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Tuesday 2nd Jan: First Tuesday Current Affairs discussion

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Manchester reviewed
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Manchester theatre reviews

Entitled

Entitled: A piece of work in a theatre by Quarantine

at The Studio, Royal Exchange Theatre

Directed by Richard Gregory, designed by Simon Banham, text by Sonia Hughes

Reviewed by Simon Belt July 2011


Quarantine describe themselves as having developed a reputation for working with 'real people' as opposed to actors on stage portraying fictional characters. There's a feeling from that self-promotion that Quarantine's scripts give their characters a more grounded, grittier depth. The pitch for Entitled by its Director, Richard Gregory, states that he 'wanted to explore some of the real stories of its performers - somehow turning theatre inside out'.

 

Abracadabra, and the pockets of the Royal Exchange's audience were turned inside out by some highly skilled and adept performers with some super technique. Was it that I just didn't get it or maybe aren't quite sophisticated enough for the highbrow irony and double bluff of Quarantine? Maybe, happy to hold my hands up to that, but you know, where's the benefit to society in treating audiences with utter contempt just so a performer can feel clever? 

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Manchester book reviews

Kill All EnemiesKill All Enemies by Melvin Burgess

Reviewed by work experience school students Yasmin Redfearn, Kathrine Payne and Hannah Mason July 2011

 

Yasmin's view of the novel:

Yasmin RedfearnMelvin Burgess has been writing child fiction books for just over twenty years and continues to amaze his audience with the work he publishes. From writing his first book ‘The Cry of the Wolf’ in 1990 to preparing for the release of his new book ‘Kill All Enemies’, it is obvious that Melvin has a real passion for writing about very realistic things that are closer to home than you may think.

 

For someone who has never had more problems than just a little row between siblings at home, it is hard to imagine what having parents with drinking problems or an abusive step-dad is like, but for many teenagers it's just normal life.

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Manchester theatre reviews

As You Like It by William Shakespeare

As You Like It by William Shakespeare

Performed at Royal Exchange Theatre

directed by Greg Herzov

Reviewed by Charlotte Starkey July 2011

                                                                     

This production of As You Like It merits a visit. It is a challenging creation crossing time and cultural divides between the Elizabethan and modern worlds, largely set in a contemporary context in the props and dress of the characters but suggesting, too, the Elizabethan world out of which the play grew. It is witty and technically quite beautiful at times. The casino-style set of the early backdrop with bunny girls and the self-mocking male mirror images, reminiscent of Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, gave an indeterminate late pre-millennium context.

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Manchester theatre reviews

2 Grumpy Gay Men

2 Grumpy Gay Men

Written by Alasdair Jarvie & Neil Dymond-Green, directed by Helen Parry

Performed at Taurus Bar, Canal Street, Manchester

Reviewed by Marie-Anne McGibbon July 2011

Having been an ardent follower of the TV series of Grumpy Old Men/Women, I suppose I came into this performance with some pre- conceived ideas.  How different could it be?

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Manchester music reviews

Stefano Bollani

Gorgeous Gershwin

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Stefano Bollani piano and Clark Rundell conductor

by Denis Joe July 2011

at Royal Liverpool Philharmonic

 

Overture, Strike up the band!
Gershwin Songs
Piano Improvisation
Porgy and Bess: A Symphonic Picture
Rhapsody in Blue

 

Higuchi: “If only the whole world would listen to Gershwin”
[Wild Life –Shinji Aoyama]

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Manchester lifestyle reviews

Mersey Ports Master Plan

Mersey Ports Master Plan consultation

Reviewed by Denis Joe June 2011

 

A couple of year’s back I attended a screening of Ken Loach’s documentary The Flickering Flame, about the 1995 Liverpool Dock Strike, organised by “Campaign for a New Workers’ Party”. For me, it summed up the pig-headedness of a left-wing that refused to let go of the past; who talked of building an industrial base and a return to traditional socialist principles. It was as if a group of people had been put into a cryogenic sleep, around the mid-1990s, and were woken up from an afternoon nap. Yet there was something about it that was very unique to Liverpool.

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Manchester theatre reviews

By The Slice presents 'Call Me!'

By The Slice presents 'Call Me!'

Written by Sarah Adams, directed by Mike Heath.

Performed at Joshua Brooks

Reviewed by Yvonne Cawley June 2011

 

I probably went to this production in the wrong frame of mind as I remember the Joshua Brooks pub as something of a student haunt rather than a venue for quality theatre. And as this seemed to the first full production from the 'By The Slice' theatre company, I really wasn't expecting much. Perhaps I should research more into the actors performing, and the theatre company behind a production before I jump to such conclusions in future!

 

My preconceptions of Joshua Brooks being a venue dominated by students, was based on drinking there some ago, hmm (cough) some 20 years ago actually. As the performance start time approached and the bar started filling up, it became apparent that this was a more mature and refined looking audience than I had expected (like my good self actually), and this started me wondering if I had perhaps underestimated the level of performance I was about to see.

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Manchester lifestyle reviews

Design The Future Exhibition

Design the Future: advertising's mission?

Reviewed by Simon Belt June 2011

 

Through a clever advertising move, Manchester's anonymous yet celebrity poster and flyer campaigner, employed the effective talents of Manchester's blogger Fat Roland to help him get a big audience for his Poster Exhibition - 2 June for 3 days only. Micah Purnell used this exhibition to come clean about who was behind a series of intriguing posters and flyers around the city, focussed on the now trendy Northern Quarter, well sort of come clean anyway.

 

Fat Roland invited his wide network of friends and fellow bloggers with some clever copy like 'For three years, an anonymous poster designer plastered Manchester with 67,000 fly posters and flyers, including the well known Peter Saville spoofs that turned the head of the media', informing his audience that there was a phenomena they were being invited to take part in. It's interesting that one of Manchester's most prolific and celebrated bloggers was selected to promote a primarily image based craft and exhibition - a theme I find most revealing.

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Manchester book reviews

The King's English

The King's English by Kingsley Amis

Penguin Modern Classics (ISBN-13: 978-0141194318)

Reviewed by Denis Joe June 2011


At once the 'lie' and the 'elite' of crowds;
Who pass like water filter'd in a tank,
All purged and pious from their native clouds;

(Don Juan By Lord Byron - Canto XIII)

 

This was the first use of the word ‘elite’ in the English language since the mid-15th Century, when it was used to described a Bishop-elect. It was itself a ‘borrowed’ term from the old French eslite (‘selected’ or ‘chosen ones’). Though Byron seems to be indulging in a bit of sarcasm in Don Juan, the term fell into common usage and generally came to describe a group of people who set themselves apart from society through their tastes in the ‘finer things in life’. The term was sometimes used interchangeably with ‘snobs’, but there is a vast difference between the pretentions of snobbery and the rigorous defence of values that was a characteristic of elitism.

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Manchester music reviews

Lang Lang

Lang Lang

at The Bridgewater Hall

Reviewed by Charlotte Starkey May 2011

 

One sensed that something significant was about to happen at the Bridgewater on Friday, 27th May. Urgent pressing crowds, clutching the tickets no doubt purchased many months previously, moved relentlessly towards the Bridgewater. For once I felt worried for the bemused young revellers, hoping to be legless by midnight, dodging the concert-going aficionados sweeping forward. The Lang Lang phenomenon had hit Manchester. He was last in Manchester ten years ago with the Hallé. On Friday he went solo.

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