Thursday, 27 February 2014

The Yum Yum Room at the Courtyard Playhouse

Never let it be said that I will not shamlessly promote those near and dear to me. So everyone, the Courtyard Playhouse is hosting The Yum Yum room on thier ,still smelling of new paint, lovely stage. The light and love of my life Bryan , see the handsome bald guy above, is acting in it, so buy your tickets  to see the show between the 27th of  February and the 1st of March.

The Yum Yum Room: a play about growing up and finding your place in society.

The Yum Yum Room focuses on the tense relationship between a 17-year-old, Tom, who wants to drop out of school and become a DJ, and his disapproving father. It explores the key issues currently facing youth and compassionately tackles themes of growing up, place and identity in a dramatic one hour play complete with an original beatbox soundtrack. The themes of this play are universal and can be understood by everyone. Being a teenager can be very difficult, no matter where you live. The themes of bullying, finding your place in society, being ashamed of your past, struggling with single parenthood are all as current in Dubai as anywhere else. Everyone who comes and watches The Yum Yum Room will be able to identify with one of the characters: as a teenager, a parent or an individual who doesn’t always fit the mold.
This play is supported by Bolt Down on Bullying, an anti-bullying campaign especially designed for the UAE by Samineh Shaheem.
The Yum Yum Rooms is directed and produced by Sarah Dufayard and will be performed at the Courtyard Playhouse on 27th February (8pm), 28th February (6pm & 8pm) and 1st March 2014 (6pm & 8pm). Starring Filip Ranebo, Bryan Mackenzie, Laura Quirke & Sol Abiad.
“Stephen House’s gritty, witty look at a young man’s struggle for identity in the claustrophobic atmosphere of an often unforgiving rural world really hits home”. Matt Byrne THE SUNDAY MAIL (Adelaide) May 27th 2009
“House has created a concise and short, yet moving and truthful tale of a teenager finding his way and the relationship between father and son”. David Grybowski DB MAGAZINE (Adelaide) May 27th 2009
Go to “Shows” or click here to book

Click herer for a location map: The Courtyard Playhouse

The Courtyard Playhouse is located just around the corner from Times Square Centre.
Take the service road for Times Square from Sheikh Zayd Road.
When you have the centre on your right hand side, take a right turn immediately after Times Square.
Follow the road around and you will pass the Spinneys Warehouses on your right.
A little further on you will pass the Musicians Warehouse and then the Courtyard will be on your right, next door to Limetree Cafe.
The entrance to the Courtyard Playhouse is just to the right of the main lobby doors.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Short + Sweet Dubai 2014 Review of Heart in the Ground

Heart in The Ground
 “Heart in the Ground” -An intriguing title and no-one I knew in the play. “Hmmm” “In a crumbling Kentucky farmhouse a young couple find themselves dealing with loss and love as the familiar hand of the law threatens to tear their family apart”. “Hmmm” I pondered. “I wonder what this will bring.”
What "Heart in the Ground" brought was a hands down outstanding production. This show was streaks ahead of every other production at this year’s Short and Sweet. And there were some pretty good shows this year so this is saying something. A deeply moving two-hander skillfully acted and directed.
Sally Greenland’s performance as Karen, a young grieving wife, was beautifully measured. An actress in tune with her craft who climbed into the skin of the character and gave the audience an insight into Karen’s pain, her fragile state of mind and her simple illogically, logical wish to have her dead child buried close to her. It was a pleasure to watch Sally. I can’t say any more, other than that no-one else could have won the *Award for Best Actress – Short + Sweet 2014 after her performance. My one disappointment in this almost flawless performance was the dress she wore. It was a jarring choice for me.
Acting the role of the young husband, Lee, was Oliver Marriott, who played against Sally’s Karen in a well-timed balancing act of emotional highs and lows and in the end with compassionate understanding. Oliver gave us a strong performance that worked well against Karen’s fragilely determined character.
It was just such a pleasure to watch this 10 minute play. The simple set worked well. I liked the use of the stage and lighting. An effectively directed production with two fine performers. A well-deserved win for this year’s Best Overall Production at Short+Sweet Dubai 2014 
Here is a link to what Douglas Hill the writer has to say about his script:

*Officially the prize is for "Best Actor in a Female Role" but I cannot, simply cannot, call an actress an actor. Go figure.

