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.