Review: Impossible at Dubai Opera
We put on our glad rags and battled the Downtown traffic to check out the opening night of Impossible (which is on at Dubai Opera all week). Here’s what we thought…
Full disclaimer: I can’t sit through an episode of America’s Got Talent because anyone attempting to saw a person in half is my definition of tedium. Also, when I think of the art of illusion, my mind conjures up something that’s more Phil Dunphy than David Copperfield.
So, as I sat in the lovely red leather seats of the shiny new Dubai Opera to watch the opening night of Impossible, I couldn’t help but Google the run time (it’s two hours and 20 minutes, FYI, but the good news is the leg room at the Opera is ample).
So what can you expect? I’m not going to riddle this with spoiler alerts, but I can say that if you’re a Grinch like me there will be moments in which you’re genuinely stumped by what happens on stage. That said, there will be other times when you look at your watch and wonder when the interval/end is coming.
There are six ‘stars’ of the show, each with very different skills. There’s a woman who can hold her breath for a long time and escape from places while flicking her hair around, and then there’s the man willing to shoot a crossbow in his wife’s direction while blindfolded (he’s bald, so there’s no hair flicking involved). The latter was the most tense moment of the night for sure.
Chris Cox was a crowd favourite. The self-professed Sue Perkins lookalike read members of the audience’s mind (I knew one of the people, so can confirm that the people chosen weren’t plants). I won’t give too much away, but his moments on stage were impressive whichever way you looked at it. Oh yes, and there is audience participation, so be warned if you’re sitting near the front.
While Cox was a great performer, it was the quieter moments of the two-hour spectacle that I found genuinely enchanting (and not an ounce cheesy). These were the smaller performances, however, that didn’t really necessitate an Opera House-like-venue.
A silent-movie-style mime from Ben Hart using nothing but sleight-of-hand and billiard balls had a sad whimsy about it that was poetic and captivating.
The unfussy and classic person-to-person card tricks of street illusionist Bones were gasp-inducing too. I was glued to my seat (and not even thinking about the runtime) while he was on the stage.
So would I recommend Impossible? Yes. Because…
A) it’s far better than anything I’ve ever seen on America’s Got Talent.
B) If it can delight a skeptic like me for even a moment then I imagine it’ll be truly enchanting for the believers among us.
C) The tickets cost the same as two Platinum class movie sessions (and you get more than double the bang for your buck at Impossible than you do at the cinema).
TOP TIP: Try and get seats in the first four or so rows so that you can really watch the smaller moments happen (otherwise you’ll just find yourself watching it all on the big screen above the stage. And at that point, you might as well be at home on the couch watching it on TV, amirite?).
HIGHLIGHTS: The fact the show was filled with adult humour (that was smart enough so that kids didn’t get it) and all of the moments that were just about good-old-fashioned, how’d-they-do-it? sleight of hand.
LOWLIGHTS: Anything involving laser lights or spinning props. These moments felt more package-holiday cruise liner than 21st-century Opera House.
DRESS CODE? We saw everything from ballgowns to flip flops in the audience. As this isn’t an opera, we’d say go smart but relaxed. More chinos than tux.
DETAILS: Dubai Opera, Downtown Dubai, Dubai, Tues & Wed 8pm, Thur 3pm and 8pm, Dhs250. Tel: (800) 36227. Metro: Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall. dubaiopera.com