Turkey is Frankie Meredith’s first full-length play. It centres around Madeline (Peyvand Sadeghian) who desperately wants to have a baby. The fact that she is in a relationship with a woman, Toni (Harriet Green), or that they just about make ends meet, or that they can’t afford private fertility clinic fees, fails to deter Madeline. She will become pregnant, one-way or another. Toni – stable, doting and sensible as she is – will do whatever makes Madeline happy, but when she can’t give her the one thing she wants most, will Madeline go looking for it elsewhere?
Directed by Niall Phillips, Turkey is a modern domestic drama with a subtle but impactful flow of events. Adding Michael (Cameron Robertson) into the mix, the almost-old father of Madeline’s dead ex-boyfriend, creates a cast of just three. Considering this and the running time of 70 minutes, it is a nicely bite-sized chunk of theatre. Relatable and modest, Turkey has a simple premise, making it accessible. It is a story that is fully conceivable, and while a text doesn’t have to be this to be enjoyable, it is nice to see writing that is well executed and doesn’t try too hard or have a crazy plot.
Set design is understated but symbolic, with green hanging plants suspended from the ceiling and crunchy auburn autumn leaves littered on the floor, presumably to represent life and death. Not exactly innovative, but it does the job and frames the actors well. Robertson is bumbling and sweet as deceased Ben’s father and Madeline’s confidant, while Green is supporting and strong as Toni. Madeline, who doesn’t really seem to know what she wants or what she’s doing, skilfully manipulates the pair. The cast are great, but it is Sadeghian who shines brightest.
Meredith’s writing is current and funny and will be familiar to many young people living in the city today (I’m sure most of us have had an argument in Aldi with our significant other over a cabbage). The girls want the same things most of us want: a steady job, a family in the future and to be able to afford a mortgage on a property within zone 6. The play’s crux isn’t in the girls’ sexualities, it is just a factor that creates a problem and therefore must be considered, but it doesn’t consume their identity, which is a good thing. Impactful with little effort, Turkey shows us a couple of people trying to figure out life, while infidelity, love, death and lies get in the way.
Turkey played at The Hope Theatre until October 14 2017.
Photo: The Hope Theatre