Please not that the photo here are from the facebook page of Short and Sweet Dubai.

Oliver Marriott and Sally Greenland at the Short and Sweet Gala Final

Short and Sweet Dubai 2014 - Review of Sam's Friend

Shihas Salim

Rashmi Kotriwala

When I saw the production list for “Sam's Friend” I was delighted. I am a great admirer of Backstage and have watched this theatre group go from strength to strength. Consequently I look out for any production that they put on. Shihas Salim caught my eye in Backstage’s Production of Hamlet in November last year where he played Horatio and I have been looking forward to seeing what this young man could do given the opportunity. I have been a longtime admirer of both of Rohit Prakash (Runner Up Best Actor Short and Sweet 2013) and Rashmi Kotriwala as actors. Then I saw that Sam's Friend was a locally written play. Any sort of creative writing undertaken for public consumption is a brave, bold and romantic endeavor. Writers have my unwavering admiration and I was thrilled to see Backstage taking advantage of Dubai based writing talent in the shape of Marie Dullaghan.

I was nicely set up to enjoy the show before I even saw it. This is a double edged sword, if the play does not live up to one's (that would be me) hope filled expectations one (me again) is a crushed fan! But I was not disappointed.

I really do believe that a good script sets up a show. Even the best of performances cannot hide poor writing. This script was well thought out and strong. Marie Dullaghan is a familiar face in the dramatic community of Dubai with both her and her husband Frank being passionate writers, directors and actors of their own works and those of others. This was, for me, the best of the works I have seen performed that was written by Marie. The cast had a top class script to work with. This was justly recognized with Marie being awarded the "Best Locally Written Play Script" at this year’s Short and Sweet.

The ten minute play highlights the relationship between a mother and her son. It hovers between the spaces of what is left unsaid in relationships. It is about protecting those you love and wanting to be protected. It is about not having all the information you need to maneuver your way around a relationship and saying the wrong thing at the wrong time and the consequences thereof. Heavy stuff.

The cast rose to the challenge presented by the depth of the script and gave engrossing performances. I was engaged in Sam’s pain. A good performer gets you personally involved in the character and Shihas had the audience with him all the way. As the story unfolds and we, the audience, slowly realize what Sam’s situation is, and who he is, and what is his trying to tell his mother our heart go out to both of them. You so want them to get it right. I held my breath for moments at a time, willing Sam to tell his mother the truth. The expected (by then) but yet still somehow shocking moment when we see Sam move to leave the stage was heartbreaking. Shihas' interpretation of Sam thoroughly deserved the "Runner up Best Actor" award he received. It was a standout performance and I expect to see much more from him.

Rashmi Kotriwala as Sam’s mother gave us mighty fine performance. Her joyful expectation at her son’s homecoming was clearly expressed and her confusion and then pain was beautifully played against Sam’s kindly misleading revealing of his condition. The relationship between mother and son was gentle and sad and utterly believable. You could feel the love between them. Sam’s mother’s realization at the end of the play of what she has done was subtly and beautifully performed by Rashmi.

Both players gave strong supportive performances and I was spell bound. Director Rohit Prakash takes a fair amount of credit for this. He took a good script, good actors and wove a special story for his audience. The direction was subtle. The gentleness and sorrow that permeates the play was gracefully directed. Movements and moments were contained. The mother's concerns for her old age with her gently rubbing her knee. Sam nervously fiddly with the paper on his desk, not so much that it intrudes into the action but enough to build the tension. Small things were considered in this production, there was attention to detail that many directors might miss. My only criticism is that I would have arranged the set differently. I would have had mother and son closer together on the stage and maybe had then angle slightly away from each other. I did not want to miss a bit of the subtle actions and was looking from one side of the stage to the other to get it all in. Rohit did a fine job with this play.

