Theatre Review: ‘Forget Turkey’ at the Lyric Threatre

BY NIALL COLEMAN

For most people in Northern Ireland, 2013 has been a year that we very much like to brush under the metaphorical carpet. The removal of ‘the fleg’ at Belfast City Hall, farcical bickering in Stormont Castle and the on-going “civil rights” campaign at the Twaddell Avenue camp have certainly not left journalists with any case of writer’s block. Indeed, we could even be forgiven for saying “if you didn’t laugh, you’d cry”. Thanks to the satirical genius and all-round ballsiness of Colin Murphy, Gary Mitchell and Dan Gordon, we can at least say that we laughed at this satirical Christmas special ‘Belfast style’. The trio have built upon the success of last Christmas’ “Forget Turkey (We’re Going to Phuket this Christmas)”, with this year’s appearance at Belfast’s Lyric Theatre, “Forget Turkey (We’re Going to Phuket Again)”.

To describe what this was about would be difficult – although this restricts none of the hilarity and I often found myself laughing a bit harder than the average theatre-goer, which I none-to-often had to disguise as a fit of coughing. Think ‘Brass Eye’ meets ‘Give My Head Peace’ meets ‘Little Britain’ – a series of sketches tied together by the under-running narrative of our main character, Arthur, the polite and delightfully camp Polish shop assistant, who, like everyone else, wants peace and harmony at Christmas.

Of course, one needs look no further than to the names of those who created “Forget Turkey” – the trio of Murphy, Mitchell and Gordon – to realise that this is far from a family friendly Christmas tale. With keen perception, sharp wit and the all-important Belfast accent, the ensemble have created something truly hilarious; by the play’s end, we asked ourselves “if we can’t laugh at ourselves, who can we laugh at?”

A basic set and an impressive collection of songs, videos and pictures projected upon the stage created something which we could not take our eyes from, with set and costume changes almost instantaneous, it was good to see the actor’s enjoying themselves and putting on a great show. Not for the easily offended, “Forget Turkey” grants mercy to no man, with the likes of Gerry Adams, Conal McDevitt and Rory McIlroy all slain by the sharp tongues of an acting ensemble who answer to no one.

“Forget the Turkey” isn’t all about ‘feck’ and ‘flegs’, however, as the sketches are tied together by a touchingly hilarious and typically “Norn Irish” sense of humour. Closing with a spoof cover of the Pogues and Kirsty McCall’s “Fairytale of New York”, revellers were in stitches at the final verse – “The big men up in Stormont don’t really speak for me, Cos’ the streets of North Belfast are full of pee”. Hats off to Murphy, Mitchell and Gordon – five stars.

Forget Turket runs until the 12th of January at the Lyric Theatre. Find tickets here: http://tinyurl.com/nnuf2nw

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