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Manchester reviewed
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Manchester music reviews

The Straits

The Straits at Liverpool Philharmonic

Reviewed by Simon Belt October 2011


The Straits were formed by former members Dire Straits Alan Clark, Phil Palmer and Chris White, after a few fun and feeler gigs in the summer of 2011 - to play the band’s much loved catalogue of great songs to a loyal and new audience alike. After huge success with albums including Making Movies and Brothers in Arms, in a career that saw them sell 120 million albums worldwide, recieve three BRIT Awards, four Grammys and two MTV Music Awards, it's unthinkable that such a huge musical impact could be just left alone.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Good by C P Taylor

GOOD by C P Taylor

Performed at Royal Exchange Theatre

Directed by Polly Findlay and designed by James Cotterill

Reviewed by Jane Turner October 2011

 

It’s a strange mixed-up fantasy, but if you fancy seeing Hitler in plus-fours and arrive at the gates of Auschwitz in a flash of light as the curtain falls feeling tense, disorientated, bewildered and yet somehow gripped, “Good” might be just right for you. I may have had a sense of humour biopsy but I think it would be “good” if history was portrayed more accurately.

 

I found it a little difficult to settle in my seat; I was un-comfortable, not because of the fine upholstery, but bothered by the four letter-word of the title – Good. A bit subjective to begin with and even more so when tackling the consequences of German Fascism. Good/evil, black/white? Most of us know that things are never that clear cut or straightforward. Who and what is good or evil, and who decides is the rather complex question taken up by CP Taylor, the author of this story.

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Manchester lifestyle reviews

Antonia Fraser

Antonia Fraser on Harold Pinter

at the Manchester Literature Festival

Reviewed by Helen Nugent October 2011

 

It’s not every day one emerges from a cubicle in the ladies’ toilet to find Lady Antonia Fraser waiting to use the facilities. But this is the month of the Manchester Literature Festival and so we must expect the unexpected.

 

Now in its sixth year, the MLF is rightly regarded as a festival heavyweight. As varied and engaging as the better known Cheltenham and Hay literature events, sell-out talks for 2011 have included such literary luminaries as Colm Toibin, Michael Frayn and David Lodge.

 

Last night was the turn of Lady Antonia, noted historian and wife of the late Harold Pinter. Now aged 79, she has lost none of her glamour and charm. Whether reading extracts from her new memoir of life with her dramatist husband or recounting stories about the London glitterati, Lady Antonia enchanted the audience.

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Manchester music reviews

David Soar (Leporello) i statue Nuccia Focile (Donna Elvira) in Don Giovanni by WNO Photo: Richard H Smtih

Welsh National Opera at Liverpool Empire

by Denis Joe October 2011

Mozart: Don Giovanni
Rossini: The Barber of Seville
Janá?ek: Katya Kabanova

 

Sadly, the Welsh National Opera only visit Liverpool for one season in a year, and is one of the highlights of the year. Opera in Britain is really strong with regional companies such as Welsh National Opera, Opera North and Scottish Opera consistently produce seasons of the highest quality, bringing neglected works to the public. Opera has had a reputation for being an elitist art form, but since the late 1980s, when I first started to go to see live opera, it was not unusual to see young people in jeans and t-shirts in the audience. The idea that the entrance fee is prohibitive is also a myth as it is no more expensive than a football match and far cheaper than going to see a band at some local stadium.

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Manchester theatre reviews

All the Way Home

All the Way Home by Ayub Khan-Din

Presented by Library Theatre in association with The Lowry, directed by Mark Babych

Reviewed by Jane Turner October 2011

 

Award-winning playwright Ayub Khan-Din has returned to his native Salford for the world premiere of his new play All The Way Home, performed by the highly respected Library Theatre Company opening their new season in association with The Lowry.

