Thursday, 28 February 2013

Backstage - Congrats Guys!!!!!

Congratulations to the cast and crew of Backstages A Few Good Men
You may remember ( or not) that I reviewed  Backstages "A Few Good Men" in September last year.
This bunch of deserving pasionate dramatists have gone and gotten themselves shortlisted in  the Best Theatrical Performance catagory in Time Out Dubai Night Life Awards 2013.


More on Short + Sweet Drama Festival

Thanks to Dana and Assem for a delightful performance.

I mentioned last week the upcoming Short + Sweet 10 minute play festival. It is a delight to me that this festival has arrived in town and given a bunch of Drama Groups in Dubai an opportunity to share dressing rooms with each other for a couple of weeks.
Sadly, the Love and Light of my Life's play did not make the finals. We are jointly understandably crushed and would seriously consider boycotting the whole festival except that if we did that we would miss out on lots of lovely theatre. IT IS SUCH A DILEMMA.
I was, as always, nervous of what would be on offer especially considering that many of the Plays would have locally written scripts. I have been to  some of the earlier Dubai Drama Groups productions of locally written plays and am delighted to say that from the first  time I first started going to the New Developments showcases to this festival there has been a very pleasing improvement in the quality of what is being produced. I think a big shout out should go to the Dubai Drama Group  who run the  New Developments play writing competition. I believe that their initiative over the past few years has greatly contributed to the quality of locally written material. I will definitely watch out for this years New Directions which was postponed to allow for their members and contributors to take place in this Festival. YAY more theatre coming up this year!
My favourite so far was Dana Dajani's   "Yeki Bood / Yeki Na Bood" which she performed with  Assem Kroma. I don't speak a word of Arabic but they conveyed the meaning of what was happening to the audience so well that I am sure I know exactly what  what they were feelings and thinking. It was a delight. Sadly I think this play is out of the running, mores the pity.  But never fear  there is still plenty to see coming up  in the next few days culminating in the  Short+sweet finals.
For those of you who have been savvy enough to get down to DUCTAC and see what has been on offer - well done you! The rest of you get down for   Wild Cards 3 on Friday 1st March and  don't forget to catch  finals on Saturday.
You will see me there, skulking about, trying not to enjoy myself too much.
Break a leg everyone.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

The story of the Beers in our Apartment

Sometimes I think that maybe my husband is not “playing with a full deck”. I am not for a moment suggesting that he is stark raving mad or sinisterly psychotic. But he is just not with the rest of us really. Let me recount two recent incidents. Well two and a half really and the half is telling -maybe.

Yesterday was a Saturday. You may remember how I get up at four a.m. in the morning to do my Greek homework on a Saturday, fairly regularly, and yesterday was no exception. By eight I was home-worked out and getting ready to face the day. Bryan was awake. Wonder of wonders and sitting up in bed reading Facebook status updates. Someone, probably one of my cousins, had posted a comment about being in bed reading with a cup of coffee. Bryan made a remark in a sighing, plaintive, pitiful breath, about how he would love to be doing the same thing but “no-one…” imagine a heavy sigh and hang-dog expression “…had made him coffee”. A sane person would not have said that. A sane person would have kept very quiet.  I am just saying…

The next happening was this evening. I was SLAVING in the kitchen making supper. Let me qualify something here for the sake of honesty and full disclosure. I have not cooked much recently  what with Frances the amazing cook visiting and us all going out a fair bit and also my not being all that hungry in the evenings recently so having tea and toast for supper…..  Anyway back to the guilty slaving over dinner. Bryan was “going to watch Rugby because it is SUNDAY”. He rummaged around in the fridge looking for beer. Like you have to track the contents of a fridge……. And found a lone beer. Astonished he asked “Where have all the beers gone??” Now, of the two people who live in our apartment, only one of us drinks beer and it is not me. I pointed out to him that if he does not restock the fridge there won’t be any beers in the fridge. “But” says Bryan, “Where did all the beers go that were in the fridge?” I could only conclude that perhaps when I open the fridge door the beers grab the opportunity to roll out of the fridge and somehow drag themselves to the front door were they hide (quivering with excitement and a bit of fear) waiting for the door to be opened so that they can make a break from the tyranny of our household and off to the freedom of - I have no idea where.  A sane person would not ask “where have all the beers gone” now would they? Bryan also wanted to know “where the biltong was?” There was none so he grabbed a handful of heart shaped chocolates instead -a parting gift from Frances. I presume because somehow in his special world chocolate and beer go together.

