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Manchester reviewed
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Manchester theatre reviews

Twelfth Night at HOME

Twelfth Night at Home

Reviewed by Stephen Bowler May 2016

 

‘If music be the food of love, play on.’ Is there a better-known opening than this? Surely not. We all know the line but want nothing more than to hear it again. How refreshing, then, when expectancy is seized-upon and turned to advantage, as in Filter Theatre's new production, which started as it meant to go on by punctuating, amplifying and enlivening Shakespeare's text - from start to end - with a riot of wildly eclectic musicality.

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Manchester lifestyle reviews

Sean Lock: Keep It LightSean Lock: Keep it Light

at The Lowry Theatre, Salford

Reviewed by Matthew Dougall May 2016

 

Nearing the end of his four month tour, 53 year old comedian Sean Lock (8 Out Of 10 Cats / QI etc), played to a capacity audience last night at Salford's massive 1700-seat Lyric theatre.

 

He has a rather unique style - a style which really works for him - a style that never really takes himself too seriously, which says, 'take-me-or-leave-me-as-I-am-I-really-don't-care'. Acerbic, acidic, slightly arrogant, loud, brash, deeply cynical and sarcastic, he commanded the stage; standing alone on that vast stage with nothing to hide behind, he performed his routines - finding comedy in things no other comedian has ever done, or dared to do - with an almost Wagnerian majesty.

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Manchester theatre reviews

The Birthday Party

The Birthday Party at Oldham Coliseum

Produced by London Classic Theatre

Reviewed by Matthew Dougall May 2016

 

If there is one thing that is certain about a Pinter play, then that is uncertainty. Deliberately ambiguous, Pinter always leaves you, the audience, leaving the theatre with more questions than when you started. If you take the information given to you about each character on face value then you are likely to misunderstand and misinterpret everything anyway.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Kiss Me Quickstep

Kiss Me Quickstep at Oldham Coliseum

Jointly produced with New Vic Theatre, Newcastle-under-Lyme

Reviewed by John Waterhouse and Charlie Britten April 2016

 

As with so many plays, ‘Kiss Me Quickstep’ has a tantalising title. It might suggest all manner of possibilities, yet in the end the play struggled to grasp them.

 

For a supposed comedy, the production had far too few laughs, and far too many scenes of laboured dialogue. Apart from a comment about the distinction between Lytham and Blackpool - one that played well with a Lancastrian audience - most of the good lines came in the second half of the play. It was only then, moreover, that a clear plot started to emerge, and real characters started to arise out of what had until then been a tepid meander with little apparent direction.

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Manchester theatre reviews

The Beanfield

Fourplay at Three Minute Theatre

by Paul Thompson and Phil Pearson

Reviewed by Stephen Bowler April 2016

 

Four short stories about love, disaster, life and redemption from two Manchester playwrights staged in one evening in the city centre. Each play is fifteen minutes long, performed by up and coming talent from England and Ireland.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Breakfast at Tiffany's

Breakfast at Tiffany's at The Lowry Theatre

Reviewed by Matthew Dougall April 2016

 

A truly disappointing, muddled and uninspiring adaptation of a classic. Stylistically confusing and not totally accessible.

 

Who can ever forget the wonderful, sparkling, real and meaningful dialogue; the truthful and highly romantically charged chemistry between Hepburn and Peppard; the beautifully underscored tragi-comedy with music by Mancini; the brilliant directing of Blake Edwards? Well quite evidently Richard Greenberg can for one.

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Manchester music reviews

Bridgewater Hall

Thursday Series - Elgar, Casken, Ravel & Williams

The Halle at The Bridgewater Hall

Reviewed by Matthew Dougall April 2016

 

Prior to the evening's main concert, one of the soloists, the tenor, Joshua Ellicott, accompanied by Paul Jones on the piano, performed a short pre-concert concert entitled, 'From Your Ever Loving Son, Jack'. It was a very beautiful and moving 40 minutes, in which Ellicott read the letters of his great nephew, Jack Ellicott, and told his story, that of a young soldier, from signing up in 1915 to his death on the Somme in 1916, through some well chosen and superbly sung English (and one French) songs.

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Manchester theatre reviews

The Beanfield

Smoke and Mirrors at HOME

Presented by The Ricochet Project

Reviewed by Stephen Bowler April 2016

 

The blurb for this event says ‘circus’ and ‘acrobatics’, and that’s what you get – a physical show with a backing track but not a word spoken by the pair who bend, balance, twist and dangle in ever more improbable ways. There is a hint of mime and some deft balletic moves but most of all they are a circus act, executing a series of entanglements and suspensions that seem genuinely risky.

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Manchester theatre reviews

The Beanfield

The Beanfield at HOME

Presented by Breach Theatre

Reviewed by Stephen Bowler March 2016

 

Six young people plan to re-enact the Battle of the Beanfield, when hundreds of new age travellers were ambushed by police near Stonehenge in 1985. The six are tenacious pranksters with an eye for the absurd. They thresh the corny clichés of hippy chic and mill the monstrous wrongs of police brutality as they plough the symbolic field of battle.

 

Their analysis shuttles back and forth in time and technique, being partly an attempt to re-enact the bust-up and partly a series of interviews with folk who were there. But mainly the tale is in the telling as it zeros in on passions unleashed in the ecstasy of battle.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring

Summer. Autumn. Winter. Spring.

A Quarantine, HOME and Contact co-production, supported by SICK! Festival, at Old Granada Studios, Manchester

Reviewed by Stephen Bowler March 2016

 

Summer. Autumn. Winter. Spring. is an epic work performed in a large studio space by dozens of ordinary people including – crucially – the audience itself. The pace is relaxed, the setting comfortable and the mood convivial. Seven hours fly by.

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