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Old Trafford legend: George Best’s sister moved to tears by stage show

By Ivan Little

A sister of footballing legend George Best has paid an emotional visit to rehearsals for a new musical about her superstar brother, which opens in Belfast in a fortnight’s time.

After seeing the full nine-strong cast for the first time, Barbara McNarry said: “It was extremely difficult for me to watch, especially as the actors brought not only George but my parents to life in front of me.”

In particular, actress Maria Connolly — who plays her mother Annie — moved Barbara to tears at the run through in a church hall in Belfast.

“She looked so like mum it was spooky,” said Barbara.

The new production Dancing Shoes by Belfast writers Martin Lynch and Marie Jones and |musicians JJ Gilmour and Pat Gribben is expected to be a sell-out at Belfast’s Grand Opera House before it tours to Britain.

It tells the story of the Manchester United and Northern Ireland footballing genius from his days as a 10-year-old on the streets of Belfast until his death in November 2005.

Ms McNarry said: “I think they have done an amazing job and they have still another two weeks of rehearsals to go. I think the cast are all extremely strong but the young actor Aidan O’Neill has got George off to a tee.

“He has his cheeky smile, and his brilliant sense of humour is captured to perfection.

“Some of the scenes were particularly powerful, especially the one where my mother and father took George to the boat for his first visit to Old Trafford.

“It was all so accurate. I remember my mother was distraught after seeing George off and she never left him to a boat or an airport again.

“The only time she went back to see a member of the family off was when I was going to South Africa, and within a week my mum had died. So it was all quite moving for me,” she added.

Dancing Shoes opens at the Grand Opera House on July 28. Full details at www.goh.co.uk.

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