Lifestyle Review: La Perle by Dragone

Is Dubai's most anticipated show all that it's cracked up to be?
ByEllen KerryThursday , 28 September 2017
Lifestyle Review: La Perle by Dragone

Before we even stepped into the custom-built theatre we had heard whispers of amazement. The promise of witnessing one of the most incredible shows on Earth. And also that it is bonkers. So we headed to La Perle Theatre in Al Habtoor City in trepidation. Because there is nothing worse than an event or show being over-sold only for you to find out it’s mediocre. Luckily for us (and La Perle) there is absolutely no way anyone could label this eye-boggler boring. The man behind the show is Franco Dragone, an Italian-Belgian theatre director who worked with Cirque du Soleil and all-round legend Céline Dion.

First things first. The performers are ripped. Like, the buffest, strongest people we have ever seen. The whole vibe is very Luc Besson’s Fifth Element. Lots of steampunk metal creations and futuristic, space-punk costumes.

The whole stage and surrounding area is interactive, moving and changing with the cast. The floor and stall walls all around are covered in tiny screens that change according to the mood and décor of the scene. At one point a red carpet rolls out across the main stage floor. Not real, of course, but the effect is staggering.

Hidden high up in the ceiling are countless props that drop down for the performers to use throughout the show. Performers fly through the air, narrowly avoiding collision with the kind of skill only a true professional could muster. There are no harnesses, so our stress levels remain off the charts throughout. When one male performer is hoisted high into the air using only his bodily strength and then dropped from the highest point into a small pool, we think we might pass out. 

We have to talk about the water element of the show. Most of the action takes place in and around a small pool in the centre
of the stage. Two huge waterfalls (for real) appear and cascade down the sides of the stalls. At one point, the pool overflows, covering the whole stage in inches of water, which the dancers then crash around in.

Because the entire theatre evolves with the story, we can’t help but feel completely immersed in what’s happening. Not that
we actually know. The whole story is nuts, wild and tricky to understand, which might not be your cup of tea. But don’t let minor details like a plot or storyline bog you down! The wonderful thing about true creative art like this is that it is completely open to interpretation. Take from it what you will and just enjoy it. Remember going to the circus as a child and being completely wowed and ba led by what your eyes were seeing? That’s exactly how we felt watching La Perle. How? Why? And, seriously, HOW?

One of the most gobsmacking moments of the 90-minute performance involved five motorcyclists inside a metal sphere in the sky. We squealed, yelped and gasped. Another major highlight is when what we can only describe as a giant metal hamster wheel drops down and a man deftly climbs on. He whizzes around, leaping mid-air, as the contraption spins speedily high up in the air. It’s terrifying and thrilling.

The Chinese dragon was also incredible. Where a pantomime donkey will lumber comically around the stage, this dragon, operated by two very talented performers, strutted beautifully around the arena before executing a jumping trick that left us simply dumbstruck. Is there anything we didn’t like? Well, not really. Although the people sitting behind us noisily eating pungent cheesy nachos was less than ideal. It’s a true spectacular, with some of the most incredible performers in the world, and we feel very lucky that Dubai will be their home for the foreseeable future.

INFO: From Dhs400 per person, 260 Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, 04 437 0001, 

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