If you're looking for summer day trips and entertainment options that don't involve sand or a sweaty trail lined with poison ivy, you could do a lot worse than Goodspeed Opera House's "La Cage Aux Folles" or some of the area music clubs and larger venues, not to mention Hamden's Friday night series of concerts that's free and typically sastisfying.
But for big-time Las Vegas-style wows, it's impossible to beat Criss Angel's new touring show "The Supernaturalists," which recently made its debut at Foxwoods Resort Casino's Fox Theater. Angel put this whole thing together (he's a bit of an empire builder, say colleagues) and is only in the show via taped segments and a live video feed at one point from his Vegas base, where he stars nightly in a glitzy show at the Luxor.
For this show, which is at Foxwoods through July 23, Angel (left) and Foxwoods officials have been promising to revolutionize the magic ensemble experience with flash, fun, thrills, top illusions and the latest technology.
Based on Thursday's packed-house show at Foxwoods, this group is well on its way to a hit touring show. I don't have enough experience with live magic ensembles to know if it's revolutionary, but it was a fun time for ages 8 and up (some of the flash and bang of special effects could be too intense for younger kids).
Handling the larger tricks is "The Illusionist" Landon Swank (above center), an affable chap lacking the edgy appeal of Long Islander Angel but capable nonetheless. Providing the mind-blowing aspect is "The Mentalist" Banachek (South Africa, above right)), whose experience on stage shows.
Easy-on-the-eyes Krystyn (U.S., above left) has a razor blade eating act that's tough to watch; “The Escape Artist” Spencer Horsman (U.S.) does a heart-pounding Houdini escape from a container of water, “The Dog Conjuror” Johnny Dominguez (Columbia) provides a jolt of fun and delight with a well-conceived segment, “The Joker” The Great Maestro (Mexico) and his brassy assistant provide the yuks at various points,, and “The Joker” FiFi (U.S.V.I.), “The Manipulator” Stefan Vanel (France) and"The Street Magician" Adrian Vega (Spain) also make solid contributions.
Angel's stated aim of making the show move with tech and the ensemble's collaborations is basically true, and it pays dividends especially during a few segments to send the show into a higher gear.
A couple of three technical glitches (a camera-wielding showgirl who didn't know how to correct the focus on her cam for the overhead screen) and an audio dropout as Angel talked on tape about the Houdini trick) didn't manage to ruin the night for this happy crowd.
At $35 plus for tickets and good word-of-mouth, "The Supernaturalists" should keep packing them in for Foxwoods, which with this special engagement has moved beyond the tired "Legends" shows it has had for several summers.