"Sam’s Friend" was a wonderful coming together of talent and commitment. I do hope we get to see more from these very talented individuals who are growing in scope and ability.
Actors: Shihas Salim and Rashmi Kotriwala

Please note that all the photographs and pictures here are from the Short and Sweet facebook page or from the Backstage facebook page.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Short and Sweet Part II

Click here for the Web site for ticketing and line up information

Last weekend I had my comfortably sized bottom, once again, in the Kilachand Studio Theatre at DUCTAC enjoying, once again, a couple of evenings of delightful Theatre Entertainment with a few nights of ten, ten minute plays. I was trying to work out why I enjoy this format so much. I am a critical baggage at the best of times and am usually quite unforgiving on the Theatre front but somehow Short and Sweet is exempt.  I have come to the conclusion that it is because of the length of the plays. There is naturally a mixed bag of productions in an event of this sort. Usually I would  be super critical of the productions that are less than stellar. But this is not the case.  It seems that ten minutes is enough time for a great production to make a really good impact (and leave you wanting more) and not enough time for a mediocre show to make you want to leave. The overall effect is that you enjoy everything on offer.
Now, again usually, in true drama queen style, I do the nose in the air “Well, you  know Art is not like sport. You can’t compete.” Well I am wrong. The competitive element of Short and Sweet makes it exciting for the participants and gives the audience a change to have a vote and a say in the competition. I am so glad that I have watched the performances on the last showings of each set. It has been great fun being in the audience and getting to hear which plays have come in the top slots and seeing who is going through to the gala performances.

This  past weekend had us swinging from the delightful to the delightfully dreadful.  We had the RAKADS ( Ras Al Khaimah Amateur Dramatic Society)  performance of Driving Me Crazy  which was so bad it was good to watch. Don’t know if the high slapstick was what they were going for but is was what we got. I loved the idea of the GPS with attitude. The play was littered with  easy to identify with local references which made this piece a sure fire crowd pleaser. There is definitely some talent in that group even with this rather wild and woolly production that threw caution to the winds and dared you to rejoice in the silliness.

At the other end of the scale was a refreshing charming one women show that was written, directed and acted by Mina Kici Khattar. Mina gave us an alluring performance with an intimate style in her show "The Meticulous Woman"
I thoroughly enjoyed On the Couch – a peek into a couple’s therapy session with a tongue in cheek sassiness. Mike Green and Celia Cookson gave us  a charmingly humorous performance as the troubled couple.
Almost as much fun as the show this year has been the effort that was put into the Posters designed by  the groups entering the competition. the Short + Sweet Facebook page is full of great promo posters - some of which I have shown in this blog.
If I have wet your appetite a bit there is more to come from this week’s performances so get down to Mall of the Emirates and enjoy some theatre.
I have taken the list of productions from the Short and Sweet Web site that are (so far) in to the Gala Final.


Writer: William Shakespeare. Abridged by Hananah Zaheer & Vikram Ahuja
Director: Salman Qureshi
Cast: Hananah Zaheer (Juliet, Tybalt), Michel Atieh (Romeo), Salman Qureshi (Narrator, Friar, Nurse, Mercutio)

Production : Vikram Ahuja, Aahad Sayed
A traveling troupe is ready to present their Magnum Opus - Romeo and Juliet like never before!



Writer: Gregory Gould (Canberra, Australia)
Presented by Backstage
Cast: Rohit Prakash (Ben), Aswathi Menon (Mel)
What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?

