The arrival of Dubai’s first permanent theatre performance, La Perle, has edged ever closer with an increasing level of hype. The aqua-theatre is due to open on Thursday August 31 in Al Habtoor City, and before its grand unveiling Time Out Dubai got a preview of what is being marketed as “Dubai’s best-kept secret”.
“Dubai, for me, is the laboratory of the future,” says director Franco Dragone, the critically acclaimed live theatre entertainment specialist who has been working closely with Mohammed Al Habtoor, vice-chairman and CEO of Al Habtoor Group. Dragone spoke ahead of the show’s preview performance, The Laboratory Session, a 20-minute first look into a new world created in Dubai’s first-ever purpose-built theatre.
Quite frankly, the show is as spectacular as it is mesmerising. It assaults the senses with surround sound, a high-definition screen that spans the height of the theatre, huge projections that transform the entire 1,300-capacity arena, lasers and a monsoon’s-worth of rainfall. Coupled with incredible acrobatics, it is a spectacle to behold and incredible to watch.
La Perle is being described as an aqua-theatre – an immersive experience where audience seating extends just 14 rows back, to keep every guest as close to the action as possible.
There are 2.7 million litres of water used for each performance, which falls from the ceiling and sides of the theatre. There’s an arena floor that fills up in various scenes, and a central pool used innovatively throughout the show – including the bafflingly-clever combination of dry ice and lighting to give the show floor the appearance of a swirling galaxy.
There’s a significant element of fantasy, with the focal character of the preview ever-present through scenes depicting a quick-fire history of Earth, a nigh-on cataclysmic extinction event followed by the evolution of life as we know it today, the rise of metropolises, and the expansion into space.
A young lady in a white dress and distinctive red headscarf, the main character stumbles around this rapidly evolving world, followed by the ascension to the aforementioned intergalactic scene, and the descent into an almost cartoon-esque monochromatic kingdom (complete with a giant crown overhanging the arena) which reminds us of The Playing Cards from Alice in Wonderland.
There are huge winches that mobilise props, constructs and performers, and spectacular acrobatics from the 65 international performers flown in from all corners of the globe for the show.
This is a brilliant coming together of breathtaking visuals, spectacular, heart-stopping acrobatic performances, abstract concepts and a wholly-immersive use of water. And we wished it never had to stop.
We guarantee you we’ll be there on opening night, close enough to feel the water.
You should be too.
Dhs400. From Thu Aug 31, Tue-Fri, 7pm and 9.30pm; Sat, 4pm and 7pm. La Perle, Al Habtoor City, Sheikh Zayed Road, www.laperle.com (04 437 0123).
Click here to book your tickets to La Perle, and by using this link (only from Time Out Dubai), you can get a free upgrade from silver to gold seating, saving you Dhs200.