Saturday, May 28, 2011

AD Community Theatre

I'm guessing there were three different reactions to that title:
1) Oh that's nice, community theatre is always good entertainment
2) Oh no! Community theatre is only one better than a stick in your eye
3) Ugh, I hope Renee didn't join another community theatre
(and if you had another reaction, please leave a comment) :)

One thing Abu Dhabi doesn't seem to have much of is theatre. Operas - check, Symphony Orchestras - check, Ballet - check, Art Exhibits - check, but just not much in the way of theatre. So, I was pleasantly surprised to hear that the Abu Dhabi Choral Group was putting on a production this weekend. Here's the problem, though, the show is called "Urinetown, The Musical". Seriously? I'm being careful to keep my shoulders covered, not make any rude hand gestures while driving, being polite when confronted with stupid regulations and this group is going to perform Urinetown?!

But, as I mentioned in my last post, finding things to do can be a challenge. So after about a week of hemming and hawing we decided to go and risk it despite the bad title, the fact that it's community theatre in a town with little theatre, and that it was being performed in a primary school gym. Actually, come to find out, Urinetown is a Tony Award winning Broadway musical ... guess it just hadn't made it to Overture yet. ;)

Excited about the prospect of a proper night out, I set about planning dinner somewhere before the show. I consulted Trip Advisor, a map of the area and our Entertainment coupon book and decided on Cho Goa at the Crowne Plaza, an Asian restaurant that serves alcohol and looked to be within walking distance. The show started at 7:30pm so we headed out for dinner around 6 ... and that was my first mistake.

Traffic was light so we made it downtown without any trouble and found a great parking spot in front of the Crowne Plaza (and since it was Friday, all parking was free!) Lucky us! Then we walked into the restaurant and asked for a table for two and found out they don't start serving dinner until 7pm. (sigh) all those wonderful plans up in smoke.

So we drove around a bit and decided to park a little closer to the school and find a restaurant in the Novotel. After driving in and then back out of a parking garage, we decided it was actually our best bet for a parking spot on a Friday night ... and we assumed it would be free (yep, you can guess what happened later. :) We ended up at the Beaujolais restaurant, which surprised us with some really good food and even a pork menu (you don't find that very often in Abu Dhabi!) We also had a decent glass of wine with dinner, so all was well.

Then it was off to the theatre and despite a really bad sound system and mediocre performances, the play was entertaining. I think it's actually gut-splitting hilarious with the professional cast, a decent stage and a top notch sound system - I know we were missing a lot of the funny dialog just because it was difficult to hear. The production certainly won't win any awards, but it was a whole lot better than sitting at home and watching TV.

We stepped out of the school to walk back to our car and were hit by the worsening humidity. It's funny, the day wasn't all that bad, but the evening was really sticky. Luckily, the parking garage wasn't too far away. And yes, we realized as we got up to the exit gate that we needed to pay for parking. The cost wasn't an issue, but the garage is set up so that you pay BEFORE you get to the exit gate. So I hopped out to pay and Brian crossed his fingers that the car behind us wouldn't honk too long or too loud. :) They actually did the same thing we did, so we escaped without getting honked at.

If you get the chance to see a professional production of Urinetown, I would highly recommend it. It's "pee your pants" funny ... pun intended. :) 

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