Beth Burrows performs as Audrey Hepburn in her show Sirens of the Silver Screen. Alex Atack for The National
Beth Burrows performs as Audrey Hepburn in her show Sirens of the Silver Screen. Alex Atack for The National

Sirens of the Silver Screen cabaret pays homage to Hollywood icons



On screen, they were Hollywood's picture-perfect golden girls. But off screen, their struggles with fame proved their downfall. The most telling chapters of the lives of icons such as Judy Garland, Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe will come to life in Sirens of the Silver Screen, a musical cabaret at Dubai Community Theatre & Arts Centre on Saturday.

Sirens on stage

Written and performed by ­Dubai-based British actress and singer Beth Burrows, the show is a part of Ductac Presents, a new community-theatre series launched to promote productions by resident artists.

Work on the project began in November, when Burrows found a quiet cafe in Dubai and spent two weeks unearthing and researching archived footage, photographs and interviews that would inspire her 75-­minute cabaret-style show chronicling the lives of the three leading ladies and the characters they immortalised.

“I wanted to try cabaret because it hasn’t been done here before,” says the 25-year-old. “And then I realised it had to be glamorous because, well, Dubai is glamorous. It’s all about red carpets, VIPs and diamonds.

“That brought me to vintage Hollywood and these actresses are the most identifiable from back then – they are fabulous subjects to explore.”

Burrows will take the stage dressed as three different characters – Garland's pigtailed and pinafore-clad Dorothy in the The Wizard of Oz (1939); Hepburn's Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961), complete with the signature black dress, gloves and tiara; and as Monroe's The Girl in the famous white cocktail dress and curly blonde wig from The Seven Year Itch (1955).

The untold stories

“It is interesting that they are all such different women from different generations and yet there is this connection between them,” says Burrows, who has a master’s degree in musical theatre from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in the ­United Kingdom.

“Judy Garland’s story is tragic in terms of her struggles with addiction and her marriages. It is very similar to the life of Marilyn Monroe, which I found fascinating. Hepburn had an altogether happier life. But it was nice to learn more about her charity work with Unicef, which I will be focusing on in the show.”

Burrows says the musical will be a marriage of three forms of media – “live music with a pianist, then there is my script, which talks about the high and low points of their lives and then we also have a video projection”.

Screening during the performance will be original footage of interviews and home videos sourced from online Hollywood archives.

“I’ve got clips of Marilyn’s first TV appearance that no one knows about because she wasn’t famous at the time. I have other really cool black-and-white interviews as well as secret footage that will be a nice surprise for the audience.”

The music

Backed by Dubai-based pianist Stanislav Serdyuk, Burrows will sing nine songs from the actresses' best-known movies, including Somewhere Over the Rainbow (The Wizard of Oz), Moon River from Breakfast at Tiffany's and Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

"But my favourite has got to be Garland's The Trolley Song from Meet Me in St Louis. It is about love at first sight when you are 17 years old. It is very innocent and excitable and a lot of fun to perform."

Sirens of the Silver Screen will be staged at Ductac, Mall of the Emirates, on Saturday. Show starts at 8pm. Tickets cost from Dh100 for adults; Dh75 for students. For more information, visit www.ductac.org

aahmed@thenational.ae

Bio

Born in Dibba, Sharjah in 1972.
He is the eldest among 11 brothers and sisters.
He was educated in Sharjah schools and is a graduate of UAE University in Al Ain.
He has written poetry for 30 years and has had work published in local newspapers.
He likes all kinds of adventure movies that relate to his work.
His dream is a safe and preserved environment for all humankind. 
His favourite book is The Quran, and 'Maze of Innovation and Creativity', written by his brother.

SPECS

Engine: Two-litre four-cylinder turbo
Power: 235hp
Torque: 350Nm
Transmission: Nine-speed automatic
Price: From Dh167,500 ($45,000)
On sale: Now

Specs: 2024 McLaren Artura Spider

Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 and electric motor
Max power: 700hp at 7,500rpm
Max torque: 720Nm at 2,250rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch auto
0-100km/h: 3.0sec
Top speed: 330kph
Price: From Dh1.14 million ($311,000)
On sale: Now

Points classification after Stage 4

1. Arnaud Demare (France / FDJ) 124

2. Marcel Kittel (Germany / Quick-Step) 81

3. Michael Matthews (Australia / Sunweb) 66

4. Andre Greipel (Germany / Lotto) 63

5. Alexander Kristoff (Norway / Katusha) 43

Mumbai Indians 213/6 (20 ov)

Royal Challengers Bangalore 167/8 (20 ov)

SCORES

Yorkshire Vikings 144-1 in 12.5 overs
(Tom Kohler 72 not out, Harry Broook 42 not out)
bt Hobart Hurricanes 140-7 in 20 overs
(Caleb Jewell 38, Sean Willis 35, Karl Carver 2-29, Josh Shaw 2-39)

Representing UAE overseas

If Catherine Richards debuts for Wales in the Six Nations, she will be the latest to have made it from the UAE to the top tier of the international game in the oval ball codes.

Seren Gough-Walters (Wales rugby league)
Born in Dubai, raised in Sharjah, and once an immigration officer at the British Embassy in Abu Dhabi, she debuted for Wales in rugby league in 2021.

Sophie Shams (England sevens)
With an Emirati father and English mother, Shams excelled at rugby at school in Dubai, and went on to represent England on the sevens circuit.

Fiona Reidy (Ireland)
Made her Test rugby bow for Ireland against England in 2015, having played for four years in the capital with Abu Dhabi Harlequins previously.

The specs: 2018 Jaguar F-Type Convertible

Price, base / as tested: Dh283,080 / Dh318,465

Engine: 2.0-litre inline four-cylinder

Transmission: Eight-speed automatic

Power: 295hp @ 5,500rpm

Torque: 400Nm @ 1,500rpm

Fuel economy, combined: 7.2L / 100km

Teams

India (playing XI): Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Hanuma Vihari, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami

South Africa (squad): Faf du Plessis (c), Temba Bavuma, Theunis de Bruyn, Quinton de Kock, Dean Elgar, Zubayr Hamza, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Senuran Muthusamy, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Vernon Philander, Dane Piedt, Kagiso Rabada, Rudi Second


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