 

Billed as a contemporary and emotional comedy-drama set in Salford that details the life of a family as they unite to face the death of their brother from cancer, it is directed by Mark Babych who has assembled a team of excellent actors from the local area. Familiar faces include, from Coronation Street, Judith Barker, Paul Simpson, Kate Anthony, Sean Gallagher and Naomi Radcliffe while actors Susan Cookson, Julie Riley and James Foster will be known to regular theatre-goers.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Thrasher by Conor McKee

Thrasher by Conor McKee

Performed at Royal Exchange Studio, directed by Wyllie Longmore

Reviewed by Emma Short October 2011

 

Conor McKee's latest production Thrasher is a potent mix of the failings and warmth of people which explores themes of faith, identity, values and responsibility. Amid the chaos that emerges through the play it knits together a rich fast paced story that both warms and disgusts. Sprinkled throughout with dark humour it captivates and entertains, taking one on a journey both familiar and uncertain.

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Manchester lifestyle reviews

Life in the UK at Castlefield Gallery

Life in the UK / Balance of Probabilities

by Didem Ozbek and Osman Bozkurt of PiST, at Castlefield Gallery

Reviewed by Sara Porter and Emma Short October 2011

 

Sara Porter's view...

On first approaching the Castlefield Gallery for the press preview of Life in the UK/ Balance of Probabilities the first thing that struck me was how I hadn’t noticed in my previous visit the blinds in the windows of the gallery, but then it was an atypically sunny day and in a more usually overcast Manchester, they probably hadn’t been needed them last time I was there. As I got closer I realised that this was in fact the first part of Ozbek and Bozkurt’s multi-media exhibition.

 

Life in the UK/ Balance of Probabilities is a debut UK commission of the two Istanbul based artists exhibited at Castlefield Gallery as part of Asia Triennial Manchester 2011. The work is based upon experiences of visa applications and for this purpose the gallery has been converted into a replication of a temporary VISA application centre.

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Manchester film reviews

Badlands

Badlands at Cornerhouse

Reviewed by Anne Ryan October 2011

 
Terence Malik's 1973 debut film Badlands is being shown in a new print at the Cornerhouse. It may be almost 40 years' old, but its use of iconic movie imagery taps into our shared Hollywood consciousness and introduces many of Malik's characteristic themes.

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Manchester lifestyle reviews

Democratic Promenade at the Bluecoat

Democratic Promenade

at the Bluecoat, Liverpool until 27 November 2011

Reviewed by Denis Joe October 2011

 

Someone in Liverpool’s art sector must be working their way through a list of nouns or adjectives and is ticking them off one by one; counting down to Year Zero. This year the word is ‘Radical’ and as part of Liverpool City Of Radicals 2011, the Bluecoat’s artistic director, Bryan Biggs, has overseen this exhibition which looks at how the artists engage with the radical, through their work. The exhibit draws on works from the 20th century onwards.

 

Admittedly the celebration of Liverpool radicals takes place a century on from three events that happened in the city: the first post-impressionist exhibition of British artists took place at the Bluecoat; the famous Liver building, a radical architectural development, was completed and Liverpool became paralysed by a transport strike, which some say was near to revolution. The work of David Jacques’s work features prominently. His Serif types (2011), that can also be seen as a sort of Sopas de letras, dominates the publicity.

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Manchester music reviews

Ian McCulloch

Echo and The Bunnymen at Liverpool Philharmonic

Reviewed by Jane Turner October 2011

Stop the Press: McCulloch the messiah incites mutiny!

 

Last night I witnessed a reluctant rebellion in the aisles of the Liverpool Philharmonic! The messiah McCulloch with tongue in cheek, rebelliously called on his followers to “fill that aisle” after an earlier comment that he had “never seen so many obedient people sitting down instead of standing up”. As the messiah spoke of “so many regulations that it is now impossible to make a Lancashire sausage” his followers were roused from their seats and took to dancing in the aisles with gusto – an activity not seen around here for years. Hundreds of happy people ignored the anxious gesticulating of the “chuckle brothers” as McCulloch had cheekily nicknamed the “bouncers”, and the people were at last back in their rightful place, on the land that was rightfully theirs and dancing in the aisles instead of wiggling politely from in or behind their seats. In an appeal to the “chuckle brothers” McCulloch declared “these are our people, they’re not doing anything wrong” and with that the party really got started; Echo and The Bunnymen were back in town!

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