It is the Cirque du Suleil of Dubai but with a lot more water. The show “La Perle” is a crazy indoor rainfall deluge with acrobats, singers, a gigantic puppet, a deep dive pool and even motorcycle stunt drivers. “La Perle” recently opened in a specially built and dedicated theater adjacent to the W Hotel in Dubai, and the show is a doozy. Unimaginable costs were incurred to allow a full indoor rainstorm, multiple waterfalls onto the stage and a set which fills up with water without getting the audience wet – all while an incredible fairytale-like spectacle unfolds.
There is a deep pool in the middle of the stage into which performers dive and do not emerge, meaning that there must be a way out of the pool underneath that the audience cannot see. Then the entire stage floor becomes a pool when water falls from the upper balconies and from the ceiling. It is an amazing engineering feat. We were particularly intrigued by the fact that the stage fills up with water, and then miraculously dries up within minutes. The floor must be a porous web that closes to collect water and then expands to drain it, all while allowing the performers to dance and run on it while it performs its miraculous water trick.
It is something one must see to believe. We had seen a Cirque show with a tank of water that appeared above the stage so that you can see underwater performers, and we presumed La Perle would be something like that. It is not. Instead, the entire stage becomes a shallow pool. Performers splash through it, but do not actually perform entirely underwater.
In Dubai, where rain is extremely rare, there is a general fascination with water. There are fountains everywhere, and pools, and lakes, and water features. So it is not surprising and perhaps just a matter of time before there would be an indoor water based entertainment spectacle.
The show is about 90 minutes of nonstop action. While we wished that there had been a program or some description or narration of exactly what the storyline might be (it was difficult to discern) there was not one minute of boredom. The highlights are high water dives, the rainfall creating a stagewide pool, and a crazy motorbike ball where six – count them, SIX – motorbikes circled a large ball above stage (like most scenes from the show, pictures cannot capture the experience!) Then after the show the new Dubai Water Canal is a short walk, where there are MORE WATERFALLS to wonder at. We DO love water here!
Dubai does not yet have a lot of live theater or shows. I miss this from Atlanta. La Perle is a welcome addition to the Dubai entertainment scene, and of course since I am so hungry for live theatrics we were there on opening night. The show will continue for two shows nightly on a permanent basis, and I highly recommend it. I purchased the least expensive tickets for us at 400 Dirhams apiece ( $108) and our seats were great. There is not a bad seat in the house, actually, so the inexpensive tickets are just fine. In fact, I would choose the less expensive seats to the side of the stage (like we had) over tickets in the middle but farther back.
Just seeing a full rainstorm alone – when we haven’t seen rain in months – is worth the price of admission.