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Manchester reviewed
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Manchester film reviews

The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby

Reviewed by Una Cottrell May 2013

 

"That was more romantic than I was expecting.” To quote my 12 year old daughter after watching the The Great Gatsby, the most recent film from the master of romance himself, Baz Luhrmann (of Romeo & Juliet and Moulin Rouge fame).

 

Starring Leonardo Di Caprio and, she who can do no wrong, Carey Mulligan, the film IS romantic. After all, the film is based on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s book of the same name and delves deeply into the lives of the rich and famous of the decadent 1920’s.  Set in New York, the film looks at the lives in particular of Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) and his rich and beautiful cousin Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan). Unhappily married to womanising Tom (Joel Edgerton), Daisy re-establishes contact with her cousin Carraway, and he unsuspectingly becomes the conduit between herself and the enigmatic J. Gatsby (Leonardo Dicaprio) for them to rekindle their love affair of five years earlier. The story unfolds until its predictable, but still shocking, tragic end.

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Manchester theatre reviews

It's not Fair! by Rhema Productions

It's not Fair! by Rhema Productions

Written by Mike Peacock, Performed by Mike & Becky Peacock

Reviewed by Simon Belt May 2014

 

This show is designed to be both an entertaining theatrical experience, and to encourage people to engage with the issue of human trafficking. The aim is to move audience members, spurring them to take action by working with human trafficking organizations & fairtrade groups. Mike and Becky Peacock, who are Rhema Productions, regularly perform in Arts Centres, Churches and Secondary Schools, so did it live up to its billing?

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Manchester theatre reviews

Female Transport at 3MT

Female Transport by Steve Gooch

Presented by Stone Jetty Productions at 3MT

Reviewed by Simon Belt May 2013

 

It seems that I'm living through a popular revival or at least a fairly popular reworking of second-wave feminism - and theatre and the performaning arts is in no way behind the door or outside of this trend. The Three Minute Theatre in Manchester's Northern Quarter is giving special focus to female artists this year. And so it is quite fitting for 3MT to invite Sarah Wilkinson of Stone Jetty Productions to present her own production of Female Transport, written by Steve Gooch and first performed at the Half Moon Theatre, London in November 1973, marking its 40th anniversary.

 

Female Transport is set in the harsh times of 1807 on a convict ship, and focusses on six women convicts - Winnie, Madge, Pitty, Charlotte, Nance and Sarah as they are transported to work camps in Australia, brutally managed by their imposing jailer Sarge (Nick Cornwall). 

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Manchester lifestyle reviews

Exhibition entrance, photo by Sara Porter

Iraq: Photographs by Sean Smith

at the Imperial War Museum North

Reviewed by Sara Porter April 2013

 

This year sees the tenth anniversary of IWM North and also ten years since the 2003 Iraq War started, so it is quite apt that the museum has a new photographic display by award-winning British photographer Sean Smith. Smith documented the war in Iraq for The Guardian and was in Baghdad when the British and American coalition forces invaded, returning to the country several times to document the lives of the military and civilians.

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Manchester book reviews

Green Philosophy

Green Philosophy: How to Think Seriously About the Planet by Roger Scruton

Reviewed by Dominic Standish April 2013

 

Green, but not very philosophical: Roger Scruton is an accomplished philosopher, yet endorses environmentalism rather than breaking new philosophical ground.

 

Having enjoyed and learnt a great deal from Roger Scruton's books and lectures on classical philosophy, I had high hopes that I would gain much from the 413 pages of his Green Philosophy: How to Think Seriously About the Planet. Despite Scruton's deep understanding of classical philosophy, in this book he fails to break new ground and does little more than endorse many contemporary green prejudices.


Let's start with some positive sections of the book. In chapter 10, Scruton provides a useful description of the early historical evolution of conservationism in the UK, USA and Europe. He is right to link the emergence of conservationism with Romantic reactions against industrialisation, epitomised by William Wordsworth, William Morris and John Ruskin in Britain. Meanwhile, conservationism was also developed by John Muir, Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson in the USA and Rudolf Steiner in Austria and Germany. Scruton then connects these reactions to the birth of conservationist associations, including the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings in Britain in 1877 and the Sierra Club in the USA in 1892.

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Manchester music reviews

Manchester Camerata: CIty Life, RNCM

City Life at the RNCM

Part of the RNCM's 'Black on White' Festival

Reviewed by Denis Joe March 2013

 

Emily Howard                  Carillion (World Premiere)
Heiner Goebbels               Sampler Suite from Surrogate Cities
Heiner Goebbels               Black on White (Film)

Clarke Rundell                  Conductor (Manchester Camerata)

 

Before the evening programme began we were treated to a work composed and performed by youngsters as part of Manchester Camerata’s outreach work in the community.

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Manchester film reviews

19th Viva! Film Festival

19th Viva Hispanic Film Festival, Cornerhouse

Humour, Crisis and Lost Identity

Reviewed by John Hutchinson March 2013

 

The 19th Viva Festival opened on the 8th March to the themes of guerrilla warfare re-enacted on the car park of an American DIY store and the tragi-comedy of a botched jewel robbery in Madrid in the 1950’s. Humour starts the festival but rapidly turns into a much darker side.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Heather Phoenix, Paul Webster and Christopher Wilkinson

Sugar Daddies by Alan Ayckbourn

Produced by Oldham Coliseum and Harrogate Theatre

Reviewed by Helen Nugent March 2013

 

Alan Ayckbourn has written 77 plays but, until last night, I hadn’t seen any of them. As a theatre buff, I almost hesitate to make this admission; it’s a bit like a movie fan saying they’ve never watched a Bond film. Or a bookworm conceding they’ve yet to pick up Dickens.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Atticus Finch (Nigel Cooke) and Scout Finch (Shannon Tarbet). Photo by Jonathan Keenan

To Kill a Mockingbird at Royal Exchange

Adapted by Christopher Sergel, Directed by Max Webster, Designed by James Cotterill

Reviewed by Jane Turner February 2013


"It's a sin to kill a Mockingbird, they provide pleasure with their songs and never harm another living creature”, symbolizing the moral of this tale, that it is wrong to kill the innocent and harmless.

 

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Manchester book reviews

Injustice

Injustice: Why social inequality persists by Daniel Dorling

Reviewed by Ken McLaughlin February 2013

 

When the British welfare state was set up, it targeted what its main architect William Beveridge called the five ‘Giant Evils’ of ’Want, Disease, Ignorance, Squalor and Idleness’. Significant social and economic advances may have seen the gradual eradication of the worst aspects of all these targets, but in Injustice: Why social inequality persists, Daniel Dorling argues that they are being replaced by five new tenets of injustice. According to him these take the basis of beliefs that ‘elitism is efficient’; ‘exclusion is necessary’; ‘prejudice is natural’; ‘greed is good’ and ‘despair is inevitable’.

 

So, for Dorling, well meaning attempts to eliminate very poor education have unwittingly helped fuel the rise of a new injustice by beginning to promote the widespread acceptance of elitism; whilst very few people in the UK will starve from lack of food, want is replaced by social exclusion whereby there are many who cannot afford the norms of society such as a yearly holiday abroad; prejudice is recast as the maxim that those at the lower end of society are there due to their inherent weakness; greed is portrayed as a good and encourages us to want and consume more and more food and other commodities; and despair is seen as inevitable as we in the West suffer rising levels of mental illness.

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