Writer: Robert Scott (USA)
Directors: Gemma Taylor, Marcia Irving, Phil Ridley
Presented by the American School of Dubai
Cast: Michelle Pazos (Waiter/Cinderella), Arianna McMechan (Snow White), Ashley Pereira (Cinderella/Waiter), Sarah Syed (Sleeping Beauty)
Snow White and Cinderella meet for the first time in years and talk about their husbands, but soon notice a startling similarity. It's no fairy tale, but things get worse when Sleeping Beauty pops in to tell them about her new man...



Writer: David Ives (USA)
Director: Gautam Goenka
Presented by Backstage
Cast: Asad Raza Khan (Bill), Pooja Khadkikar (Betty) & Gautam Goenka (Waiter)
2 people meet and find their way through a conversational minefield as a bell interrupts their false starts, gaffes and faux pas on the way to falling in love.



Writer: Marie Dullaghan (Dubai)
Director: Rohit Prakash
Cast: Shihas Salim (Sam), Rashmi Kotriwala (Mother)
There are times when we have to make our decisions all by ourselves.



Writer: Aishwarya Jha-Mathur (India)
Director: Rhea Dixit
Crew: Anitha Kulkarni
Production company: Third Half Theatre

Cast: Sanjeev Dixit, Sumedh Kulkarni, Minali Patel, Cmith Sarkar


* RUMPLE SCHMUMPLE finished as Runner-Up in the Judge's choice in Top 30 Week 2. But due to actor availability RUMPLE SCHMUMPLE was not able to take its place in the Gala Final and has been replaced by third place in the Judge's Choice in Top 30 Week 2, SAM'S FRIEND

Backstage's Production of Hamlet in November 2013

It was with a rather angst ridden conscience that I wrote this review and have dithered about  publishing it, which is why it has taken so long to post this, months after the production.
I am such a fan of Backstage and all the great work that they do for theatre in Dubai that I am loath to be too critical of what should have been a landmark production for them.

I was disappointed with their "Hamlet." There I have said it. The production fell short of what I have come to expect from Backstage.
It seems that maybe the teacher has been surpassed by the pupil. I am pretty sure that in the hands of founding member, Gautam Goenka, it could have been a real winner. Though it was clear that  his mentor, and the show's  artistic director, Shanker Ramachandran, put a great deal of thought into how he would stage this show - his interpretation did not work for me.

Hamlet is one of the most difficult plays to stage well, and yet remain accessible, and I appreciate how very important it is to cut any play down to a manageable length. I admire that the producer recognised that this had to be done, many don't bother. But, oh my word, it was edited without apparent consideration of what are some of the most memorable aspects of this play, and for me, without enough consideration of Shakespeare’s use of verse. The production lost too much of the language and lyrical quality of Shakespeare’s work in the editing process. Of all plays, editing this one is probably the hardest thing to get right and I certainly would have great qualms about undertaking it myself so I admire the effort. It just missed the mark.

It seems to me that too much attention was spent on creating a series of montages and scenes with little or no dialogue. Some scenes were so shortened, that we had actors just miming the action. Why would you do that?  Hamlet is after all, supposed to have pretty good dialogue. It is Shakespeare. It contains some of the best lines in the English literary landscape. 

It also has a brilliant plot. In a nutshell Hamlet (Asad Raza Khan) comes home and finds that his mother "Gertrude" the queen  (Brooke Butterworth) has rather too quickly gotten over her husband’s death. Hamlet is riddled with a racking angst filled grief, he has issues with his subtly Oedipal relationship with his mother and a vengeful attitude to his cuckolding uncle "Claudius"(Kris Morton). He is in love with and loved by the beautiful Ophelia (Priyanka Johri) but his complicated relationship with his mother and his overwhelming feelings of disgust at his mother and uncle’s behaviour taints his view of all women and poisons his love for Ophelia. Brilliant stuff right? Poor Ophelia, in her turn is driven to madness as she becomes  increasingly confused and torn between her lover's shoddy treatment of her (to put it mildly) and her father's and brother's disapproval of her choice of boyfriend.  Ultimately this results in her watery poetic death. All this captured not only in Shakespeare’s words but in subsequent artworks of great beauty.

