Former hurler to play George Best

Published Tuesday, 25 May 2010
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A former hurler has landed the role of George Best in a new musical, Dancing Shoes, which will be staged at the Grand Opera House in Belfast at the end of July.

Aidan O'Neill, who was born in Tipperary but brought up in Tyrone, was unveiled on Tuesday at the airport named after the Belfast legend.

"I landed in from London yesterday into the airport and because I'm away from all this I don't see the hype that's going on", Aidan O'Neill told UTV.

"When I landed yesterday I just saw his name and I thought OK this is bigger than I thought it was, you know. So the pressure is massive and because he's such a massive legend, people are going to be coming and watching me and saying I knew him, you know, and is that him or is that not. So I have huge pressure on my shoulders."

Dancing Shoes, which has been written by Marie Jones and Martin Lynch, shows the turbulent life of the football genius, from his childhood on the Cregagh estate, to a life of fame and controversy.

Writer Marie Jones said there was "something about Aiden".

"You kind of know when it's right and he's not the actual spit of George Best but that would have been wrong because we're not looking for a look alike, we are looking for someone who can capture the essence of that person", she told UTV.

Martin Lynch, whose company GBL is producing Dancing Shoes, said: "We are delighted to work with local children in whom we hope we can instill our love of writing and acting."

"There have been films, dance pieces and numerous documentaries but we think that we have come up with something really, really special for a stage play."

Directed by Peter Sheridan, the show will also star Belfast women Alana Kerr, Kerri Quinn, Maria Connolly as well as Paddy Jenkins, Conor Grimes, Matthew McElhinney, Marty Maguire and Packy Lee.

Dancing Shoes will be staged in the Grand Opera House from 28 July until 14 August before travelling to other cities including Dublin and Glasgow.

UTV has been following the progress of the George Best musical. The first of four documentaries will be broadcast in July.

© UTV News
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2 Comments
Higgy in Canada wrote (1,429 days ago):
Why didn't jj gilmour get a mention? Rubbish!
Fiona McDermott in co Tyrone wrote (1,430 days ago):
Loving the fact Aiden is playing George Best he is a fantastic actor
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