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Theatre review: One Night in Istanbul/Liverpool Empire

Ian Moore finds something to shout about - but only if you're a Red

Published on May 18th 2010.

Theatre review: One Night in Istanbul/Liverpool Empire

THERE has never been a comeback of such magnitude since Lazarus and it isn’t only the red half of Liverpool who remember that night in Istanbul, the Attaturk Stadium, three down at half time to the mighty AC Milan and all that followed.

One Night in Istanbul, one of many populist theatre pieces doing the rounds in Liverpool of late, receives its third airing in as many years at the Empire this week and, for those who have yet to see it, is a comedy and a history lesson about the Reds road to five European Cups.

A shabby Turkish hotel room is the setting for LFC obsessive’s Gerry (John McArdle) and Tommy (Neil Fitzmaurice) who make the trip for the 2005 Champion’s League final with their two sons.

In order to pay for their trip, Tom and Gerry have to find the Grand Bazaar to sell some cufflinks; Adolf Hitler’s no less.

The play is definitely for the Liverpool fan and would probably find it difficult to generate an audience outside of the city, and if you hate football, it isn’t for you. Essentially it is a documentary wrapped around a one act play which chronicles the club's illustrious history, clips of the great European nights, King Kenny's chip, Alan Kennedy's heroics.

The entire plot is based upon two facts – Liverpool’s win and Hitler’s cufflinks.

Allegedly, in 1981 said cufflinks were on show in a museum in Munich and two supporters simply ambled in and took them. They’ve been under floor boards in Huyton ever since.

Thus, as Liverpool’s fight back unfolds central characters recall their own and Liverpool’s past European conquests, Turkish criminals come and go, bags of money change hands, Hitler’s cufflinks are sold, a holiday romance blossoms and much scouse humour ensues.

One Night in Istanbul is a farce which comes way short of the classic ‘Whitehall’ and ‘Brian Rix’ variery as circumstances unravel in this football fairytale.

The audience should expect, like that famous May night in 2005, some surprises thrown in for good measure but Nicky Allt’s comedy is very much one for the fans – with a over use of match footage on two giant screens, one either side of the shabby hotel set.

Even though the storyline is predictable, it is fun but unlike the match, it isn’t a classic.


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Neil FlahertyNovember 24th 2010.


Constanti-no-ballNovember 25th 2010.

I thought the act was entirely together in this review. Football and Reds fans will get a lot more out of it, for anyone who isn't either of those, they may get a bit or a lot less. That seems fair enough. The whole idea and plot leaves me cold so I wouldn't go and see it but for those who do and who are Liverpool supporters, this is probably a great night. Isn't that what's being said? Seems the problem is often that anything that mentions Liverpool or is scouse based like a lot of the Royal Court productions must get 10/10 or people get upset.

A Fez of the HeartNovember 26th 2010.

Ahrr ay! Calm down, calm down!

Otto MannNovember 26th 2010.

Those fezzes in the photograph look more Moroccan than Turkish.

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