Inspirational stuff this Hamlet. Add to the mix the appearance of Hamlet's father's ghost praying on Hamlet's guilt and baying for revenge for his death. Hamlet is in turns wildly mad and frantic, then depressed and introverted, then manic again, wonderful stuff to get your teeth into. There is a bit of light relief in the form of Ophelia father Polonius the "foolish prating knave" whose character has given the English language a few oft used words of wisdom “never a borrower nor a lender be;” ”to thine own self be true” to mention a couple. Missed from this production (understandably) is the rather black humour of the grave diggers. The plot unfolds, skulduggery ensues, and ultimately, following the true form of Shakespeare’s tragedies, anyone who is anyone dies. Dramatically.

I loved the set. The American University of Dubai venue is a daunting one to use as the stage is so wide. The set design was a delight. It was clever in its full use of the stage area. It had such potential for depth and innovation when applied to the actual production. I loved the use of the shades of grey in the paint work. The drapes that were used to dress the set look great. The promise of a simple set begging to be used had me quite excited for the show to start. But - I don’t think that the director’s use of the stage took full advantage of it - and in some scenes I was flummoxed at why certain groupings were made when there were obviously better options. An example of this was the chapel scene with Claudius that was immediately followed right on top by the bedroom scene with Gertrude. It made absolutely no sense at all to have Gertrude and Polonius squashed on the stage on top of Hamlet and Claudius whilst the audience and actors alike all pretended they were not there. The stage was huge - empty space all over...

Casting the lead in Hamlet is a challenge. You need someone who can act well ,naturally, is able to elicit sympathy from the audience and who has a compelling presence on stage that convincingly portrays the depth and scope of this mercurial character. Asad Raza Khan did the very best with the role that he could do, but he lacked enough of the one ingredient that you cannot learn for the stage. Charisma, you either have it or you don’t and you need it by the bucketful for Hamlet.

In the first half of the play Kris Morton’s Claudius was more of a cuddly bear than a  menacing  political player. In the second half he picked up the pace and was much more on the form that I so enjoyed in “A Few Good Men.” 

Hani Yakan continues to grow in scope and I thoroughly enjoyed his performance of Laertes.

Brook Butterworth can always be trusted to give a fine performance and whilst I felt she was not at her best I particularly enjoyed Act 3 Scene IV and the interaction between Gertrude and Hamlet. The scene in her chambers skittered on the edge of their relationship beautifully.
There were good performances by many of the smaller roles too. The overall effect was competent and not at all unwatchable.
What distressed me was the treatment of the script and the  poor use of a beautifully designed set.
Here are a couple of rave reviews:
To find out what Backstage are doing at the moment click on here for  their Facebook page and here for their web site.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Short and Sweet Dubai 2014

Last year, around this time, I was telling you all to head on down to DUCTAC (Mall of Emirates) to watch "Short and Sweet" a competitive festival of ten minute plays. This year I am a hollering at you to get down to the Theatre.

