On Wednesday 25 May 2005 it became an historic night in the history and folklore of Liverpool Football Club, a night when dreams were broken in the first half but were rebuilt and came true in the second.
Fast forward to July last year and this triumphant moment was recreated on the stage of the Liverpool Empire theatre with the premiere of One Night In Istanbul - the latest theatrical offering from playwright and author Nicky Allt.
It was a scene never before seen in theatre as footballers Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher, Sammy Lee and LFC manager Rafael Benitez took to the stage making their acting debuts.
Stories from that unforgettable night in 2005 have now taken on epic proportion and led to the writing of One Night In Istanbul. The play focuses on the shenanigans and mayhem that one night brings for four football fans whilst in Istanbul.
Allt explains: “Walking the streets of Istanbul euphoric in victory, the day after witnessing the greatest football fairytale of them all, I knew that one day I would write a piece that would try to encompass that unbelievable night. In one way I’d started to write it the moment Liverpool won their first European Cup Final in Rome in 1977.”
The play debuts an audio cameo by Benitez, Gerrard and Carragher, who recreated the half time team talk by recording a voice over to be used in the play.
The original cast of John McArdle, Steven Fletcher, James Spofforth and Ann Marie Davies are reunited for the show, while Neil Fitzmaurice of Phoenix Nights fame takes on the role of Tommy in the place of comedian John Bishop.
Explaining the show’s plot, Allt added: “Fourteen years later and Scousers, Tommy Kelly and Gerry Edwards are in Istanbul hoping their heroes are going to bring ‘ol Big Ears’ back home. Their two sons, Jamie and Joseph tag along, wanting to witness their own little piece of footballing history.
“A bag of money reaches Liverpudlian hands, alerting two Turkish thieves and a sexy cleaner. Four Scousers, Hitlers Cufflinks and 90 minutes of fireworks is bound to cause trouble at the Mamara Hotel…One Night in Istanbul!”
The first run went on to attract over 26,000 people in just ten days. Throughout the run football legends such as Kenny Dalglish, Phil Neal, David Fairclough, John Aldridge, plus many more appeared on stage. It returns for spring 2010 to celebrate the fifth anniversary of that fateful night, returning to the Liverpool Empire for a two week run.
One Night In Istanbul opens at the Empire theatre on Monday 17 May, before transferring to Dublin on Wednesday 2 June until Saturday 5 June.
To read the Whatsonstage.com review of the production when it made its debut in July last year, click here