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Manchester reviewed
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Manchester film reviews

H3 screening at Writing on the Wall festival

Reviewed by Denis Joe May 2011


The 30th anniversary of the Irish Hunger Strike was excuse, if excuse were needed, for a showing of the excellent Les Blair film H3, written by former Hunger Striker Laurence McKeown and ex-prisoner Brian Campbell, and filmed in the H Blocks of the Maze prison in the North of Ireland, screened at the Writing on the Wall festival with Séanna Walsh.


H3 was made nearly a decade before Steve McQueen’s Hunger (though McQueen was ignorant of the existence of H3 - at the premier of Hunger it was believed that Hunger was the first time that the Hunger Strikes were the subject of a film, as Seanna Walsh pointed out after the screening). Whilst McQueen’s film is the more celebrated of the films, H3 is in many ways the superior - there were also two other films made about the Hunger Strikes before Hunger: Some Mother's Son directed by Terry George in 1996 and Il silenzio dell'allodola, by Italian film director and scriptwriter David Ballerini in 2005.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Wizard talking to Ursula the kettle

Wizard by Dominic Berry

R&D 'scratch' performance at Contact

Reviewed by Simon Belt May 2011


I came across Dominic Berry (Freed Up Poets) at one of Manchester's ubiquitous open mic events reading some of his poetry and thought he was interesting, but it was as a Master of Ceremony compere for a poetry night at greenroom that he really stood out as someone to watch. I wondered how I could include Dominic if the Manchester Salon ever organised anything there, as his timing and response to audience mood displayed a fabulous sense of interactive timing. With the Arts Council budget cuts forcing the unexpected closure of the greenroom, it was onwards to the Contact theatre space to get to see him perform outside of the rather hackneyed poetry reading nights.


Completely authored by Manchester Literature Festival slam winner Dominic BerryWizard is about someone who hasn’t been outside his flat for months and a friendly neighbour called Man who visits to rapport with him. Wizard can see amazing magic in places most people can’t - a dragon ninja drag-queen scaling his shower, a menopausal midwife haunting his kettle. Based around poetic interchanges bewteen Man and Wizard, and blends this with Hip Hop, comedy, and theatre.

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Manchester lifestyle reviews

250 New Towns Club

250 New Towns Club: The Need for Speed

RIBA Hub, CUBE Gallery, Manchester

Reviewed by Simon Belt June 2011

The 250 New Towns is the club for people with big plans to build – where enthusiasts meet with experts to argue about where and how we live in Britain, and this first meeting of it in Manchester was hosted by Mark Iddon of Urbanization Architects. This was also a part of the North West Architecture Festival.



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Manchester music reviews

Kate Marsden - violin

Ensemble of St. Lukes

by Denis Joe May 2011

at Royal Liverpool Philharmonic


Alexander Marks violin
Kate Marsden violin
Robert Shepley viola
Gethyn Jones cello

Haydn: String Quartet No.4 in D Major, Op.20
Beethoven: String Quartet No.4 in C minor, Op.18


One of the best indicators of a music society’s success is the amount of offshoots that arise from it. The Liverpool Philharmonic Society has had quite a few, but it's not the quantity but the quality of the offspring that matters.

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Manchester theatre reviews

A View From The Bridge by Arthur Miller

Performed at Royal Exchange Theatre

Directed by Sarah Frankcom and designed by James Cotterill

Reviewed by Jane Turner May 2011

'The real villain in this play is not the foolish and misguided character of Eddie Carbone, but the Immigration Laws.'

The Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester is an ideal setting for Arthur Miller’s play “A View from the Bridge”, its structure being suspended bridge-like from huge marble pillars situated in the centre of the great hall of the old Exchange, where old and new contrast but co-exist in symbiosis. This modern seven-sided steel and glass-walled theatre hangs favourably among the grandiose features of the Grade II listed building which was once the gathering place of mill-owners and merchants bartering for cotton and textiles, and which is now home to cafes, craft shops, writing workshops and various relics from a bygone age, where tourists now amass instead of traders. Bombed in World War Two, damaged by the IRA’s efforts in 1996 and revitalised with national lottery funding it now houses this innovative theatre, providing its audiences with a truly intimate theatrical experience, with everyone being seated just seven metres from the set due to the unique circular design of the marvellously engineered internal structure.

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