I love him dearly but really there are Heavenly Angels out there with more self-preservation than he has. And I ask you chocolate with beer????????

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Short + Sweet Theatre in Dubai

It's time to go to the theatre.7days - Short and Sweet.

The various drama groups in Dubai, that I know of, are all thrilled to be involved in this initiative. So, why don't you get down to Ductac, where you will have the opportunity to be delightfully entertained by a mixed bag of quickie plays. Go on, do something different!Get in on the act and support theatre in Dubai. I have linked a map here to help you find your way to DUCTAC. The map I have is for the The Old Library, which is just next door. The directions are EASY to follow.

The Short +Sweet Play that Bryan is acting in is improbably called "How about Cannons?" Yes, I am also intrigued. He and a chap called Mike Green are being directed by Gautam Goenka and their production is under the Banner of the Backstage Drama Group.

Here is the official site for the festival:

The info below is lifted from the DuctacWeb Site 
Tickets for performances:
Top 20 and Wildcards AED 50-75, Gala Final AED 75-100

Performances: 21 - 23 and 27 Feb - 2 Mar 2013
All performances at 8.00pm
(Except Gala Final 7pm & Wildcards 3pm)

Balcony Lounge & Kilachand Studio Theatre

Being A Bryan Fan

Bryan leads a much more "glamorous" life than I do. He recently went off for the day and pretended to be an advertising executive. Watch "The Brainstorm"

He is currently gracing the screens of cinemas and televisions in Dubai in an advert for U.N.B. UNB TVC

Yesterday he went off to a fitting at Technical Tailors (who sadly do not appear to have a web link) to be fitted for a uniform. Bryan explained that they were specialist tailors who worked "exclusively" on military uniforms. I was, by then, conjuring up images of him looking suitably dashing in a military uniform. “Mmmmm," says I. “That will be an interesting look". "Yes," says Bryan, oblivious to my train of thought. "I am going to be a Doorman. With epaulettes!!!!!!! Fizzzz goes my mental image.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

A light non lunch at Le Pain Quotidien - On being a Mall Rat and other musings.

On Saturdays I become a bit of a  strange version of a  Grown up Mall Rat.
Before you slam me down as being a shallow shopaholic let me explain.

