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First Tuesday current affairs discussion - Tuesday 8 January 7:00pm start

Tuesday 8th January: First Tuesday Current Affairs discussion

We'll discuss the stories breaking in 2019, introduced by Simon Belt

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Manchester reviewed
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Manchester theatre reviews

Arabian Nights

Arabian Nights by Library Theatre

Adapted by Dominic Cooke, Directed by Amy Leach

Reviewed by Jane Turner December 2012

 

Once upon a time, in Austerity Britain towards the end of a rather tough year, in a forgotten land called Salford far, far away in the North-West of England, there stood at the water’s edge, an imposing steel-clad theatre built at great cost when “times were better”. One cold and wintry December day, with frost on the ground and gloom in the air as a triple-dip recession was looming, hundreds of people gathered outside the doors of this mighty theatre, ready to escape from the cold and the news, for a few hours at least, and eager to be entertained in a warmer climate.

 

Suddenly, a tall, dark man in a red hat appeared in front of the great big shiny doors and shouted “Open Sesame”, and the people gazed in awe, as the steely theatre opened its doors and ushered them in to the cavernous theatre and safe from the cold, cold icy fingers of the chilly climate. From the bleak and grey Salford streets, they scuttled inwards to take up their seats ready to be transported to warmer and more fruitful shores. All cosy, within the tented walls of an Arabian souk, they marvelled at the electrifying scenes before them.

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Manchester lifestyle reviews

A Lecture upon the Shadow

A Lecture upon the Shadow

Liverpool's Open Eye Gallery, Mann Island

Reviewed by Denis Joe December 2012

 

A Lecture upon the Shadow is an exhibition that looks at the work of six artists: three from the North West region and three from Singapore. The works have already been exhibited at the ShanghART H-Space in Shanghai, with the exception of David Jacques’ piece, which the authorities took exception to (more of that later).

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Manchester lifestyle reviews

Goodbye City Life, hello what exactly?

Mad for IT: Manchester listings and reviews online

Reviewed by Simon Belt December 2012

 

I moved to Manchester when it was a buzzing place, in the early 1980's when being Northern meant doing it for yourself, and the likes of The Fall had put it on the cultural map as proper independent. To find out where to go, what to see and what to do, meant asking for recommendations from those with their finger on the pulse.

 

Ed Glinert (now of Manchester Walks), Andy Spinoza (now of PR Agency SKV), and Chris Paul (now a Labour councillor for Withington) were a few of those people with their finger on the pulse and helped pull together a mixed bag of hippies, aspiring journalists, and above all doers to produce the City Life magazine, that established a strong reputation across the city and beyond. Some of the cultural landmarks from those heady days may still be around, but alongside the broader demise of radical politics around the millennium, culture has become safer, packaged and generally stripped of its independent spirit.

 

Here I take a look at what's filling the space vacated by the demise of City Life.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Asylum of Grace

Asylum of Grace by Neil Ely

Directed by Lloyd Eyre-Morgan, at Three Minute Theatre

Reviewed by Simon Belt December 2012

 

Asylum of Grace is a psychological drama set in the early 1980s, where free spirited Amber (Sian Hill) from Manchester becomes pregnant after copping off with local lad Sean (Joseph Michael Watts) whilst she was working as a waitress in Eastbourne for the summer season. Amber is Catholic so rules out abortion as a viable solution to her predicament, so Sean's ever present and controlling mum Ruth (Janet Bamford) steps up to extend her influence over her wayward son by paying for the ill-fated couple to get married. To complicate matters further, the new lodger in a room downstairs from Amber and Sean's in Ruth's house, Michael (Rob Ward) helps keep the free spirit of independence alive in Amber. This roller coaster of emotional tension is set for a bumpy ride.  

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Manchester theatre reviews

Runaway Shadows

Runaway Shadows at Contact

based on a story by Lyman Frank Baum and directed by Nick Clarke

Produced by Contact Young Actors Company and Fink On Theatre 

Reviewed by Julia Taylor  December 2012

 

On the night I saw Runaway Shadows at the Contact Theatre, Manchester it was an accessible performance for deaf people with an interpreter using British Sign Language. I wondered if this might distract hearing people from the performance but I’m glad to say that after the first few minutes we didn’t notice her and she must have been a boon to those who can’t hear.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Simba played by Nicholas Nkuna

The Lion King

at The Palace Theatre

Reviewed by Sara Porter December 2012

 

It’s nearly twenty years since the story of Simba the lion cub of Disney’s animated story The Lion King, first graced our screens. Simba’s story from eager young lion cub who “Just Can’t Wait To Be King” and is driven into exile having been convinced by his wicked uncle Scar that he is responsible for the death of his father.

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Manchester music reviews

Barb Jungr, something special

Barb Jungr

Rodewald Suite, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall

Reviewed by Denis Joe November 2012


Once in a while you go to a gig and you realise that it is something special. There are few singers who can match Barb Jungr, and even fewer who can take a song and reinterpret it as well as making it their own.

 

It takes a love of the material and an intimate appreciation of a song to give it a new lease of life and one thing you are made aware of is that Barb Jungr does really love the songs that she sings. These songs are not primarily ‘crowd pleasers’; you’ll not find any of the dull diva songs (‘I am Your Lady’ or that awful song from ‘Titanic’) on Barb Jungr’s set list or her albums.

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Manchester lifestyle reviews

The Sunny Side of the Street (The Portico Library)

Clare Allan: Burnt Wood and Paper

at The Portico Library, Moseley Street

Reviewed by Simon Belt November 2012

 

I first saw Clare Allan's fabulous drawings earlier this year at the opening exhibition of the Spring Bank Arts Centre in her native New Mills, Derbyshire. Clare's talent for drawing what she feels rather than literally sees, expresses warmth and grit, grandeur yet grounding, so that her subject's personality talks to us more than her technique.

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Manchester theatre reviews

A Government Inspector

A Government Inspector

A Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse Production

Reviewed by Jane Turner November 2012

 

Eeeh by gum! A contemporary and “daft as a brush” northern adaptation of Nikolai Gogol’s Revizor, jam-packed with northern caricatures and northern “blethering” with lots of “faffin’” and the quintessential oomph of a brass band. Crackin’!

 

Adapted by Deborah McAndrew and directed by Conrad Nelson this fantastic farce was performed by a versatile and talented team of twelve Northern Broadside actors. This classic Russian script has been transposed across time and space from a remote Russian village to a modern-day provincial Pennine town. It works well in its new setting because in essence it is about corruption, which as anyone knows is translatable into any language, any history, any culture and right into the present day. The new setting – “so remote that even the residents don’t know whether they are in Lancashire or Yorkshire” – could be where you or I live.

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Manchester music reviews

A feast for the senses

A Feast for the Senses by Richard Whalley

Reviewed by Denis Joe November 2012


I discovered the music of Richard Whalley having attended a concert in Liverpool given by Ensemble 10/10 last year. On the programme was a piece, specially commissioned by Ensemble 10/10, A Very Serious Game, which is the first composition on this albums, is based around three lithographs by the Dutch Artist M.C. Escher: The House of Stairs, Three Worlds and Metamorphosis.

 

The piano opens the first movement with a feeling of walking that tries to maintain an order as the woodwind instruments threaten to undermine the pace. Yet House of Stairs section grabs the listener from the outset and repeated listening only reinforces  the order as each instrument battles for dominance with its own melody. To that extent the piece reminds me of Elliot Carter’s work, particularly the Cello Sonata. And like the approach of Carter, Whalley keeps a tight rein on the music.

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