Everything you need to know about Summer Season 2017

Discover two months of fun at Abu Dhabi's hot Summer Season, including comedy, kids entertainment, Bollywood shows and more Discuss this article

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Summer is in full swing – and the entertainment has never been hotter in Abu Dhabi.

Many say this is the time of the year the city slows down, but tourism bosses are going into overdrive to ensure this summer sizzles rather than fizzles out. As the mercury rises so does the fun – which will be amped up to factor 50 for the return of the Abu Dhabi Summer Season extravaganza. So don’t be afraid to head outside and bask in an incredible line-up of entertainment. Here's what's on offer...

Five funny facts about Mike Epps

One of America’s top comedy stars, Mike Epps, will be making his UAE debut with a one-night-only showcase as part of Abu Dhabi Summer Season. He’s had a pretty “Epp-ic” (sorry) career already, but here are five funny facts you probably don’t know about the comic talent. You’re welcome.

1. Epps got his big screen break after being cast in Fast and Furious star Vin Diesel’s dark and moody directorial debut Strays, back in 1997. The comedian played, funnily enough, a guy called Mike.

2. The veteran will portray the legendary Richard Pryor in an upcoming biopic of his life. Richard Pryor: Is it Something I Said is being produced by rap icon Jay-Z. Epps also played the role of Pryor in Nina, a 2016 film about another American great, Nina Simone.

3. Epps stepped into the formidable shoes of the late, great John Candy, when he took over the mantle of the beloved Uncle Buck in a 2016 comedy series reprisal of the 1989 Hollywood hit. The show buckled under the pressure, however, and was cancelled after just eight episodes.

4. The stage star was part of America’s biggest sporting spectacle, the Super Bowl, in 2012. He acted as an ambassador for the showpiece event as it was being hosted in his native Indianapolis.

5. The comic courted controversy earlier this year after he brought a kangaroo on stage with him during a show in Detroit. The punchline backfired badly, as the animal thumped him in the face. Just don’t try it with a camel in Abu Dhabi, Mike. It definitely will get the hump.

Mike’s Middle East debut

Ever-popular performer Mike Epps will be bringing a slice of Hollywood hilarity to Al Raha Beach Theatre on August 18. Get your tickets now and don't miss out!

From Dhs145. Fri Aug 18. 6.30pm. Al Raha Beach Theatre, Al Raha, www.platinumlist.net.

Bollywood brilliance: Salim and Sulaiman

From the West End to the opening ceremony of the World Cup, superstar siblings Salim and Sulaiman have helped bring Bollywood to the globe. Now the multi-talented musical composers and performers will be taking the Emirates Palace by storm. The brothers will be joined by a terrific troupe of 20 musicians, singers and dancers for a fantastic three-hour show paying homage to the pomp, ceremony and flamboyant colour of Indian culture.

Salim and Sulaiman performed their World Cup 2010 anthem, Africa – You’re a Star!, in front of 86,000 fans at the tournament’s opening ceremony in South Africa, have composed scores for countless Bollywood films and collaborated with international stars such as Enrique Iglesias and Lady Gaga.

From Dhs100 to Dhs1,000. Fri, Aug 18, 7.30pm. Emirates Palace, West Corniche Road, www.platinumlist.net

Band of brothers: Our favourite musical siblings

The Beach Boys
One of the greatest bands of all time, who gave the world iconic hits such as Surfin’ USA, Wouldn’t It Be Nice and Good Vibrations, was originally made up of three brothers: Brian, Dennis and Carl Wilson, their cousin Mike Love and pal Al Jardine. While legal wrangles, multiple fallouts and tragedy have struck the group over the decades, their legacy will always endure.

The Jackson Five

While it was the hugely gifted Michael that went onto become a solo sensation, some of our warmest memories of the prince of pop are as an innocent youngster showcasing his burgeoning talent with his older brothers in the Jackson Five.

The Gallaghers

Admittedly, there’s is more of a hate-hate than a love-hate relationship these days, but it’s hard to deny the raw talent and swagger the duo brought to the Britpop scene as leaders of chart-toppers Oasis. We will never look back in anger when it comes to these guys.

Iftah Ya Simsim

The Arabian version of American smash hit Sesame Street made a triumphant return to the small screen in 2015 – after a 25-year hiatus. A standard bearer for edutainment (a blend of education and entertainment), Iftah Ya Simsim has proved a huge success upon its return. A quartet of the shows’ top characters will be taking over Yas Mall for a triple-header of live shows written especially with the Abu Dhabi summer in mind. After the all-singing, all-dancing summer adventures of each show, kids will also get the chance to meet the characters and enjoy arts and crafts.

Meet the cast


Everyone’s favourite furry red monster is constantly trying to make sense of the world, all while having lots of fun.

An ageless blue being ready to save the world and who never lets the odd mishap along the way get him down.

The friendly giant loves music and can often be seen humming along to his favourite tune.

A quick-witted, confident little bundle of energy, who is never short of a quip or afraid to speak her mind.

Free. Thu Aug 3-Sat Aug 5, 4pm-10pm. Yas Mall, Yas Island.

