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Manchester reviewed
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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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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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