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Manchester reviewed
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Manchester theatre reviews

Something Wonderful at Hope Mill Theatre

Something Wonderful at Hope Mill Theatre

Reviewed by Matthew Dougall March 2016

 

Something Wonderful, subtitled 'A Celebration of Rodgers And Hammerstein', this was a musical concert revue of some of the pair's more well known music at Manchester's newest and loveliest Fringe Theatre, Hope Mill Theatre in Ancoats.

 

The stage was decorated in purple curtains and chaise-longue with candles and fairy-lights, and the music played on an onstage piano by the Musical Director of the event George Francis. It was a very cosy and intimate setting but also gave an illusion of opulence and timelessness.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Zero by Robin J Lyons

Zero by Just Talk

at The Eagle Inn, Salford

Reviewed by Stephen Bowler March 2016

 

The Islamist zombies had been at it again (in Brussels) and I was off - at the end of the same day - to see a play about suicide in Salford. More pressing tasks sprang to mind. Like the washing-up.

 

But I needn’t have worried. The play was less about nihilistic self-destruction than the havoc wreaked upon those left behind.

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Manchester film reviews

The Pearl Button

The Pearl Button shown at HOME

Reviewed by John Hutchinson March 2016

What does the country Chile conjure up for you in the mind? I am not referring here to its political associations directly although for most of us we might summon up the names of Pinochet and Allende, and the CIA provoked coup of the 1970s. Can you define Chilean identity and the country’s national characteristics? If you can’t then you need to watch The Pearl Button and also if you get the chance, its predecessor, the even more remarkable Nostalgia de la Luz (Nostalgia of the Light, literally translated) part of a planned trilogy of which the Pearl Button is the middle film.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Our Gracie

Our Gracie at Oldham Coliseum

by Philip Goulding, Directed by Kevin Shaw

Reviewed by John Waterhouse March 2016

 

I went to Oldham Coliseum Theatre knowing nothing about Gracie Fields except that she was a famous singer cum film star somewhere around the 1930’s, and I suspect that the same could be said today for at least half the population. Our Gracie is a bio-play that aims to remind the world that such a great and popular talent existed, faithfully telling the life story of Rochdale’s most famous daughter. It’s also a fun show, in which all the cast take it in turns to play various musical instruments whilst portraying a wide range of real people from Gracie’s life, including several very funny cameo roles.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Footloose at Palace Theatre

Footloose at Palace Theatre

Reviewed by Matthew Dougall March 2016

 

Manchester Palace Theatre plays host this week to the stage version of the well-known and loved film Footloose, from the mid 1980s about a city teenager and his mother who move to a small town in Bible-Belt country where the town has outlawed dancing. He falls in love with the Preacher's daughter, and turns things around, bringing back both dancing and happiness to a town living in the sorrows of the past.

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Manchester music reviews

Once Upon a Time by Halle Youth EnsemblesBridgewater Hall

Reviewed by Matthew Dougall March 2016

 

I journeyed yesterday afternoon to the rather functional and un-predisposing building called The Bridgewater Hall in Manchester, home of the world famous Halle Orchestra. Once inside the building however, the atmosphere was one of warmth and friendliness. All the staff I spoke to were lovely and happy to help, and, what was wonderful to see too was the number of younger audience members, even children. Despite the concert being given by all the youth branches of The Halle, it was a lovely sign to say that there is a future for classical music!

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Manchester theatre reviews

Down The Dock Road by Alan Bleasdale

Down The Dock Road at Royal Court, Liverpool

by Alan Bleasdale and Directed by Hannah Chissick

Reviewed by Jane Turner March 2016

 

If I was a Liverpool Docker, I would be first in the queue to give Alan Bleasdale a close up of my Docker’s hook. What a clichéd and caricatured depiction of a group of scouse dockworkers this play is. I can’t understand why it received rave reviews on its first outing in the 1970’s or why it has been revived today, possibly because of sentimental Corbyn supporters who think looking backwards to a time when labour was more unionised is the way forward?

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Manchester theatre reviews

Tinned Goods by Fiona WhitelawTinned Goods

Performed by Tea and Tenacity at Salford Arts Theatre

Reviewed by Simon Belt March 2016

 

On the way to the theatre, as the story-line to a gag goes, I was listening to Radio 4's Loose Ends in the car. There were some self-deprecating gags on it, but the thing that struck me was the reference to Alexei Sayle's latest book - 'Thatcher stole my trousers'. To be honest, it was a little tiresome during the Thatcher era to hear 'progressive types' blame Thatcher for all bad things done to them, but for that to live on into 2016 seems bizarre.

 

Margaret Thatcher, and the miners strike of 1984-5 particularly, are reference points for contemporary life even more important than the old reference point of the second world war for a certain milieu, who downplay broader Historical perspective. This is abundantly expressed through the Arts, and the theatrical production Tinned Goods by Tea and Tenacity is a good example of this.

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Manchester theatre reviews

You’re Not Alone by Kim Noble

You’re Not Alone by Kim Noble

at Contact Theatre, Manchester

Reviewed by Stephen Bowler March 2016

 

Kim Noble begins his one-man gig pacing twitchily, e-cig in one hand, drink in the other, sizing-up the punters as we the audience file into the theatre. No wonder he looks on-edge: in the hour that follows he dredges the depths of discomfort as he bulldozes the boundaries of bad taste.

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Manchester theatre reviews

The Madness of George III by Alan BennettMadness of George III

Performed at Garrick Theatre, Altrincham

Reviewed by Simon Belt and Yvonne Cawley April 2016

 

This award winning play by Alan Bennett is billed as a ‘mix of terror, comedy and tragedy’ is a story based on King George III’s well documented bout of madness and the ensuing political power struggle. We see Fox ‘courting’ the scheming Prince of Wales, encouraging him to incarcerate the King, supposedly for his own good health but really so they both benefit - as taking on the role of ‘Prince Regent’ would therefore offer greater political power and access to the treasury coffers. If it is proved that the King is losing his mind, then he will lose his power too.

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