Despite the fact that both partners have great appeal on their own, the partnership of a Long Island Goth and a Montreal sophisticate that was unveiled at the Luxor Hotel on Halloween night is going to need a lot of work if it's to emerge as the successful union that everyone hoped for.
The show is called Criss Angel BeLIEve and it combines the wildly popular illusionist with the even more beloved Cirque du Soleil, marking the sixth show that Cirque has on display in Sin City, with the longest running one, Mystere, about to celebrate its 15th anniversary next month.
But ever since BeLIEve started previews in September and postponed its opening, the word on the Strip was that the show was in trouble.
A lot of changes have supposedly been made to it in the interim and what's finally onstage is certainly not a disgrace.
In fact, large sections of it work very well, redeeming Guy Laliberté's initial impulse to match up Criss Angel with Cirque. But there are problems still to be solved.
It all begins almost as if Angel was doing one of his typical shows, only in a Cirque setting. Then a near-death experience during one of the illusions sends Angel into a dark fantasyland, kind of like The Wizard of Oz with Alice Cooper replacing Judy Garland.
Surrealistic rabbits run rampant, Angel levitates and director Serge Denoncourt weaves visual magic within a world of lush red velvet drapes and spectral black presences.
By the time we reach a nightmarish wedding sequence where two sides of femininity fight for possession of Angel and he literally rips himself in half, it's all working in a way that fulfills whatever dreams you may have had for the show.
It's just that it takes a long while to get there.
Part of the trouble is that Angel loves to talk to his fans; it's part of his charm. But Cirque shows are usually wordless. This causes a curious disconnect off the very top that we never really recover from.
Angel is all openness, sharing his thoughts and feelings freely; Cirque is about leaving things opaque and making us stare with added intensity to discover their true nature.
This isn't to say that either party is really at fault here. Some of the illusions that Angel comes up with are indeed spectacular and they're given added resonance by being part of the ebony-hued fable that Cirque is spinning.
And a lot of the images Denoncourt has designed for the surrounding performers are breathtaking in their depth. It's just that they don't always go together.
Many of the newspaper critics have been unduly harsh to the show, almost as if they were taking out a personal vendetta against Angel for his past successes, or on Cirque for working with an established star. The public doesn't seem to care about that, however, and the advance sales are among the strongest in Cirque's Vegas history.
There is also a history of Cirque shows that stumbled when they first opened (like Zumanity) righting themselves after a few months in front of an audience.
One feels that will be the destiny of BeLIEve. Angel is too canny a showman and the Cirque team too skilful to leave something up that doesn't dazzle. My advice is to wait and let the Angel fans fill the theatre while the show works out its problems. Then go see it.When BeLIEve works, even now, it's impressive enough that you wait in anticipation for it to reach its final form.