Bye Bye from London
Abdulhussein Abdulredha takes his final bow
Kuwaitis of all walks of life, demographics and affiliations took the passing away of iconic comedic actor Abdulhussein Abdulredha with a heavy heart, as local and Arab outlets, in addition to social media platforms announced the sad news about the renowned ‘Abu Adnan’. “Get off my back, I’m in London to have fun, to change scenery and enjoy myself. I’m not in London to be hospitalized,” was a line ‘Abu Adnan’ said in the 1981 play “Bye Bye London.” He was announced dead at the age of 78 in one of London’s hospitals last night.
Born on July 15, 1939 in Dirwazat Abdulrazzaq, Sharq, Kuwait, Abdulredha ranked the seventh among 14 siblings. He did not start his career as an actor, but first worked in the Department of Printing of the Ministry of Guidance and Information. He then traveled on a scholarship to Egypt in 1956 to learn printmaking, and in 1961 he traveled on a mission to Germany to complete his studies in printmaking arts.
A son of a ‘Nokhetha’ or sea captain, Abdulredha’s talent of performing to crowds and ability to make people laugh started with him as a young boy, entertaining his mother with his siblings while his father was away for months a year. This raw talent then was nurtured, developed and put on the right track after Abdulredha returned from Germany and started working with Egyptian director Zaki Tulaimat, before a young Abdulredha began to carve his own way to become one of Kuwait’s and the Arabian Gulf’s art pillars.
With dozens of plays, TV and radio series that spanned from the early 1960s all the way to the early years of this Millinnium, Abdulredha had long established himself as among the few Gulf actors to sear their names in the Arabic artistic memory. His side-splitting slapstick comedy in the 1960s (eg Hawer Zawer, Al-Malgouf), dapper and dashing performances during the 1970s (eg Bani Samit, Thahiyat Beit Al-Ezz), and mature and well-rounded productions in the 1980s (eg Fursan Al-Manakh, Bye Bye Arab), continued until the end of his career, and eventually his life. Abdulredha kept on going, unstoppable, even bullets could not steer him off.
He was the target of an assassination attempt due to his role portraying the former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in the 1991 play (Seif AlArab). Arguably, one of the best whoever mastered the role, Abdulredha refused to cancel, or even delay the show for that night even though he was fired at while on the way to the theater. Frequently referred to as Kuwait’s forth Tower, Abdulredha was in many ways, and seen by many of his fans of different generations, as the personification of the Kuwaiti man, whether it was for his political humor, social rants, or even own speech and appearance. — KUNA