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Manchester reviewed
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Manchester lifestyle reviews

Liverpool Poetry Cafe

Liverpool Poetry Café

with Pauline Rowe, Clare Kirwan and Dave Jackson

Reviewed by Denis Joe January 2012

 

Attending a poetry event in Liverpool can sometimes seem as if you have gate-crashed some group therapy session or some private fan-club party. In the way that you always see the same old faces on trade union marches these days, so too it is the case with the poetry events. If the person on stage isn’t whinging about how they lost the love of their life, or ranting bile about their hatred for those ‘lowlifes’ from the north of the city then you will get some decent poetry, which is, sadly, lost in the dross.

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Manchester film reviews

The Descendants

The Descendants

Screened at Cornerhouse, Manchester

Reviewed by Anne Ryan January 2012

Yet another Oscar nominee hits our shores and this time it is George Clooney’s latest work – where Mr Smooth plays a family man facing up to the responsibilities of fatherhood in the idyllic setting of Hawaii.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Two by Jim Cartwright

Two by Jim Cartwright

Performed at Royal Exchange, directed by Greg Hersov, designed by Amanda Stoodley

Reviewed by Emma Short January 2012

 

With an emphasis on the tentative balance of self and other within a relationship, Jim Cartwright's Two takes us on a journey through the most intimate insights and fluctuations within couple dynamics. The secrets shared at the bar over a pint are captured in all their innocence, arrogance and transparency evoking a sublime pathos that grips the breath.

 

Justin Moorhouse and Victoria Elliott play all 14 of Cartwright's characters with tremendous versatility, flair and imagination. The range is astounding, from small boy, to bullying boyfriend, chipper landlord and wistful old man to mirror the portrayal of the scorned other woman, ground down elderly carer, brow beaten girlfriend to over excitable Maudie.

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Manchester lifestyle reviews

 


Omid Djalili: returns to stand-up

Omid Djalili at Liverpool Philharmonic

Reviewed by Fat Roland and Simon Belt January 2012

Firstly, Fat Roland's take on the performance

Omid Djalili’s appearance at the Liverpool Philharmonic did nothing to dispel my belief that stand-up comedy is a bit broken. I once went on a stand-up comedy course in which I was taught to brainstorm, to use the mic, and to find the funny. The course leader used clips of television comedians – think charity balls, gigs in palladiums, Saturday night fodder – as an example of stand-up. But the course leader was wrong to do this as television comedy is not stand-up.

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Manchester film reviews

Coriolanus

Coriolanus directed by Ralph Fiennes

Screened at Cornerhouse, Manchester

Reviewed by Anne Ryan January 2012


Ralph Fiennes is a great stage actor and a generation of frightened children can now attest to his skills on screen as Harry Potter’s arch enemy. In Coriolanus we have a chance to judge his talents as a director. Olivier and Branagh both produced straight versions of Shakespeare’s heroic plays, Fiennes has chosen to tackle a more complicated leading role and a notoriously difficult play.

 

For those not familiar with the play Coriolanus is a Roman general at odds with his fellow citizens who is forced to ingratiate himself with the masses to secure power. The play is the story of the violent consequences of democracy and the relationship between the military and the people. Mirroring this public struggle is the dynamic between Coriolanus and his ambitious mother Volumnia.

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Manchester book reviews

Technology and the Philosophy of Religion

Technology and the Philosophy of Religion

by David Lewin (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2011)

Reviewed by Charles Brickdale January 2012

 
What matters is what works’  Tony Blair.

 

Blair’s aphorism was meant to justify such departures from socialist doctrine as the Private Finance Initiative and, perhaps, taking money from the likes of Bernie Ecclestone.

 

What it also does is encapsulate a mode of thinking about and experiencing the world which David Lewin describes in his thought-provoking book as ‘technological nihilism’, an orientation based upon a ‘false anthropology which arises out of the failure to see things primarily as given.’ In other words, Lewin’s concern is with the implications of living in a culture which dwells entirely in the kingdom of means and has lost sight of the kingdom of ends.

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Manchester film reviews

J Edgar with Leonardo DiCaprio

J Edgar directed by Clint Eastwoord

Reviewed by Anne Ryan January 2012


For cinema goers, 2012 opened with Thatcher: the Movie, here we have another chance to see a major political figure of the 20th century and see a Hollywood star walk the fine line between impersonation and insight. And in J Edgar there is also star power behind the camera in the form of Clint Eastwood who has proved himself a skilled and interesting film-maker.

 

This can also be viewed as the second in a right-wing trilogy to welcome 2012 – 'The Iron Lady', 'J Edgar' and 'W.E.', where we are asked to forgive the protagonists because they got old and anyway Denis, Clyde or King Edward loved them!

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Manchester book reviews

Baphomet's Agony by Marta Skadi

Baphomet's Agony by Marta Skadi

To be reviewed by Simon Belt July 2012

 

With a back cover pitch of:

 

"The mere fact you’re reading this means that it has all gone wrong and I’m probably dead so excuse all the blood.

 

This is a love story; my love story. Girl meets boy, she starts up a Norwegian black metal group, they have satanic orgies, everyone tries to murder them, people die and churches get burned. It’s just what you’d expect of a black metal love story. It’s going to be loud, outlandish and gruesome."

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Manchester film reviews

Shame with Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan

Shame starring Michael Fassbender

Screened at Cornerhouse, Manchester

Reviewed by Anne Ryan January 2012


How do you make a film about sex that is not sexy? Some of us might wonder how you make a film starring Michael Fassbender that is not sexy. But following their collaboration on Hunger, the story of the IRA hunger-striker Bobby Sands, Fassbender and artist/director Steve McQueen, have produced another harrowing experience.

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Manchester book reviews

Nothing Matters by Ronald Green

Nothing Matters by Ronald Green

Published by Iff Books 2011

To be reviewed by Charles Brickdale July 2012

 

Is nothing everything? As strange as that question looks at first sight, it will definitely make sense after reading NOTHING MATTERS. Provocative and accessible, free of jargon, NOTHING MATTERS shows that there is more to nothing than meets the eye. History, the arts, philosophy, politics, religion, cosmology - all are touched by nothing. Who, for example, could have believed that nothing held back progress for 600 years, all because of mistaken translation, or that nothing is a way to tackle (and answer) the perennial question 'what is art'?

 

NOTHING MATTERS is a genuine attempt to look at the world in a different way, to give new angles to old problems and so to stimulate new thoughts. Sure-footedly, with flair and enthusiasm, Ronald Green takes the reader on a path through nothing to everything it touches, linking facts and information that lead to surprising conclusions.

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