By the way, the persona (“shallow shopaholic”) is saved for my fantasy of being a Jumeirah Jane with an unlimited budget where I can indulge in shopping sprees at (insert name of your favorite designer label) with the occasional good deed thrown in, say, for example, a climb up Mt Kilimanjaro to raise funds for the needy. You know the ones:
Cost of trip = One squillion dirhams.
Money donated to needy = One Fifth of a squillion dirhams.
But hey it’s the thought, and publicity, that counts. For the needy I mean not me. Right?
But, back to my Saturday’s. A typical Saturday for me goes something like this. Set the alarm for four a.m. ,so that I can do the Greek Homework, that I should have done on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday , Wednesday, Thursday evening or at any time on Friday.
Before I start my homework I HAVE to have a shower. I am not procrastinating.  Usually I have not washed my hair since Tuesday and my hair is in dire condition. How I get to this state (hair in dire condition that is) is a long thought out, and I hope to be justifiable, experimental process involving a theory on hair maintenance that goes something like this. If you wash your hair every day you will forever need to wash your hair every day. If you “train” you follicles to get used to going without a wash for longer and longer periods you will find that you will not need to wash your hair as often. Now, this may be flawed thinking, but I have seen animals in the wild with glossy coats and they don’t have shampoo. Or hairstylists for that matter but there is a limit to what I am ready to give up. I am not going to the place where I have to think about the fleas and other parasites that wild critters may or may not carry about their bodies. If I go there my whole argument might crumble. So I wash my hair. Make a pot of tea and beaver away at my homework. All the while feeling GUILTY! I know that doing an hour or so of studying every day is the way to go but why oh why do I feel like I am cheating in an exam when I do the work at four a.m. in the morning? It is not like I am cribbing or stealing or betraying a nation. Go figure. By the time I have finished my homework it is around eight thirty. I take off my snug dressing gown, get dressed and finish drying my hair and attend to my “make up”. This takes an increasingly long time with less and less success as the years go by SIGH. I then negotiate with Bryan. Do I get a lift with him to the Mall or should I take a cab? This discussion, obviously, has me becoming an enabler as I coerce Bryan into becoming a Mall Rat too.
By nine thirty I am in my Greek Lesson which is “AT THE MALL”. So you see, I am there in the Mall at sparrows for the betterment of my mind. Bryan is either still in bed, slowly waking up, or having coffee in one of a dozen coffee shops on offer, slowly waking up.
My lesson ends at eleven. My shift at The Old Library (good deed and hobby rolled into one, how clever am I) starts at two. WHAT TO DO?!! Now I could obviously just go to the library early, and I do on occasion, but I have been up and at it since four am remember? So I need a break. I can either mall trawl or coffee shop hop which brings me to the reason  that I started writing this particular blog post.
We often stop off for a quick coffee / tea or light lunch at Le Pain Quotidien. On this particular Saturday  I was not terribly hungry - unusual for me. My eye fell on their Tomato Bruschetta side dish. The waitress explained that it was not a usual Bruschetta and rattled off the ingredients and the way it was prepared and presented. I was a happy bunny with a watering mouth and  looking forward to lovely fresh tomatoes and pesto with some crusty bread. And that is what I got……together with a heavy load of onion in the mix. I should not eat onions at all and especially not raw onions. So I sat with my meal in front of me feeling sorry for myself looking at it and thinking “Should I? Shouldn’t I? Hummmmmm???????” I was sipping my refreshing Moroccan mint tea and pondering my dilemma when Bryan arrived sat down and snaffled up the bowl of tomato, pesto and onion mix and proceeded to eat the lot. Smacking his lips in a satisfied manner he grabbed my pot of tea to pour himself a cup. He stopped short. Gave me an accusing look and said “YOU DRANK ALL THE TEA??!!!!!”

You see what I have to live with?

I left Bryan ordering himself a beverage and clip clopped my way to the Library where I had chocolate digestive biscuits for lunch. Such a librarian-ish thing to eat don't you think?


Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Silly things people try every now and then. Ballet.

When I am sitting at my desk at work on a Monday morning the first thing I do is check my personal inbox for my friend Mary’s weekly email. This morning it was not there. I was crushed. I got up went to the canteen and got a mini croissant and an espresso. IT WAS HER FAULT. When I got back with my grubby bun and coffee in paws there was the weekly mail. But it was toooooo late. I was sipping coffee and nibbling on pastry and catching up on her news. My hips hate me.

In her update Mary spoke of her recent foray into the world of ballet classes for the not so young beginner. I had to sympathize as in a burst of energy last night I tried doing a  few ballet exercises. Bryan is away -what can I say- I had to find something to do other than nag him. 10 minutes of plies, grand battements and releves ( thank you Debbie for those few ballet classes in my early 20’s) and I was a COMPLETE wreck. I kid you not. 10 minutes. Complete Wreck. I had to recover by watching lots of trashy TV.  My friend Mary was subjected to performing ballet skipping (and she is not on the right side of middle age dears) She describes her antics thus “I have to say to was perfectly OK for Muhammed Ali to 'float like a butterfly'' but it is definitely very comical for a 61 year old to be skipping like a bunnie. This just about sums up my first adult beginner’s ballet class. As I left home, remembering baby beginners class I thought  'I really hope we don't have to skip and hop like bunnies'.

