Forget Turkey – sketches, songs, political satire & belly laughs

The Lyric Theatre’s Forget Turkey is packed full of sketches, songs, spoof adverts and a narrative thread about a supermarket that’s closing its shutters.

Multimedia rich and packed with more laughs a minute than any show I’ve attended in years, Forget Turkey starts strongly with a musical review of the year that covers local and world events. Images are projected onto the gable wall of a house, with lyrics of some of the songs appearing to tempt the audience to join in. Politics is never far away.

“Every time someone says something [about the future] someone else goes to get a shovel to dig up the past.”

Nothing is sacred.

Forget Turkey Michael Condron SF minister 071213SH_0160The triumvirate of writers get laughs out of the most inappropriate subjects: Oscar Pistorius’ alleged murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, Jimmy Saville, the Maze/Long Kesh, the Peru Two, not to mention Gerry Adams’ forgetfulness.

Conall McDevitt’s departure from politics along with “Anchorman” Mike Nesbitt are granted their own songs during the show. The SDLP and UUP headquarters staff should really join up to go and see it! The Nolan Show team might want to keep Stephen away from the Lyric for the next few weeks.

Willie ‘Abu Hamza’ Frazer and Jamie ‘mouth taped’ Bryson get the treatment too, along with an intimate call between ex-News International executives Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson which inspired one audience member to sway along with his cigarette lighter lit.

The Mrs de Brún’s Boys sketch was very popular with the audience. The pace was consistent and it was rare for a joke to fall flat. The audience giggled and tittered and belly laughed no matter which culture or politician was being lampooned throughout the two hour and a half hour performance. (And I was at an early evening show which started at 17:45!)

Audience participation is encouraged – in fact, demanded – and the four actors bounce off the audience reaction and adapt their script with glee.

You can get your photograph taken with local cardboard celebrity scenes (including that landrover) in the Lyric’s foyer. As a bonus, the programme doubles up as a 2014 calendar with scenes from the show for each month.

The language is strong throughout and it’s very much a show for a new Northern Ireland that can embrace diversity and move on from its past. The refrain in the final song seems to sum up the writers’ vision:

“The boys and girls up at the big house don’t speak for me.”

Forget Turkey has seven performances a week and runs in Belfast’s Lyric Theatre until 12 January. Highly recommended if you’re not easily offended. [Ed – Easily offended? You’re reading this on Slugger!]

Alan Meban. Normally to be found blogging over at Alan in Belfast where you’ll find an irregular set of postings, weaving an intricate pattern around a diverse set of subjects. Comment on cinema, books, technology and the occasional rant about life. On Slugger, the posts will mainly be about political events and processes. Tweets as @alaninbelfast.