It would be a hasty generalization to suggest that all magicians were freaks, but there’s one magician who probably wouldn’t mind that label: Criss Angel.

That’s because Angel has an unnatural ability to turn magic on its head, creating a mashup of impressive illusions and rock ‘n’ roll energy during Criss Angel MINDFREAK. And just to freak with your mind a little more, Angel sprinkles a bit of his signature macabre stylings throughout many facets of his show. For example, when entering the theater, you walk into an interactive, choose-your-own-adventure-style hallway; one side is placid, with serene music and sound effects that include tweeting birds, but the other side is straight out of a horror movie, replete with fog, sinister clown mannequins and zombified creatures, solidfying the idea that this magic show is anything but normal.

Yet, that’s perfect, because normal isn’t the Criss Angel way. And say what you will about Angel’s tactics, but it’s refreshing to watch a performer do exactly what he wants to do, and it’s tremendously entertaining. He might even say he’s fulfilling his destiny—why else would anyone keep wielding swords, swallowing razor blades and roundhouse kicking adversaries on stage like a magic Chuck Norris into their 50s?

But let’s get down to brass tacks: You’re interested in Criss Angel MINDFREAK because you want to see some mind-blowing magic. Well, you’ll get it, and it’s literally up-close and in your face. Set up against a backdrop of state-of-the-art special effects and a head-banging soundtrack, you’ll see a straitjacket escape where Angel is suspended upside down over the audience, slipping out of the apparatus in under 30 seconds. Later on, Angel wades into the audience to tell a story about his humble upbringing, then performs a series of coin tricks that calls back to his magical roots. And it wouldn’t be an Angel show without a levitation; the rousing finale is a gravity-defying illusion that took nearly two decades to perfect. So, there’s only one question left: Are you ready?

Planet Hollywood Resort, 7 p.m. Wed.-Sun. (dark Dec. 25); additional 9:30 p.m. show Dec. 28-29, starting at $69 plus tax and fee, 12+. 702.777.2782



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