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Manchester reviewed
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Manchester theatre reviews

Waiting for Brando

Waiting for Brando

at Unity Theatre, Liverpool

Reviewed by Denis Joe June 2012

 

There is an urban myth borne of two areas of modern mythology: cinema and Liverpool. When Elia Kazan was filming On The Waterfront, in 1953 in a dockside bar in New York, two Liverpool merchant seamen were allowed to stay during the filming. Apparently you can see the backs of their heads in a mirror.

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Manchester lifestyle reviews

Favela at The Royal Standard

Favela At The Royal Standard

Reviewed by Denis Joe May 2012

 

'The Royal Standard was established in 2006 by four Liverpool-based artists in response to the need for a new artist-led organisation that would operate somewhere in between the city’s grass-roots DIY initiatives and the more established arts institutions. Originally housed in a former pub in Toxteth, in 2008 The Royal Standard undertook an ambitious relocation and expansion into a larger industrial space on the Northern periphery of the city centre, re-launching to acclaim for the 2008 Liverpool Biennial.'     [The Royal Standard Website]

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Manchester film reviews

Moonrise Kingdom

Moonrise Kingdom

Screened at Cornerhouse, Manchester

Reviewed by Anne Ryan May 2012

 

At a time when the American dream seems further away than ever for the majority of its citizens, Wes Anderson harks back to an America that never was, a world of small town eccentrics whose lives are characterised by an almost Capraesque decency and sweetness.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Spamalot at Opera House

Monty Python’s Spamalot at Opera House

By Eric Idle and John Du Prez

Reviewed by Helen Nugent May 2012


As someone who spent a great deal of their student life quoting the Knights Who Say Ni and demanding a shrubbery, news that Monty Python’s Spamalot was coming to Manchester was as thrilling a prospect as meeting the keeper of the Bridge of Death.

 

For the uninitiated, Monty Python’s eccentric blend of non sequiturs, half-finished sketches and stream of consciousness comedy can seem baffling. But on the first evening of a week-long run at Manchester’s Opera House, the majority of the audience were clearly hardened fans who delight in regurgitating Python scripts.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Can We Talk About This?

Can We Talk About This? at The Lowry

Conceived and directed by Lloyd Newson

Reviewed by John Hutchinson May 2012

 

A very powerful piece of theatre was on display at The Lowry Centre in Salford, one that is an expression of our times and a direct challenge to our modern taboos and anxieties. This is not art that is imaginative, virtual, or creative, if by these terms we mean some form of fiction or installation that reframes or reshuffles our perceptions as many modern art exhibitions are intended to do.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Unhappy Birthday by Amy Lamé. Photo by Tom Sheehan

Unhappy Birthday by Amy Lamé

Tour performance viewed at Contact

Reviewed by Dave Porter  May 2012

 

Celebrity culture, or rather the cult of the celebrity, is hardly a new thing. People wanting to touch the hem of Jesus’ cloth is maybe the first known instance of how close we come to such adulation.

 

Nowadays, celebrities are simultaneously so much nearer and so much further aloof. It’s not so much about touching the hem of their cloth, but knowing someone who has touched the hem of the cloth. Or knowing their brother’s best friend who has.

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Manchester lifestyle reviews

Ian Tilton in conversation at Contact

Ian Tilton in conversation at Contact

Reviewed by Emma Short May 2012

 

Ian the shy lad at the back of the club, reading Kafka - head in a book; Ian the photographer of legendary bands, thwarted dreams to a profession unplanned; Ian the archivist documenting change; Ian the advocate with an eye to re-arrange.

 

Ian Tilton's iconic photographs of The Happy Mondays, The Stone Roses, Kurt Cobain, The Smiths, Axel Rose, the Hacienda and many more are currently being exhibited at Manchester's Contact theatre until September. However as if that wasn't treat enough, his recent 'in conversation' in the foyer at Contact was an intimate, personal & fascinating journey of one mans struggle through personal change, the importance of the visual arts documenting moments in time and the cultural reflections made possible by them. It was a reflection on the breeding ground for creativity and on a global level, the need to break down geographical and class boundaries & to support brothers and sisters from across the globe in their ambitions and lives.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Maxine Peake as Miss Julie and Joe Armstrong as Jean in MISS JULIE. Photo by Jonathan Keenan

Miss Julie by August Strindberg

Royal Exchange, Manchester

Reviewed by Bill Hughes May 2012 

 

Sarah Frankcom, in directing Strindberg’s Miss Julie at the Royal Exchange, resists the impulse so often indulged by the company to take classic drama out of its context and make crass points on twenty-first-century issues. And, given Strindberg’s confrontation with class and feminism, this would have been easy to do.

 

Strindberg’s play was written in 1888, on the cusp of massive social change - class barriers were dissolving, religious certainties collapsing, the Woman Question was in the air (especially as voiced by Strindberg’s bête noir, the progressive Ibsen). The new form of naturalist drama and the formal experiments of Strindberg create a new drama appropriate for the age. This involved such techniques as doing away with act and scene divisions, for instance, having actors perform mundane tasks to ensure a continuous flow of dramatic action while significant events take place off stage.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Henry V at Liverpool Playhouse

Henry V at Liverpool Playhouse

Reviewed by Emma Short April 2012

 

The Globe Theatre, who are currently touring the UK before their main season launches in early June on Bankside, have brought Shakespeare's Henry V to the Liverpool Playhouse. Framed by its famous proscenium arch the unfolding of England's victory over France at the battle of Agincourt under the direction of Dominic Dromgoole was a pleasure to witness indeed.

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Manchester lifestyle reviews

TOPOPHOBIA: Fear of Place in Contemporary Art

TOPOPHOBIA:
Fear of Place in Contemporary Art

at the Bluecoat, Liverpool

Reviewed by Denis Joe April 2012

 

It is generally accepted that phobias arise from a combination of external events (i.e. traumatic events) and internal predispositions (i.e. heredity or genetics). Many specific phobias can be traced back to a specific triggering event, usually a traumatic experience at an early age. Social phobias and agoraphobia have more complex causes that are not entirely known at this time.

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