This, the second year of what was a highly successful few weeks of fun filled theatre last year, will absolutely be, even better. Practise make perfect after all.
Just being in the Kilachand Studio Theatre before the lights went down was a delight. The auditorium was filled with participating theatre peeps, their families, friends and general theatre lovers. I listened in on conversations where actors and producers were networking away. Delighted "Hello! I have not seen you in forever Darlings!" littered the auditorium. "What are you doing?" was being asked by everyone. Hearing something along the lines of  "I am performing in Short and Sweet"  and of course the rejoinders, "Oh wonderful! We're coming. We will see yours next week!" There was more than one "Have you met so and so? You haven't? You must! You would be perfect for a role they need filling next month." Lots of warmth and a general buzz in the air of excitement and fun. A delightful sprinkling of all the Who's Who in the Drama Zoo of Dubai. All this banter  and  conviviality was against a background of great background walk in music. Thanks for that Alex and the team. The right walk in music really set the tone for an evening at the theatre and you guys got it spot on.
Last week showcased twenty one short plays varying in subject matter and genres. We were treated to such offerings as the delightfully absurd "Spider men" where  for ten minutes we are flies on the wall  (fall about the place laughing) observing a conversation between two male spiders  living in a world were even a romantic interlude with their spouse could end up with the down trodden husbands being  the dinner of their (clearly not so loving) wives. An ironic twist on who wears the pants in a home.  
Our hearts were warmed by the unfolding of the funny, sad story of the changing relationship between an older and younger sibling  in pre-1947 India as they dealt with success, failure and family responsibility.
It is always special when locally written plays get showcased and Sweet and Short give ample opportunity for local playwrites to show off their talents. These stand alongside the "imported" plays as equals in scope of subject and quality of the writing.
See whats on at the Short + Sweet link here and book your tickets now. I know from experience ( see here)  that if you don't book for the gala performances you may very well land up going home having missed out on the show as the tickets sell out fast.
To book your tickets go to or call DUCTAC on 04 341 4777
Week 2
Wednesday 12th Feb – 8pm TOP 20 Week 2 (1st Performance)
Thursday 13th Feb – 8pm TOP 20 Week 2 (2nd Performance)
Friday 14th Feb – 8pm TOP 20 Week 2 (3rd Performance)
Sat 15th Feb – 3pm – WILDCARDS 2 (1st Performance)
8pm – WILDCARDS 2 (2nd Performance)
Week 3
Wednesday 19th Feb – 8pm TOP 20 Week 3 (1st Performance)
Thursday 20th Feb – 8pm TOP 20 Week 3 (2nd Performance)
Friday 21st Feb – 3pm – WILDCARDS 3 (ONLY performance)
8pm TOP 20 Week 3 (3rd Performance
Sat 22nd Feb – 3pm – GALA FINAL (Preview)
7pm – GALA FINAL (Followed by Awards Ceremony)

Below are my posts from last year. Don't miss out this year. If what I have seen so far is anyting to go by this year will be even better than last year and last year was great.

Short and Sweet 2013 20th Feb

Short and Sweet 2013 28th Feb

the lat last word on Short and Sweet 2013.


Tuesday, 4 February 2014

New Years Eve

 The New Year snuck up and hit us all with the usual surprise. Same as it does every year.  
My idea of a good New Year is to be at home with Fireworks. In previous years I have had fireworks from the balcony of our apartment. Bliss for me.  The problem  I have faced has always been  to convince those nearest and dearest to me that this was the place to be. Gently seeing in the New Year with a bottle of Champers and then climbing into bed as the smoke drifts  off after the last firework has done its thing. Who needs a "Knees Up Forget Your Name Party"? Apparently  everyone except me.  Every year I dread the "New Year’s Eve Conversation". Every year I feel like a complete witch because all I want to do is Stay At Home. Bryan wants to have a party. He is a sociable fellow. Me, eh, not so much. Here I will go off at a tangent.  There are people in the world who believe ,well it is a feeling really not so much a belief, that seeing a stunning sunset has no real value if you don’t have someone with you to share that stunning sunset and to feel all warm and fuzzy about it together. I am not like that. I am way too self-involved. Beautiful sunset – check cool. Someone to see it with  ah super cool. Not that sharing is not lovely but I can do all the beauty and awesome stuff on my own and not feel crushed that there was no one to share it with. I don’t do these things on my own because  I have a Man Being in my life who absolutely loves to do sharing things who ,even after all these years together, still forces me out of myself and into doing stuff, patiently. He never, ever refers to the fact that he has to do this every single time we go out. 

