Review: Turkey

Turkey
The Hope Theatre
5*

‘Madeline wants a baby, so a baby she will have’.  This first line of the play’s synopsis sets the tone perfectly for bold and explosive evening at the theatre.

The Hope Theatre is based on Islington’s Upper Street above the Hope and Anchor pub.  The pub and it’s staff are bright, warm and welcoming, and act as the perfect foil to Matthew Parker’s studio above them.  Thanks to much hard work, the Hope Theatre is that rare thing, a sustainable fringe venue that ensures people are paid a legal wage.  At the risk of dropping a groan-worthy pun, it certainly lives up to it’s name and gives some real hope to the future of the arts.

Frankie Meredith’s writing is sharp, clever and ferociously funny. Her first full length play sees the character Madeline willing to stop at nothing to have the baby she craves.  Peyvand Sadeghian’s performance is defiant and uncompromising, and serves as the main conduit between the other two characters.  Whilst we are definitely following her journey, the other two characters in this intimate ensemble piece are anything but incidental.

Harriet Green’s Toni, a force of nature in her own right, shows us an ambitious and passionate young woman.  Her intelligent performance proves that whilst one can compromise to ensure the happiness of a partner, the pain of fragility and the possibility of ending up as ‘collateral damage’ are never really that far away.  A bittersweet insight into the human condition, and an all too relatable couple’s argument over the price of a cabbage.

Cameron Robertson’s Michael is a man in stasis.  Having endured the unendurable in losing a child, (Madeline’s ex)his life has hit the pause button.  When Madeline arrives back in his life she may blow away the cobwebs but her desires leave Michael in a less-than ideal situation.  Cameron Roberston’s performance is warm, funny and touching as he hides Michael’s aching heart with a wistful smile.

Mercy Phillips’ sound design is what hits you straight away in the space, a brash and unapologetic soundtrack of loud rock music and hip hop such as the Beastie Boys spur us along this rollercoaster ride of desire, love, sex and heartache.  Niall Phillips’ direction is perfectly paced, and pleasingly relentless. Special mention must go to the transitions between scenes, a heady mixture of loud music, dim lighting and choreographed moves to show the passing of time.  Simple and so effective, I never lost track of when or where I was.

Refreshingly Queer, ‘Turkey’ shows us characters to whom sexuality really is only one part of them, but still an important part.  For anyone who wants an experience, for anyone who wants to see how exciting the future of fringe theatre is, ‘Turkey’ is one to see!

On at the Hope Theatre until Oct 14th 2017.  Book now.

© Jezza Donovan 2017

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