I arrived at the beautiful grade 2 listed old chapel which has been converted into a dance studio/ event  The inside is lovely, all walls mirrored (ugh) sprung floor chandelier, and a bar ( not  open during our class). There were 5 other 'older' ladies. We began with knee bends and rises at the barre. Followed by some swoshing foot stuff with little leaps, during which the teacher said 'Oh I haven't checked to see if you can skip!!!!!!!' I just burst out laughing. I was not able to skip, I could not get off the ground , like my feet had glue on the soles. I challenge all of you ladies or whoever to try skipping ...ballet skipping means that the up leg must be at 90 degree. It is quite hard. I do suggest you try it when no one is looking.” 

And I will not be try the skipping as Mary suggested. Not enough room in the apartment for that and there is no way I am going to try that outside in the park….. Can you imagine the spectacle I would make of myself.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Seafire Brunch at Atlantis

One of Bryan’s squash buddies had his parent’s visiting.

A proper visit to Dubai is not complete without a Friday Brunch thrown in.  A Friday Brunch is part of what being in Dubai is all about. In my previous life Brunch was a chance to sit and read papers and lazily ease into a Sunday.  Occasionally it was a very much needed, very late breakfast that took place after a very long, late boozy night. Not always you understand but it happens. In Dubai a Brunch is a very long and usually boozy lunch. It is  sometimes an excuse for gals to wear pretty frocks and to throw themselves at random men after a few too many champagnes. This sometimes makes the papers. Following Brunch there is usually an “after brunch party” in a pub. I lack the stamina so have no idea what happens to fellow “Brunchers” when they regroup in a "pub down the road" in the early evening. I can tell you that  some people  ( who will not be mentioned by name) have been know to come home in the "early hours" and fall asleep on the sofa and no one has been in a hurry  wake them....
But Back to our Brunch. We met up with a group of squash players and partners and “The Parents” in  the Seafire Restaruant at the Atlantis Hotel.

We have been to dinner at Seafire on a few occasions and count these as amongst the best meals we have had in Dubai…… at dinner. Sadly the same cannot be said for the Brunch.

On the up side the staff were engaging, interested, and attentive. I got the feeling that they loved what they were doing. The baker showed us with pride which deserts he had made. The chefs encouraged you to try this or that particular dish with knowledge and enthusiasm.  The band was good. I liked the laid back warm cosy atmosphere. I liked that it was not a heaving wild brunch party. I loved meeting a few new faces.

Sadly  all the pleasantness of the staff and  the surroundings and the company  could not detract from the fact that, for one of the most expensive Brunch’s in town, it delivers nothing special in quality , variety or quantity.  It simply was not good enough. Not by a long shot. The fish dishes were  dry. There were a too many stodgy foods on offer and not enough clean crisp flavors. The beef, whilst tender, was not tasty.  I did not even try the chicken it looked too sad for words. Ditto the oyster counter. OOOOOH the snow peas and broccoli were ok! The antipasti was fine but there was no wow factor at all.  The selection of cheese was disappointing. Hands down, food wise, the worst brunch I have been to in Dubai.

And then finally……… I had not been drinking ( on antibiotics sadly) and found that unlike most brunches there is no “dry” option so I had to pay full whack at AED 430/= for a mediocre meal without so much as a drop of plonk. I could have made a fuss, I guess, but when you are invited out you don’t like to do that. Really - no soft drink option on the brunch? Shame on you Atlantis!

Seafire is so off my list that I am not even going to give it a picture.

Here is the Timeout Dubai review

And here is The official Blurb....