Dubai-based mentalists who wowed America’s Got Talent judges to open Las Vegas-style show in UAE

It was in August this year that Marina and James received global attention, after a thrilling phone-based stunt with judge and actress Sofia Vergara


Nasreen Abdulla

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Published: Thu 15 Dec 2022, 4:26 PM

Last updated: Thu 15 Dec 2022, 6:48 PM

Dubai-based mentalists James and Marina, who shot to international fame when they wowed the judges on America’s Got Talent (AGT) earlier this year, are debuting their Las Vegas style mind reading show here in the UAE.

Scheduled to run for 90 minutes, the show will be hosted on the QE2 during the month of January. “We have always wanted to do theatre,” said James, speaking to Khaleej Times. “Now, we have come up with a show that we think is worth putting up. We will have someone from Warner Brothers coming over to direct it. We are really excited.”

It was in August this year that Marina and James received global attention after James put his finger on the phone of judge and actress Sofia Vergara – and Marina, who was dialing in through videocall, correctly guessed Vergara's battery percentage.

Four years of work

It was during the Covid-19 pandemic that James and Marina began writing their act. The couple, who had been performing successfully at corporate events all over the country, suddenly found themselves with a lot of free time.

“We wrote and rewrote the act many times,” said Marina. “Since we started it, we have not stopped dreaming. And now, here we are, at the cusp of making it a reality.”

Priced between Dh120 and Dh280, the show will be an elaborate display of what the couple did on AGT. “The only difference is that that it will be much more interactive,” said James. “We don’t want to give too much away, but it will highlight the connection we human beings have with each other. We are hoping to pass on some of our abilities to people in the audience.”

Designed to evoke recollections of their childhood, James hopes to pick people’s memories through the show. “Memories and imagination are stored in the same area in the human brain,” he said. “When you are trying to imagine someone’s memories, we are all connected by a common thread. That is what we are trying to explore.”

Scheduled to take place in the middle of January, James and Marina have three shows which they hope will springboard into a more regular stint. “We want to be on the top five to-do list for a Dubai visitor,” said Marina. “Of course, it is an outrageous dream, but we feel like if we work hard enough, we may just be able to achieve it.”

In addition to the show, James and Marina are exploring an option to provide select members of the audience with an opportunity to have dinner with them. “I think conversations are an integral part of learning more about others and connecting,” said James. “So, this is something we are actively looking at.”

Instant connection

After meeting on a dating app, James and Marina realized they had an instant connection early in their relationship. “Nothing unlike what a couple usually share,” said James. “But I came up with the idea of mentalism and we decided to hone it.” Initially, the couple spent up to 10 hours practicing the art.

Since then, the duo have performed for corporate events at some of the most iconic destinations around the country. Earlier this year, the couple even dropped into the Khaleej Times' office, showing us some of their uncanny abilities.


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