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Manchester reviewed
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Manchester theatre reviews


Scene from the play

The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists

A Liverpool Everyman Theatre Production

Adapted by Howard Brenton,directed by Christopher Morahan and based on the book by Robert Tressell

Reviewed by Jane Turner July 2010

The world premiere of a new stage version of Robert Tressell's autobiographical novel takes place rather fittingly in Liverpool where the author died and is buried. It is essentially an anti-capitalist story on a human scale revolving around the working lives and hardships of a group of painters and decorators working in the fictional town of Mugsborough c1904. Among this group of workers is the character Owen, largely based on Tressell, who has a vision of society that is fair and just and he makes it his mission to enlighten his fellow workers about how socialism could rid them of inequality forever.

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Manchester book reviews

'God is a Manc' poetry collection by Mike Garry

'God is a Manc' mosaic by Amanda McCrann

Reviewed by Simon Belt June 2010

 

Having come across Mike Garry, a Manchester poet whose work focuses upon the beautiful ugliness of the city and its people, just before the launch of 'God is a Manc', I managed to do a little research on him and his poetry before reading this collection. And I'm very glad I did as it is not just a great piece of writing in its own right, but I think it's also the outcome of a process that attempts to take the reader beyond the Mancunian Meander collection I reviewed before the launch of this previously.

 

Mike cites his heroes are the underdogs, the outsiders, the people the glossies airbrush out. His first book, Men’s Morning tells the tale of an inner city sauna and his second book, Mancunian Meander is a poetic journey around the south side of Manchester, its suburbs and people. Having worked on residencies in Strangeways prison, the Big Issue and Trafford Mental Health and most recently six children’s homes in Manchester, the BBC and Arts Council England commissioned him to go to the north of the city and write a collection of poems about his experiences there. 'God is a Manc' is that collection.

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Manchester book reviews

'Mancunian Meander' poetry collection by Mike Garry

Mancunian Meander by Mike Garry

Reviewed by Simon Belt June 2010

I first became aware of Mike Garry and his poetry when PR agent Alison Bell emailed me some promotional flyers including one for the launch of Mike's third book 'God is a Manc'. As I was born and bred in Yorkshire, God's own country, and moved to Manchester on a civilising mission when I turned twenty, and having lived and worked in and around Manchester most of my adult life, I was intrigued to find out more (truthfully, I was smitten with a couple of rebellious Manchester ladies at the time and thought if they were what Manchester offered, I wanted more!).

 

So, I was definitely going to go to the launch of Mike's new book and in preparation I did a little research on him, online of course - but then I was holidaying in Menorca. Between Mike and his PR agent, and whoever else, it was certainly easy to find out about him - he's all over the show on the internet, and seems to have been involved in a variety of poetry writing and citing in libraries, schools, prisons, street performances, and festivals. I had to get hold of his written work to see what was causing such an impact, which leads me onto this review.

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Manchester theatre reviews


Importance of Being Earnest

A Library Theatre Company Production of

The Importance of Being Earnest

By Oscar Wilde
Directed by Chris Honer

Reviewed by Jane Turner 08 June 2010

“The Importance of Being Earnest” was the first and is also sadly, the last play to be performed in the basement of Manchester Central Library by The Library Theatre Company. After 58 years in this spectacularly housed library, the theatre is moving. For the next four years while work takes place on a newer and larger venue at the Theatre Royal, the Library Theatre Company will continue to perform at The Lowry Quays Theatre and also put on some exciting site-specific shows in Manchester. A sad but necessary move from what is a beautiful and intimate theatre, in order to increase capacity and improve facilities.

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Manchester lifestyle reviews

Greenbuild Expo May 2010

Greenbuild Expo

Manchester Central 26 - 27 May 2010

Reviewed by Mark Iddon

 

The Greenbuild Expo took place in Manchester last week to showcase new innovative products for the construction industry to utilise for a green and sustainable future. There were many competing companies for solar water heating panels, rainwater harvesting systems (to recycle rainwater for use in the home) and taps with restrictors to avoid wastage.

