Liverpool FC star Jamie Carragher held the official launch of a new play by Kirkby-born playwright Nicky Allt at his bar Cafe Sports England in the city centre last night.
One Night in Istanbul gives an alternative view of the historic night Liverpool FC clinched its fifth European Cup for keeps from the fans’ perspective.
LFC stars Jamie Carragher, Steven Gerrard, Xabi Alonso together with Manchester City player Dietmar Hamann – a player for Liverpool Football Club on that memorable night – arrived at the venue, in Stanley Street, to support this exciting new play.
Steven Gerrard said: “It’s a night I’ll never forget and it’s great to have such a gifted local writer bring this night to the stage in Liverpool and hopefully to other places where there is strong support for this great club.”
One Night in Istanbul is supported by a great cast including comedian John Bishop, former Brookside actors John McArdle and Steven Fletcher and Christine Tremarco, who currently appears in BBC drama Waterloo Road, has also been confirmed.
The launch evening was bustling with excitement as Liverpool FC defender Jamie Carragher was only too aware what the famous night in May meant to his fans. He said: “I know how much of a night this was for fans of Liverpool Football Club, but equally it was the same feeling for the players, if not, more. But hopefully we might win the European Champions League Cup again and give them more to feel happy about.”
One Night in Istanbul tells the journey of Tom and Gerry, based on two known supporters to LFC’s travelling fraternity, who head to Istanbul to see their beloved Liverpool take on Italian champions AC Milan.
In order to pay for their trip, Tom and Gerry have to find the Grand Bazaar to sell Adolf Hitler’s cufflinks.
“It’s a really good story,” said John Bishop, who will play the part of Tom. “Nicky is a really gifted writer and having some of the players here tonight shows how much they support what he’s doing.”
Actor John McArdle was equally impressed with the script having been cast to play the part of Gerry. He added: “It was a brilliant idea and only Nicky could write something like this.
“I’m a massive Red as well, but unfortunately couldn’t get to go to the final in Istanbul. Nicky went and has told me all about his experience though!
“We hope some Evertonians come and support and see the show because it was a night the city shouldn’t forget!”
As Liverpool’s fight back unfolds, from being 3-0 down to levelling 3-3 after ninety minutes and winning famously by penalties in the Ataturk Stadium, Tom and Gerry recall their own and Liverpool’s past European conquests while all the time dreaming of that fifth big win that’ll mean the European Cup is for keeps.
James Spofforth, who appeared in Stags and Hens at the Royal Court recently, and Steven Fletcher have been cast as Tom and Gerry’s sons, Jamie and Joseph, respectively.
As circumstances unravel in this football fairytale – leading to a case of mistaken identity with two Turkish thieves over some stolen cash – the audience can expect, like that famous May night, some surprises thrown in for good measure.
The play is being produced by Bang On Top Productions, a company set up by Nicky Allt with his business partners Emile Coleman, a lecturer at Liverpool Community College, and Frank Bentley.
Following its appearance in Liverpool, One Night in Istanbul will be taken on a tour Coleman confirmed. He said: “This play is going to Dublin and Oslo and I know it’s going to be a massive success. Nicky is the best playwright in Liverpool right now. The work he’s done in the past with Dave Kirby and his other writing has changed the concept of theatre in this city. When he asked me to get involved with his production company I was absolutely delighted. I knew it would work and it’s not going to be just football related shows we’re going to do because he is gifted at writing about other issues. I don’t even follow football anyway!”
In the meantime, however, Coleman will be working with his students at Liverpool Community College on One Night in Istanbul. He added: “All the students are working on the programme for the play, behind the scenes on the production side, and one of them is even being cast in the show.”
Coleman also mentioned television production companies have also expressed interest in this new play by Allt.
One Night in Istanbul appears at the Liverpool Empire theatre 9-18 July.
The above was used for the following website here
*Photographs taken by Chris Chadwick