A musical dedicated to the colourful life of footballer George Best opens its doors in Belfast this Friday.
‘Dancing Shoes’ tells the life of the Manchester United legend whose boy band looks earned him the nickname ‘The Fifth Beatle’.
Produced by Belfast writers Martin Lynch and Marie Jones and musicians JJ Gilmour and Pat Gribben, Dancing Shoes showcases Best’s trials and tribulations from being a child prodigy to washed up star.
The tragic footballer, who died in 2005 of multiple organ failure following a long battle with alcoholism, was one of the game’s most colourful figures.
His amazing skills and not-so-private life made him one of sport’s biggest names in the 1960s and 70s where he was linked to a number of Miss Worlds.
But Best struggled with alcoholism and gambling addiction and was even handed a three-month prison sentence for drink-driving and assaulting a police officer.
Aidan O’Neill, who takes on the role of Best, told Reuters: “I am a big fan of George Best and he inspired many thousands of people like me all over Ireland.”
The show is particularly poignant following the recent death of fellow Northern Ireland icon Alex Higgins. The snooker player, who also had a famously short fuse and suffered from alcohol problems, was good friends with Best and is portrayed in the musical.
Best’s first wife Angie will attend tomorrow’s premiere alongside son Calum with TV star Michael Parkinson, a good friend of the footballing hero, also attending.
Dancing Shoes show opens on Friday at Belfast’s Grand Opera House and will initially run for two-and-a-half weeks.