Tom and Jerry: A timeless rivalry through the years

The great cartoon rivals, created by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera made their debut as Jasper and Jinx. They only got their familiar monikers when Hanna-Barbera offered studio employees a cash prize to come up with more suitable names. A total of 114 episodes were produced for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), with Tom and Jerry scooping a record-tying seven Oscars during this period.


Tom and Jerry returned to the small screen under the guidance of director Gene Deitch for 13 episodes. It was most notable for the introduction of a new character, Tom’s owner Clint Cobbler, who gave our feline friend a tougher time than even Jerry.

The animated agitators made a comeback under original creators Hanna-Barbera, but the cantankerous cat and the mischievous mouse were now best buddies (yes, really) due to stricter rules over violence on kids’ TV programmes. Jerry even sported a new red bow-tie to mark the cordial change in attitude.

The start of the ’90s saw Tom and Jerry show they were down with the kids. While rivalries were now thankfully renewed, Tom and Jerry Kids created baby-sized versions of the pair to appeal to an even younger market. Jerry again had to slip on his red bow-tie, while Tom tried to keep up with the trends by wearing a red baseball cap.

2014-present day
The revamped Warner Bros series uses a number of plot devices, including the traditional cat-and-mouse chase, as well as other scenarios where Tom and Jerry work together, such as when the two team up to front a detective agency.

Double the fun in Abu Dhabi

Everyone’s favourite cartoon duo are still fighting like cat and, well, mouse, actually. The Tom & Jerry Live Show – The Crystal Quest, sees the pair attempt to get on the same page as they are transported to the long-lost Pawprint Island on a quest to find the four Lost Crystals of the Amulet. No, we’re not sure what that is all about either, but the kids will love it. Meanwhile, Tom & Jerry – The Cheese Maze, is an interactive maze where the little ones can get right in the thick of the action.

Tom and Jerry – The Crystal Quest: From Dhs100. Fri Jul 21-Sun Jul 23, 6.30pm-8.15pm (Jul 21), 3pm-4.45pm, 6.30pm-8.15pm (Jul 22 and 23). July 27-29, Al Ain Municipality Theatre.

Tom and Jerry – The Cheese Maze: Aug 13-19, 5pm-5.30pm, 7.30pm-8pm, 9.30pm-10pm. Dalma Mall.

Masha and the Bear on Ice

This hugely popular TV and stage show chronicles the adventures of a three-year-old girl named Masha and a protective, retired circus star bear who continually helps steer her clear of impending disaster. The enchanting, heartwarming cartoon, which is loosely based around a traditional folk tale, has not only proved a huge hit in Russia but has garnered massive audiences all over the world. The show has been translated into 25 languages and has been broadcast in 100 countries. The ice show promises to dazzle and delight in equal measure, with a fantastic theatrical performance supplied by a talented team of 30 ice skaters, dancers and acrobats who will bring the wonderful story to life. Theatre, music and figure skating is all rolled into one in an unforgettable, family-friendly show.
From Dhs95 to Dhs245. Fri July 28, 3pm and 6.30pm; Sat July 29, 3pm. Zayed Sports City ice Rink. Tickets available from www.tixbox.com.

Ahmed El Bayed: the Middle East’s answer to David Blaine

They say the only limit to your dreams is your imagination. Well, Ahmed El Bayed, dubbed the Middle East’s pioneer illusionist, has been dreaming as big as anyone since the tender age of five. The Saudi Arabian performer’s grand ambitions reached new heights in 2011 – when he revealed a bold plan to make one of the iconic pyramids in Egypt vanish from sight (yes, really). Unfortunately, circumstances beyond his control halted the project. Much like American star David Blaine, El Bayed is prepared to truly suffer for his art, blurring the lines between what we think we see and what we truly believe.

He says one of his most challenging projects was driving blindfolded in Skull Valley, Arizona, for a TV show.

El Bayed explains: “The host covered my eyes with clay, coins, a black metal mask and black bag so no light could get through. I drove fast and a few times a truck came close, but before we crashed the host tapped my shoulder; through him I saw the road.”

Another daring mission saw him submerged under a frozen lake in a box for four minutes in the ice-cold temperatures of the North Pole.

El Bayed adds: “I had to train my muscles to store oxygen to adapt to the cold. If you dip into icy water you breathe heavily as a reaction. I had to maintain a calm mental state to last longer in the water. I was ill for a week until I acclimatised.”

The maverick once even dislocated his right shoulder when tied to two horses trying to pull him apart and cracked a kneecap while attempting to escape an area before spikes dropped on him.

A career of death-defying stunts, however, was actually kick-started by a simple sleight-of-hand-trick from his grandfather. It captivated a young Al Bayed – and changed his life forever.

He explains: “When I was five, my grandpa held a napkin in his hand with coins hidden behind it. He showed me the napkin empty on both sides, before wrapping it around his fingers and bringing out the coins. I was amazed, so I started practising it. Then other people showed me card tricks.”

He is sure to have plenty more tricks up his sleeve for his three dates in Abu Dhabi.

