Is La Perle “the future of live entertainment”?

Dubai is getting its first more-or-less permanent live entertainment show in the shape of La Perle at Al Habtoor City on the Dubai Water Canal. It opens on 31 August.

Dragone adjusts an eyebrow for the camera

Apparently “inspired by the spirit of Dubai”, La Perle is produced by spectacle specialist Franco Dragone. He was responsible for directing most of Cirque du Soleil’s top shows between 1985 to 1998, and his more recent productions include the innovative A New Day … for Celine Dion’s residency at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas in 2003; the opening ceremony show for the 2010 South American Games in Medellín; two water-based spectaculars – Le Rêve at the Wynn Las Vegas (features 90 performers, most of them scuba-qualified) and 2010’s The House of Dancing Water in Macau (bills itself as the world’s largest permanent water-based show).

He also did the impressive Story of a Fort, Legacy of a Nation centrepiece event for the 2013 Qasr Al Hosn Festival in Abu Dhabi, modern acrobatics and state-of-the-art technology merged with traditional Emirati dance and music.

Sounds good. For La Perle we’re promised “a breathtaking fusion of immersive artistic performances, imagery and technology … Combining tradition and innovation, La Perle is influenced by Dubai’s rich culture and history, vibrant present and aspirational future, encapsulating the essence of Dubai, which is brought to life by awe-inspiring stunts and special effects that will leave viewers speechless”. Phew.

There are just 14 rows of seats in the state-of-the-art ‘aqua theatre’ which wraps 270 degrees around the stage and its 2.7m litre ‘aqua stage’ to provide 1,300 visitors with “a memorable and immersive experience”. The renders certainly look impressive, but then any render that doesn’t is not doing its job.

Craig Hartenstine, the show’s executive producer, declared “with all certainty” that “each person who comes to La Perle will be witnessing a live entertainment performance like they have never seen before”. It had better be all of that – tickets start from AED 400.

There will be more than 65 performers doing the show twice nightly, five days a week. Performances run Tuesday to Friday at 7pm and 9.30pm, Saturday 4pm and 7pm. It opens on 31 August but tickets are available now on the website.

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