Each  year I land up negotiating with myself and then Bryan. This is now it goes....If I have been particularly hermit like the previous New Year’s Eve I feel honor bound to make an effort. If I went out  on the town the previous year I find it very difficult to give  up my stuck in the muddy rut  notion of staying in. I don’t even mind being left at home alone so that Bryan  (and whoever else is about) can go and have a party. But that is not how the world turns. The last thing any self-respecting person wants to say on arriving at a party to celebrate the year gone by and share a few moments of hope of what the new year will bring  is “My partner stayed at home.” It is like code for saying "My wife and I had a rip roaring fight and I left the house slamming the door behind me so I am here on my own." Defiantly.  So you see every year is a tightrope in our house over what we will do for New Year's Eve. Well it is inside my head. I am pretty sure Bryan is oblivious to my agonising until a day or so before when someone (me) has to say something about not wanting to go out for New Year's Eve.AGAIN.

As 2013 closed in around me I realised that it was my turn to be a good sport. Last year we watched the fireworks from our apartment balcony.

Younger son Cameron was home for New Year  and my nephew William was visiting Dubai for the first time and, as it happens, we no longer have a balcony to watch stunning fireworks from. All the signs were lining up to a Going Out type of New Year. Around the time that all these thoughts were whirling around my sad person brain getting me worked up about what to do and how to do it bla, bla, bla my friend Patricia said that she had found a brilliant venue for NYE and did we want to join their party? It was a sign.  The sign said “Say Yes”. So we were organised. New Year at a lovely venue with what promised to be great view of the upcoming world record breaking fireworks display. And great company. Perfect right? Well of course not. This is me we are talking about.
Now that the venue was arranged I was all over worrying about what the traffic would be like. I was worrying about what we were going to wear. Bryan, of course, was not worrying. He is incapable of worrying about what he is going to wear. My preferred outfit for New Year is jeans with a floppy top and no make-up. This evening clearly required more effort and it would be outdoors and high up on the 35th floor, so as to get the best views, which is very important, but might be a bit chilly. So I was all set up for worrying about that too.
All this clothes worrying had me doing something I have never done before in my whole and entire life. With little time and the decision making skills of a squirrel faced with one too many nuts to carry I bought up the whole bloody shop and took everything home thinking that I would decide what I would wear in the comfort of my home and I would return the clothes that I did not wear to the store. I felt like a thief or as if I was bunking from school. It felt quite exhilarating walking out of the shop with a tonne of clothes that I had no intention of keeping. So that worry was sorted out. I should mention that I did not return any of the clothes..... Note to self  - do not do that again.  
Now the traffic worries. Obviously I have no control over the traffic but that did not stop me from  becoming almost hysterical. I had to find out what every other guest at the table would be doing to sort out their transport dilemmas at this most horrific of times of year for getting a taxi and getting in and out of congested areas. I agonised over booking a taxi. Who am I kidding on New Year’s Eve -  a taxi ??|#%#!$$ - imagine hysterical laughter. I even went and found a limo service that would be available for a pick up and drop off on NYE for the snip of a price of AED 999.00 if the pick-up and drop off happened over a three hour period. Imagine more hysterical laughter at:
 a. the price and
b. the time span allowed for PARTYING.  
After much investigating I announced to Bryan ( who was not worrying)  that we would leave our car  at the Ibn Batutta metro Station and take the metro from there and walk to the hotel from the nearest station to it. This required a quick change of plans from high heels to walking boots in the wardrobe department.   Alternatively, I suggested, we would drive to the other side of the highway nearest the hotel and walk from the metro station to the hotel having used the sky bridge over the highway to beat ( much evil laughter ) The Traffic. So much plotting to have a bit of fun.
I think I have set you up appropriately don’t you? Are you ready for what happened?
Firstly, to get into the spirit of jollification, I spoiled myself by booking an appointment to have my hair blow-dried. Another first time for me. No I lie. I had my hair done specially for one other event in my life, my wedding. The thing is that there is a hair salon around the corner from my office in the Hotel so really I would be stupid to not take advantage of the 50% staff discount right? Except that I messed up my appointment. There I was getting ready for a meeting at work when I got a call from the hairdresser saying “ Where are you? You had an appointment for 2 pm?" Oh my giddy aunt. What to do. I was supposed to be in a meeting. Bugger this, it was NYE. I got my poor colleague to cover for me in the meeting and I deserted my post to get my hair done saying “I will be half an hour late for the meeting...." as I rushed out of the office.