See it to believe it

The awe-inspiring performer has wowed fans on all corners of the planet during a remarkable 14-year career. It has been packed full of death-defying stunts and incredible illusions so mind-blowing they are almost impossible to comprehend.

He will be taking over Al Raha Beach Theatre for a trio of show-stopping performances from August 3 to 5 as part of his Take Off World Tour. Known for audacious acts that bend the realms of reality, physics and even the laws of gravity, you really will be missing out if you don’t catch El Bayed on stage.
From Dhs300. August 3-5, 7pm-9pm. Al Raha Beach Theatre, www.abudhabievents.ae (800 555).

FIFA Club World Cup: Back in the UAE

It’s been far too long, hasn’t it? Abu Dhabi will play host to club football’s version of the World Cup for the third time this December – seven long years after the tournament was last held in the emirate.
The huge global gathering, which will see title winners from six continents pitted against each other, was brought to Abu Dhabi for the very first time in 2009.

Then, all-conquering Barcelona, led by the irrepressible Pep Guardiola, saw off their international rivals to claim a record-smashing sixth trophy of the calendar year. The Spanish giants battled back from a goal behind to claim their place in the history books with a 2-1 win after extra-time over Argentina’s Estudiantes. Unsurprisingly, the silky-skilled Spaniards proved the major draw for the tournament, with their two games attracting over 80,000 fans, helping to make the Abu Dhabi debut a big success.

The capital didn’t have to wait long for its next taste of the big time, as the FIFA Club World Cup returned in 2010.
Europe’s dominance of the event continued as seasoned Italians Inter Milan clinched the title for the first time. Inter faced surprise opposition in the showpiece final in the form of Congolese outfit TP Mazembe. Their fairy tale run came to a shuddering halt at the hands of the ultra-professional Serie A team, who eased to a 3-0 win. Crowd averages were up 6,000 per game for the festival of football, showing that sometimes sequels can be even better than the original.

Encouraging pre-tournament ticket sales indicate the third time will be the charm, too.

Kick off the action early

A series of mobile roadshows are being held in the run-up to the tournament, with three days of activities lined up at Bawadi Mall during Summer Season. A host of activities will test football knowledge and skills, with a chance to win a match ticket for the tournament.
Dhs20. Thu Aug 3- Sat Aug 5. Bawadi Mall, Al Ain.

Bag a top prize at the mall

From July 14 to August 20, shoppers who spend Dhs200 at any outlet in participating malls will be entered into a weekly raffle, with incredible prizes including a shiny BMW car and an Abu Dhabi Experience package, comprised of a two-night stay in a five-star hotel with a chance to see top city sights. As well as the fantastic gifts on offer, shoppers can take advantage of excellent discount sales on offer throughout the season.

Your route to rewards: The malls taking part

Al Ain Mall, Al Wahda Mall, Babawat Al Sharq, Bawadi Mall (Al Ain), City Mall (Al Dhafra), Dalma Mall, Deerfields Mall, Khalidiyah Mall, Marina Mall, Mushrif Mall, The Galleria, and The Mall at World Trade Center.

Talents around the World

You can enjoy a whole world of entertainment under one roof throughout the entire Summer Season. The Talents Around the World show will be invading Al Ain until the end of August, with everything from Irish dancing, hip-hop performers and circus stars being rolled out for the massive extravaganza. Hip-hop dance group XIX Crew, acrobatic performers Habasha Circus Group and Khulan Circus Group, shadow show performers Verba, Irish tap dancers Narnia and UV reflector performance group Melange are hitting the stage to perform their winning showcases from their country’s Got Talent or other talent shows abroad. See how they impressed the judges...
Until Aug 31, 5pm-10pm. Bawadi Mall, Main Atrium Stage.

How the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles took over the world

One seemingly mundane evening shared by two pals spawned a creative legacy that has now spanned 33 years. Back in 1983, Kevin Eastman decided to doodle a drawing of an anthropomorphised turtle, wearing a ninja mask and carrying a blade, and show it to friend Peter Laird. By the end of the evening, sketches of all four turtles had been created and, before long, they had been named Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by the two artists. A year later, a comic strip was published by Eastman and Laird’s Mirage Studios (so named as there was no actual studio other than Laird’s living room) with the animated TV series following in 1987. A 1990 Hollywood movie success, along with a number of money-spinning video games kept the turtles on top, with the quartet making a blockbuster return to the big screen in 2014. Eastman and Laird named their creations after four Italian masters, with a nod to their own mutual love of art history. In the show itself, the turtles’ rodent sensei, Master Splinter, names the four after finding a book on Renaissance artists in a storm drain.

Turtles are in town

The crime-fighting, sewer-dwelling, pizza-loving heroes in a half shell will be bringing the mean streets of New York to the Middle East. Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo and Raphael will be popping over to Bawadi Mall, Al Ain, to host Green & Extreme, an interactive show packed with family-friendly activities, including the Turtles Tyre Race and Balloon Power.
Free. Aug 9-12. Bawadi Mall, Al Ain.

By Chris Maxwell
Time Out Abu Dhabi,

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