Time Out reports back from the front row as George Michael and The Nutcracker ballet take to the stage in the UAE.
Becky Lucas and Jeremy Lawrence
George Michael and Alicia Keys We had the honour of saying adios to George Michael last week at the pop icon’s farewell concert at Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed stadium. And there’s no denying it: the ageing playboy still has the moves. After a stellar performance by Alicia Keys, the former Wham! frontman burst onto the stage, belting out hits like ‘I’m Your Man’ and ‘Faith’. When he wasn’t boogying up and down the stage, the 45-year-old grabbed a chair to serenade the crowd with classics like ‘Father Figure’ and even a rendition of Nina Simone’s ‘Feeling Good’. But George wouldn’t be George without controversy, changing into a police officer’s shirt and aviators to sing ‘Outside’, before sating his fan’s screams with not one but two encores of perpetual classics ‘Careless Whisper’ and ‘Freedom’. We can only wonder if he got frisked at Dubai airport.
The Nutcracker The tutus were starched, the leotards snug and the setting suitably fairytale – Tchaikovsky’s famous Nutcracker ballet had made its return to the Madinat Theatre. Principal ballerina Trandasir Juyliia and her co-star Kekalo Yurii pirouetted, lifted and jete-ed their way through a magical tale of a young girl and her nutcracker prince. OK, so the wizardly godfather, Herr Drosselmeyer, had more than a touch of Graham Norton-style camp to his benignly Machiavellian role and there may have been one or two near tumbles in the corps de ballet. But who really cares? When the beauty of the ‘Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairy’ can nearly reduce a grown man to tears (as Time Out observed it did) you can rest assured the magic’s truly working. Encore!