The lady who was doing my hair was taking forever. My hair is thick and holds moisture, I know this, but really I can do a crap job of drying my hair in 20 minutes. So surely the stylist should be able to do a good professional job in ½ an hour? Am I asking too much? Maybe. Anyway as the half hour ticked by I had to say “Stop sweetie I have to leg it back to a meeting. Finish up and I am out of here”. I tore back to the office and into the meeting room. It was dark and empty. You guessed it. The meeting was cancelled. I did however have half a hair doo done for NYE.

I got home  after work and lazed about because I was so super organised.  I chose what to wear from my Department Store contraband. Faffed about doing my nails and having a shower and chatting and being all calm and mellow. Then got into a last minute panic because it turns out I was not as super organised as I thought I was and landed up rushing myself to be ready in time to go. All  the male members ( did you notice that witticism?) of the household waiting for me downstairs. PATIENTLY. 

We did eventually make it out of the Villa and into the traffic. Which, as it turned out, there was not much of on our side of town. There was so little traffic that we drew near to the Marina Bryan announced that we were going in. Things were looking good. We were going to risk all and drive right up to the Hilton Hotel on The Walk. My heart was in my mouth. OOOOO the risks involved in getting caught up in traffic and sitting in it for hours while the year slipped past us. The gods looked kindly on us and we were at the hotel, valet parking the car, within five minutes. Anyone who knows The Walk on JBR in Dubai  knows that this is a rare occurrence in that part of town. Obviously everyone had made other plans knowing ( as I did ) that the traffic would be horrible. SUCKERS - oh and thank you.

So this is where we spent our new year. Pure. At the JBR Hilton. It was so pretty. Really we were in the best spot.

The fireworks were magnificent.  Click below for the full feature.
The Food was fantastic. Who would have thought that a catered event at New Year could be a mouthwatering treat. Rushed kitchens and so many people to feed usually mean that the food at big events is never anything to write home about.  But hats off to the Hilton. Each course was a surprising delight, a fusion of foods that was unexpected  and delicious. Without anything else in the evening  the food would have been a treat. But together with the company and the fireworks well it just made  the evening so special. The music was  hip hoppin' bobbin' and the company was fabulous.
As usual if I  get my arse into gear and actually do go out I have a brilliant time. I may have had an itsy bitsy teeny weeny bit too much to drink...  so I cannot accurately say much more as it all got terribly warm and fuzzy  and oh you know I was not paying attention to the fun I was too busy having it.  Especially after my son and nephew spiked a couple of my drinks and gave me doubles when I thought I was getting singles, but what the hell it was New Year.


The Peeps on our table with party hats and winning smiles.
We wound our way home in the early hours of the morning walking through the Jumeriah Beach Residences and Marina to the metro passing revelers sharing a bit of good New Year cheerfulness.
I woke up very, very, very, late on the 1st of January. Everyone should. I did spare a thought for parents of small children who cannot ease out of their New Year hangovers. That is if they are so lucky as to get one. I  thanked my lucky stars that I was so done and dusted with that business of looking after small people as I groaned and reach for the headache pills, tossed a handful ( or maybe more)  back with a glass of water and went back to sleep.
Next year I might not even need encouraging to get out and about at New Year. I am not making any promises but if there is transport and tipple  and Top Notch company I might just venture out two years in a row.