Goodbye Erdogan @ Fishing Museum Loft, The Old Net Room (Brighton Fringe Festival 2023) Review

On Sunday 28th May 2023, the results of the Turkish general elections were revealed. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, leader of right wing party ‘Justice and Development’ securing his position as Turkey’s 12th president which he has held for 20 years now. His opponent Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of the centre left ‘Republican People’s Party’ seen as a genuine rival but losing out to Erdogan’s 52.1% victory. A commentary on the many years of political unrest leading up to this year’s final result, Turkish native Betal presents Goodbye Erdogan – political theatre at its purest.

Through the eyes of courtroom clerk Sevki Duru (Betal), we see the harshness and brutality of the world around him – the subterranean vault he occupies filled with weaponry used within various crimes symbols of the injustices carried out amongst Turkish society. The dark, dingy setting of the Fishing Museum loft perfectly immersing us into unknown territory, Sevki Duru our guiding light.

The evening’s enigmatic feel one that grasps the heaviness and unpredictability of political unrest, Sevki Duru speaking of a time where he was able to walk the streets of Istanbul with ease – taking in the Islamic calls to prayer that resonate around a peaceful ode to faith, watching the world go by whilst drinking a coffee something cherished more so. Now an asylum seeker traumatised by memories of protest, gun shots, funerals and the ever growing division that occurs.

Betal’s organic storytelling format informs us of his current plight, underneath the glitz of the elective process do we really see what these elections mean to the people, and how they shape society. Betal’s mentioning of the protests within a well known US based publication zoning in on the weird notion of receiving a platform to have his voice heard to millions of people internationally yet there not being much of a reaction – compared to receiving a platform on a Turkish owned publication with an audience a lot more familiar with the issue covered.

Beautifully framed by projected images throughout, we visualise what Betal does. At one point, Betal using a square panel to magnify the faces of those he’s left behind – this making for a stark theatrical moment.

An understated rallying cry to anyone who seeks positive change.

Written by Lucy Basaba.

Goodbye Erdogan was shown from Thursday 25th until Sunday 28th May 2023 at Fishing Museum Loft, The Old Net Room as part of this year’s Brighton Fringe Festival. To find out more about the production, visit here…

Written by Theatrefullstop