RATING
star
star

(Out of Five)

REVIEW

EFX at MGM Grand
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EFX is a perfect example of a show where its ambition is its undoing. I have a feeling that no matter how well acted, directed, or produced, EFX would always be buried under the 40 million spent on the theater and special effects. Not that it isn't entertaining in a special effects kind of way, but it still always leaves me cold.

EFX first opened with Michael Crawford (who happens to be my personal favorite) as the "Master of Time" who takes the audience on a journey through history and the future while taking on roles such as Houdini, H.G. Wells, P.T. Barnum... well you get the picture. Crawford, who has enough stage presence to carry even the most bloated productions, was nothing more than a figurine waiting to be ground up in the mechanations of hydrolics and flash powder. (The production boasts twice as many stage-hands as performers - a pretty clear indication of where EFX's priorities lie!)

Shortly after opening, EFX finally got the best of Crawford, and he had to leave with an injured hip. His replacement, David Cassidy, reworked much of the musical numbers and infused a bit more energy into the production. Now Cassidy's been replaced by dancer Tommy Tune, who in my opinion is the weakest of the three - especially vocally. He has added some dull and sometimes bizarre dance numbers that serve only to kill time.

So what about the show? It's a grand pagent, with thunderous busic, huge dance numbers, and battles betwen giant fire-breathing dragons. When the dancers are all on stage as an ensemble, the show really starts to build an energy that nearly fills the massive theater and draws in the audience. But it's not long before the big dance number ends, and the excitement is replaced by indifference. This happens frequently throughout the night as the long and slow stage effects suck the life from the rest of the show.

One thing that does work is the costuming. Masks and colorful blends of fabric and styles add a pleasant visual mix throughout the show, and the music is enjoyable if not all that memorable. If you really want a massive epic of fog machines, multi-million dollar sets and (please, not again!) dragons, then spend a few more bucks and go see Seigfreid and Roy - it's more entertaining.

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