North Cyprus  

Turkish-Cypriot Theatres
Alikko and Caher
Laurel and Hardy of the Cypriot Theatre 
   Alikko: - "Ma uyudun be Caher? Telefonu kestiler..." (Oi, Jaher gone to sleep? They cut the telephone again...") 
Caher: - "Eyvah! Bizim Alikko kecileri gacirdi..." (Good grief! Our Alikko's lost the goats again (i.e gone bananas/mad)...") 
Alikko: - "Yaşşa be Caher, onlardir be.. Kecilerdir ki gaybolduydu.. Onlarin cingiraklarinin sesidir be.. Hade gidelim da bulalim gendileri." (Well done re Jaher.. how did you know that the goats are lost! It's the noise of their dingdongs. C'mon let's go and find them!")

Alikko and Caher, Laurel and Hardy of Cypriot theatre

One of the most popular radio programmes in Northern Cyprus during the 1970s was a certain comedy play Alikko and Caher. The reason for the big popularity of the play was the fact that the chracters spoke with what was called a very Cypriot [rural] accent of the early years and that the jokes and ridicule of each other, by the two rather volumnious caharacters of the play. Their plays were tape-recorded and were sent by many Turkish Cypriots to their relatives in far away lands UK, US, Turkey and Australia.

The actors who played the two roles were Kemal Tunc, playing Alikko (on the right in the picture) and Osman Balikcioglu, playing Caher. But later, when Balikcioglu settled in London, and Tunc was left alone, he paired with actor Yucel Koseoglu who took up the role of Caher (on the righ in the pictur) from where Balikcioglu left.

These two heavy-weight actors of the Cypriot theatre have contributed in many ways to the development of the Turkish Cypriot theatrical identity with the characters that they portrayed in their plays. People found part of them in either Alikko or Caher characters, and this was part of the main reason that the popularity of the duo lived long.

The actors also strengthened their fame by playing in popular commercials on Bayrak television of North Cyprus. In one occasion, during the filming of the commercial Yucel Koseoglu (playing Caher) was to strech his legs confortably in a phyton carriage, riding comfortably as Alikko would watch him pass by leaving him behind. But as the horse-pulled phyton carriage moved a few metres it suddenly crushed and Koseoglu was left under the carriage. The camera filmed all this, and when it was shown on the television, the spectators laughed thinking that it was a part of the role, but which in factc was an accident. Thankfully, Koseoglu, rider, and the horses escaped without injuries.

Kemal Tunc's (a.k.a Alikko) ability to impersonate the famous also opened him many doors at unexpected of the times. During the difficult times of the 1963, when he could not get through the telephone operator to call outside (as the number of phone lines were very limited then), he impersonated the then Vice President of the Cyprus Republic Dr Fazil Kucuk on the phone. The result was impressive as the operator connected Tunc in a matter of seconds, thinking that it was the Vice President on the line.

Tunc, Balikcioglu and Koseoglu's success and contributions in enriching the Turkish Cypriot theatre are undeniably great. The least, they have planted the seeds for the development of home-grown Cypriot comedy which both young and old could enjoy.


Turkish-Cypriot Theatres