I took the time to write reviews on Tripadvisor about the hotels we stayed at in Las Vegas last week, since one was godawful and overpriced (The Sunset Station in Henderson), and another was a bargain and loads of fun to stay in (the Luxor.)
But I couldn’t write about the show we saw, because (as of now) it’s only a temporary attraction, and Tripadvisor won’t list those. But, hey, I have my own blog, so I’ll review it here!
Magician Criss Angel was playing at the Luxor, and we thought it might be fun to see him live. To see if we could get half-price tickets for the show, we went out to the Strip to see what might be available. But before we got there, we were drawn in to the Houdini Magic Shop at the MGM Grand. One of the staff magician showed us a few tricks, and we asked him what he might have heard about the Criss Angel show. As politely as he could, he let us know word was out that it really sucks. For one thing, a large portion of the show is simply videos of Criss Angel performing, rather than him actually doing it. If we wanted to see him on TV, we can do that at home for free! (As it turns out, the Yelp reviews of the show are humorously scathing.)
So we asked what magic shows are out there which are good. Penn & Teller are great, but we’ve seen them once already, and were looking for something new. David Copperfield was getting mixed reviews, and he’s reported also making the audience watch old videos instead of putting on a live show. The Houdini Magic magician asked if we like close-up magic. Do we ever! He suggested we see the Vegas Magic Theatre at the Gold Coast Casino, where he’d be doing close-up magic for an hour before the show itself started, and tickets were only $15 at the door. It was an easy choice: for the price of a single ticket to one of the shows we had considered, the whole family could see the show together.
We arrived a little late, because as it’s easy to do, we underestimated the distance between casinos. But we were still in time to see some of the close-up magic, which was awesome. Our magician twisted a fork into odd positions, while audience members couldn’t bend it at all. Another magician encased Peter’s cell phone into an inflated balloon, and we never quite figured out how he did it.
The stage performance featured 3 acts with an encore. The first act was a whimsical, fun, and original performance by Trigg Watson, the same magician who’d given Peter a balloon case for his phone. Next we saw Matt Marcy, who was big on audience participation which resulted in Peter having his first time on stage with a magician. Marcy had a funny fake tech support call in the middle of his act, and magically made sure we all knew his website, which has its own jingle I can’t forget. After that, we saw juggler Michael Goudeau who opened by juggling…bean bags. Having seen his juggling club attempt similar stunts, Neil knew how hard it is. Goudeau had the, um, most exciting act of all. As he weebled and wobbled on the edge of the tiny stage atop at 6-foot-unicycle, he juggled flaming pins close to the fabric curtains above. I desperately, desperately hoped he wouldn’t lose his balance or veer off the lip of the stage and flame the theatre. He didn’t, but I think we were all holding our collective breath. Then he did something which made me really glad we hadn’t gotten seats in the front. The show ended with an encore performance by Matt Marcy.
The whole thing was MC’d by the Ben Stone, who is the only regular part of the show, since the performers change each week. Here is a picture of him from Vegas News:
In between the acts, Stone belted out two songs, and did a magic trick himself. He was charming enough, but I can’t quite figure out what bugged me about him. I think it’s that he wore too much make-up for such an intimate venue, so he looked more like an elf than a human. It may have been deliberate to bring up the sense of a cabaret, but this wasn’t that kind of a show. The context here, at least to my American mind, was more like vaudeville or a classic variety show. After all, besides the billed magic, the show included Stone’s singing, the juggler, and an actor portraying an exasperated stage hand.
Well, I’m really glad we caught this show rather than one of the big acts. The close up magic was a real treat, and there wasn’t a single boring or dull moment the entire time. If I lived in Las Vegas, I might even go back and see the new acts another week. Unfortunately, the show is scheduled to end its run in March.