Review-House of Dancing Water-Dragone


By: Matthew Gillespie and Meaghan McGurgan

HKELD would like to first thank The House of Dancing Water cast and staff for inviting us tonight to see the show! However, we were sitting in the trifecta of rude audience members. On one side we had a phone talker, the other side a person who kept taking flash photography, and behind us we had a group of ladies who talked loudly during the entire show. We would like to take this time to thank the wonderful ushers and house staff of The House of Dancing Water for handling all these inconsiderate audience members with grace. They were incredibly hard working and the best ushers we've seen in a long time.

The House of Dancing Water first opened at the City of Dreams in Macau on September 16th, 2010.  Since then, it has been seen by literally millions of people from around the world and has become one of the premiere entertainment destinations in Macau.  Recently, it has earned three prestigious international awards, namely the THEA Award for Outstanding Achievement from the Themed Entertainment Association, the Best Entertainment of Macau in the 2011 Hurun Report and the DFA (The Design for Asia) Merit Recognition Award for the design excellence of the Dancing Water Theatre.  That being said, read on...


This was my first time seeing the show, and it hit me from the first moment that it would be quite impossible to see every element of the show no matter how hard you tried.  Seeing it in a thrust stage (three sided) format, you are going to have a different perspective depending on where you are sitting (so it would be advisable to see it from a couple of different sides).  The depth of the space keeps your eyes darting, and the adept staging and direction keeps delivering in all areas of the stage. 

It begins with a Phantom of the Opera moment with a lone man pushing his boat through dark waters, then he is sucked down through a watery 'looking glass' where he is attacked by the Pirates of the Carribbean.  He continues to watch as a lone Pirate tries to save the Princess in a gilded cage and a clash of worlds ensues.  In flies the Queen of Hearts / Tina Turner who runs her Thunderdome set in Waterworld and the War of the Worlds escalates. 

Overall, the story has its drama, adventure and comedy. It's well balanced and the actors, for the most part, portray their characters with conviction. The story itself gets lost at moments, but you don't mind it all that much because the performers are accomplished.  Filled with gymnasts, athletes, divers and dancers, I marveled at their feats of athleticism and their ability to move from ropes, to diving, to floor gymnastics to even a little hip hop, jazz and ballet. While I understand that they wanted something dramatic and different - and the general audience seems to love it -  I found the motor cross disruptive to drama that was unfolding. It seems more like a gimmick than necessary.

What really struck me was the engineering masterpiece that is this production. What appears to be a simple pool of water hides entire ships, staircases, a pagoda, tracks for boats to float across and puzzle piece floors that appear and disappear within moments.  All of this somehow hides completely away so divers can cliff dive into the depths of this pool and not spear themselves on the crows' nest. This was pieced together by a team of people at the top of their game.  The CGI and lights and engineering and talented artists truly make this an experience worth seeing.


This is the second time I've seen The House of Dancing Water. I've reviewed it before on my old blog back in 2011, if you want to check it out. Seeing a show for a second time allows you to see a lot of things you missed before and lets you know whether a show is enjoyable for "repeat" watchers. A lot of the feelings I had on the simplicity of the story line and the ridiculousness of the motorcross at the end of the show still rings true. My negative feelings with the motocross didn't ruin the show for me, though. I understand that it's the "male" factor in the show. I just think it makes no sense from a story perspective.

Upon watching the show for a second time I was able to pay attention to all the beautiful details that the crew has put into the show. This show is beautifully designed and crafted. It is a show that is a feast for the eyes with stunning visuals. The blocking in the round is well done. All sides of the house get an excellent view. The lighting in this show is also a huge part of the show. I really got to have a good listen to all the music and I think the score for the show is incredibly well done. I enjoyed the music and thought it was a good blending of east meets west with Pirates of the Caribbean flair thrown in. My favorite moment in the whole show has always been the chandelier scene. It is a perfect blending of beautiful design, excellent choreography, and wonderful execution. They were perfectly in sync and the entire audience was captivated during this part. Loved it the first time I saw it and fell deeper in love the second.

House of Dancing Water since it has opened has had an average seating capacity of 90%. This is an amazing feat for a show with this size audience and higher than average ticket price. People aren't just seeing the show once. They are coming back again and bringing friends. Upon seeing it again myself, I can let you know not only is it worth the ticket price once... it's worth the ticket price to see it again.

The House Dancing Water is playing at the City of Dreams in Macau. For more information on showtimes and ticketing please visit their website.

Rate This Show: 1 2 3 4 5 Audience Rating: 5.0


  • Paul McKay
    26 December 2012

    I love the show and have taken several clients to go see it. Completely agree with everything you have to say about the bikes. They're a gimmick. They do nothing for the story. But I would still recommend this show to anyone. It's very good. I wish we would get a permanent show like this is HK.
  • Julia
    26 December 2012

    I <3 House of Dancing Water!
  • Yoda
    26 December 2012

    Great review. Balanced view of the show. You talk about the good and the bad. The really cool thing about it is the technical stuff. The part where the pirate ship comes out is amazing.
  • Georgie
    28 December 2012

    ugh. i hated the motor bikes too!
  • Harry
    17 January 2013

    The people in the audience are so fucking rude. They should take all the cameras away and kick anyone out who pulls out their phone. The audience ruined the show for me. They do the announcement in 3 languages for god's sakes. I don't understand why they're so rude.

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