Guarantee a magical dinner to remember by dining infront of an illusionist at Festival City
Festival Centre is officially where the magic happens in Dubai – well, until August 14 at least. The House of Illusions Dinner Show invites you to enjoy a three-course meal while being entertained by illusionist Van Buren, who says the event offers a rare opportunity to see magic at work from close quarters.
The 90-minute show is performed in the special ‘Spiegel Tent’ on Festival Centre’s Marina Terrace, which is based on the traditional theatrical venues of ’20s Europe. In fact, the whole shebang smacks of ‘old-fashioned’. The illusions are largely pulled off with aplomb, but it’s the sort of stuff we were marvelling at 20 years ago and have seen a thousand times since – for example, a glamorous assistant is tied up in a sack and locked in a box, and by the end of the trick she’s free and Van Buren has replaced her. It’s done well, but it’s not new. Plus we could totally see the board his other assistant was lying on when supposedly ‘levitating’.
But this is a family show and, while we might all be a bit jaded, it’s perfect for the kids in the audience who seem genuinely astounded by what’s happening before their very eyes. Some lucky little ones are even invited on stage to help the evening’s rather exciting-sounding host, Romany, Diva of Mystery, perform a few tricks. The food’s not bad (simple staples including spaghetti bolognaise for the kids and prawn salad and Moroccan-style chicken for the grown-ups), and perhaps most entertaining of all is Van Buren’s fake ponytail. So there’s plenty to keep you occupied while the kiddies do the marvelling.
Tickets range from Dhs100-275. Tuesday-Friday at 6pm and 9pm, Saturdays at 3pm and 6pm until August 14. All ages welcome. Buy from the box office on the ground floor at Festival Centre (next to Paris Gallery). Call 04 208 5271 for more information.
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Ashley Chu Jul 17, 2009 09:52 am
I thoroughly enjoyed the show & my family were amazed by Van Burens illusions, the reviewer obviously was biased or having a bad day, everybody around me in the show had a fantastic time. Didnt Van Buren take the board away & put it onto the floor when he floated the lady, if i remember right. He entertained us, we marvelled at the illusions now, not 20 years ago. I would recomend anyone to see this show & decide for themselves on the show. I will be going back to see it again. The card magician was great, Romany was lovelly.
Ashley Chu Jul 13, 2009 10:55 am
Obviously the reviewer saw a different one to what i saw. I took my family to see the show & loved it. The Van Buren illusions were completely baffling, well performed & all magic that i have never seen before. It was amazing seeing magic so close, all felt very modern even in the old style tent. I havent seen a show like this a "thousand times since" obviously the reviewer must have been to see a lot of magic shows to be able to say this & as for marvelling at it 20 years ago, well everybody sitting around me marvelled at it there & then. Everybody loved the show! its a great show for all of the family & i was amazed. I would suggest that Time Out starts employing less biased & synical reviewers that recognise the reaction of everybody around them when watching a show.
Sam Henderson Jul 11, 2009 12:03 pm
Well what a bleak review. I've seen the show a couple of times and all I have to say is that the reviewer has completely missunderstood the whole point of it.
I'm quite into magic myself so I'm very familiar with the Van Buren name. As for the tricks being "nothing new", so what? Mr Van Buren is performing illusions that were created and built by his parents and himself. The only reason ANYONE may have seen these things before is because they were directly copied from the Van Burens.
As for the box trick that was mentioned in the above review, it's unique in the way it is performed. It's the only one of its kind that can and is completely examined right there on stage. Two spectators are invited up to inspect the box and all the props used. One spectator then stands behind the box for the duration of the trick. So the illusion which usually cannot be examined or perfromed surrounded, now can be and so becomes a miracle.
As for the levitation... The reviewer writes that she is obviously on a board when she is apparently levitating. I've heard that the smarter someone is, the more easily they are fooled and this is a prime example. When I saw the levitation, I also saw the board, this is enough for someone lacking in intelligence to feel like they've figured out the trick... when I saw the board, my next thought was... how on earth is the board floating?! - I've looked hard and I can't see any wires.
As for Van Buren's "fake" ponytail... Firstly, it's not fake and secondly I'm not sure how relevent that is to a review of the show.
All in all, I loved the show and am glad to be able to go and watch a full scale illusion act for just 150 aed. That and I'm glad to have a 3rd option for something to do in Dubai. Now it goes: Shopping, Clubbing, Magic Show.