Sunday, 13 April 2014

Billy Hayes puts the record straight with Riding the Midnight Express


For a time Billy Hayes became the most hated man in Turkey and the Turkish Diaspora. His autobiographical novel Midnight Express charted his time in Turkish prisons following his conviction for drug smuggling. However the Oscar-winning movie of the same name had numerous key departures, making the story far darker and deeply anti-Turkish.

Riding the Midnight Express is Billy Hayes’ attempt to put the record straight. This captivating one-man show starts with how he came to be in Istanbul, falling in love with the city and its people. In October 1970, he was arrested at Istanbul airport following the discovery of two kilos of hashish taped to his body. The Turkish High Court sentenced him to life in prison. In 1975 he escaped from Imrali Island Prison by rowing 17 miles across the open sea in a raging storm.

It’s an incredible story told by a great narrator, and it’s a show every Turk needs to see to understand that Midnight Express was never intended to be anti-Turkish. Rather this is a candid and often emotional human journey of youthful adventure gone wrong, where bravado turns into a harrowing battle to survive and escape. Its re-telling is as cathartic for us Turks as it is for Billy Hayes.

If you can’t make tonight’s final show at the Soho Theatre in central London, look out for details for a new run at the Edinburgh Festival over the summer. 

Final show: Sunday 13 April 2014  
Venue address: downstairs at Soho Theatre, 21 Dean Street, London W1D 3NE
Tickets:  £20 (£17.50 concessions).
Start time: 7.30pm (show runs approx 70 minutes).


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