 

There were also seminars, debates and discussions on how the industry is changing particularly in the housing and schools sectors. There is quite a lot of enthusiasm for these products, by companies looking at how they can re-market their company’s image with the prospect of a new green economy, and developers who are keen to see which products will fulfil the criteria both for government funding and to comply with new legislation. There is a lot of encouragement (coercion) from the government for new building to be more energy efficient and consume less energy over the building’s lifetime.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Pygmalion Royal Exchange Manchester

Pygmalion - The Royal Exchange Theatre

Major revival of Bernard Shaw classic directed by Greg Hersov, designed by Ashley Martin-Davis, and starring Cush Jumbo, Simon Robson, Ian Bartholomew and Terence Wilton

12th May 2010 – 19th June 2010

Reviewed by Dave Porter on 18 May and Anne Ryan on 22 May 2010

Dave Porter's review is:

It takes a lot of chipping away at the crust of Shaw’s play to reveal the original underneath the melodrama that Hollywood has imposed on it, notably in the form of My Fair Lady. Even in Shaw’s own day there were attempts to turn it into a rom-com for the masses.

 

But in this production the Royal Exchange has rediscovered a jewel of English (or should that be Irish?) theatre. Faithful to the text, it is Shaw at his painfully funniest and most philosophically astute, and appeals to the sense we have of reinventing ourselves.

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Manchester film reviews

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Film

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Director – Niels Arden Oplev
Starring - Noomi Rapace and Michael Nyqvist

reviewed by Anne Ryan

 

Having very much enjoyed Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy, I was keen to catch the film, before the inevitable Hollywood remake (latest rumour is that it will be directed by David Fincher of Seven fame and star Kirsten (Twilight) Stewart!). This fulfilled all my expectations – although it was a little too long, two and a half hours of Swedish subtitles can be heavy going. Reminiscent of television's Wallander with its sombre depiction of the underbelly of Swedish society.

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Manchester book reviews

The girl who kicked the hornets' nest'The girl who kicked the hornets’ nest

from the Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson

Reviewed by Angelica Michelis May 2010

The final part of Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy starts exactly where the second volume has finished: Lisbeth Salander, the plucky and unusual heroine fights for her life after having been attacked by her father and mentally disturbed brother. Lisbeth, in contrast to the previous two books where she was always on the move and rarely remained at one place, is more or less stationary for the most part of this text. Lying critically injured in a hospital bed only a short distance apart from her father, Lisbeth (and with her the reader whose position, morally and politically, is right by her side) cannot relax knowing that her father’s determination to kill her will not subside as long as he lives, since too much is at risk. And since his destiny is deeply and inextricably intertwined with the conservative, reactionary and patriarchal forces in Swedish society, her fight for physical survival is also one of moral and social rehabilitation.

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Manchester book reviews

'The girl who played with fire' from the Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson

The girl who played with fireReviewed by Dave Bowden May 2010

Second parts of trilogies are notoriously hard work: by definition they are to some extent shorn of the structural unity offered by a clear beginning and an end. In a trilogy you are never more aware of the etymology of the term ‘plot’, which despite its exciting connotations of coups and insurrections, actually derives from cartography. Of course, an adventurer or explorer may observe that the most exciting journeys are those which have no direct course: but they’ll normally tell you that from the comfort of dry land. The success of a middle work lies in its unresolved uncertainty: C.P. Cavafy may urge travellers in ‘Ithaca’ to ‘pray that the road is long/full of adventure, full of knowledge’, but he wouldn’t be advising that if Odysseus had been swallowed by the Cyclops before he made it home.

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Manchester lifestyle reviews

Imperial War Museum NorthShaped by War: Photographs by Don McCullin

Imperial War Museum North, Manchester

Reviewed by Jane Turner May 2010

I am immediately a little sceptical whenever I hear the words “internationally acclaimed architect” as I spent many years living opposite some of the ugliest concrete housing ever designed by one such award-winning architect - the housing only lasted around 15 years before becoming inhabitable and getting bulldozed in a momentous expression of tenant power. The Imperial War Museum however, designed by Daniel Libeskind, is though destined to last a little longer. Clad in a suitably war-like colour of grey aluminium, it is designed to represent a globe shattered by war, conflict, and man’s self-destruction with three shattered shards forming the building representing earth, air and water and has been described as a “visionary symbol of the effects of war”.


Housed in the museum are some powerful exhibitions that reveal how war has shaped and affected the lives of British and Commonwealth citizens since 1914. A perfect setting therefore, for the work of Don McCullin, considered to be one of Britain’s greatest war photographers and acclaimed worldwide for his grainy black and white images captured at the heart of many dangerous conflicts and perilous areas of wars.

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