions are spontaneous and unplanned, one cant buy it for a second."
"Angel seems to be a duck out of water. His heavily Lon-gah Island-tinged accent becomes even more strident, coming off not unlike classic Tony Curtis pointing out Yondah lies da castle of my fadda as it lingers and echoes smackdab in middle of the gossamer Victorian filigree motif that weaves throughout the show."
The review is predicated on the assumption that if people saw Believe without preconceptions or expectations they would think it was great.
I expected a Las Vegas show to be good. Had I gone in without that expectation, I am sure my experience would have been profoundly different.
The one moment of magic that has received any critical acclaim is the dove act. Of course, it's basically exposure of the most literal kind as he removes each part of the costume (donned for this particular act) once the birds have been produced from that area.
There were exactly three moments in the show of any interest.
1) the dove flight/projection combination at the end of the aforementioned routine
2) the moment the mean lady jumps out at the audience via the projection
3) the poppies floating to the stage during the spanish web routine.
as to the magic - like his tv series - the camera tricks were still the best stuff.
The night I saw it (one of the nights Criss claimed on Larry Kind to be over 100% sold out), we were the only people in our 9th row seats.
The only people who stood to applaud at the beginning were the girls paid to hand Criss the banner.
At one point he actually called us a "bunch of [censored]" and demanded we applaud more.
Later, he even threatened not to perform his closing effect unless we maintained applause at the level befitting his ego.
The audience seemed ok with leaving early - many walking out before the final bows had even begun.
There were two or three 40 something women in various swaths of spandex and a handful of still sad looking 15 year olds who were standing and applauding.
Most people just left silently, eyes to the ground, feeling dirty. I have been to funerals that had happier processions.
It remains, quite possibly, one of the worst theatrical experiences I have had the misfortune to witness.