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First Tuesday current affairs discussion - Tuesday 5 December 7:00pm start

Tuesday 2nd Jan: First Tuesday Current Affairs discussion

We'll discuss two topical subjects

Theatre Reviews

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Manchester theatre reviews
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Manchester theatre reviews

Simba played by Nicholas Nkuna

The Lion King

at The Palace Theatre

Reviewed by Sara Porter December 2012

 

It’s nearly twenty years since the story of Simba the lion cub of Disney’s animated story The Lion King, first graced our screens. Simba’s story from eager young lion cub who “Just Can’t Wait To Be King” and is driven into exile having been convinced by his wicked uncle Scar that he is responsible for the death of his father.

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Manchester theatre reviews

A Government Inspector

A Government Inspector

A Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse Production

Reviewed by Jane Turner November 2012

 

Eeeh by gum! A contemporary and “daft as a brush” northern adaptation of Nikolai Gogol’s Revizor, jam-packed with northern caricatures and northern “blethering” with lots of “faffin’” and the quintessential oomph of a brass band. Crackin’!

 

Adapted by Deborah McAndrew and directed by Conrad Nelson this fantastic farce was performed by a versatile and talented team of twelve Northern Broadside actors. This classic Russian script has been transposed across time and space from a remote Russian village to a modern-day provincial Pennine town. It works well in its new setting because in essence it is about corruption, which as anyone knows is translatable into any language, any history, any culture and right into the present day. The new setting – “so remote that even the residents don’t know whether they are in Lancashire or Yorkshire” – could be where you or I live.

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Manchester theatre reviews

The Loneliness of the Long Distance RunnerThe Loneliness of The Long Distance Runner

A Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse Production

Reviewed by Jane Turner November 2012

 

“You only have power over people so long as you don’t take everything away from them. But when you’ve robbed a man of everything, he’s no longer in your power – he’s free again”. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

 

In Alan Sillitoe’s classic story of freedom, Colin Smith the protagonist is a free man by this definition and chooses to make his own history but not in conditions of his own choosing. In doing so, he exercises his free will and demonstrates his resilience and determination.

 

Elliott Barnes-Worrell as Colin Smith certainly goes the distance and delivers an adrenaline rush in more ways than one, in this compelling and brave adaptation in a contemporary setting, of an Alan Sillitoe classic. The adaptation is by BAFTA winning and Olivier Award nominated playwright Roy Williams OBE (Sucker Punch, Fallout, Sing Yer Heart Out For The Lads).

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Manchester theatre reviews

Orpheus Descending at Royal Exchange

Orpheus Descending

Royal Exchange, Manchester

Reviewed by Dave Porter October 2012 

 

Gore Vidal’s nickname for Tennessee Williams was ‘the Bird’ because so many of his plays were based around the idea of flight: characters in flight from reality or each other.

 

In Orpheus Descending, which receives a sumptuous revival at Manchester’s Royal Exchange, the motif is a central and recurring one. When handsome drifter Valentine Xavier wanders into a Deep South merchandise store he tells the owner – Lady – of a mythical bird which never sets foot on earth and sleeps on the wing.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Treasured by Ailís Ní Ríain

Treasured by Ailís Ní Ríain

Directed and created by Jen Heyes, designed by Olivia du Monceau, performed at Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral

Reviewed by Denis Joe October 2012

 

There is something fitting in setting a story about the Titanic in the Anglican Cathedral: both can be seen as monumental constructions dating from periods in which the human visionary was firmly in the ascendant. The Sea Odyssey was certainly one of the most spectacular events in Liverpool this year, but Treasured turned out to surpass even that.

 

We entered the main entrance of the Cathedral, walking around piles of luggage, seeing people sitting around the luggage, reading or engaged in some other sedentary occupation. We were taken through semi-darkness, accompanied by a solo trumpet playing a tune that was neither mournful nor triumphant, into the main section of the cathedral, where we took our seats.

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Manchester theatre reviews

The Heretic

The Heretic by Richard Bean

Produced by The Library Theatre at The Lowry

Reviewed by Helen Nugent October 2012


A trip to a production by the Library Theatre is like a visit to the Donmar Warehouse in London: odds are you will have a thought-provoking and hugely entertaining evening. And so it was last night at a performance of ‘The Heretic’ at The Lowry.

 

Boy, Richard Bean really does know how to write great parts for actors. Anyone in any doubt of this should go and see ‘One Man, Two Guvnors’, his award-winning adaptation of a 1743 Commedia dell’arte comedy by Carlo Goldoni. Or, for that matter, ‘The Heretic’ for which Bean relies solely on his own imagination.

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Black Roses: The Killing of Sophie Lancaster

Black Roses: The Killing of Sophie Lancaster

Royal Exchange, Manchester

Reviewed by Catherine Smyth September 2012


‘Now, make this known’

Those four words echoed around the auditorium as two actors silently left the stage. The packed audience at Manchester’s Royal Exchange was sitting attentively. They waited for a minute not sure whether to applaud or just to leave the theatre in the same eerie silence.

 

The Radio 4 play has been adapted for stage and presents a powerful real life drama. It gives a voice to the peace-loving unique individual that was Sophie. The 20-year-old gap year student whose life was cruelly stamped out in a gang attack in a Bacup park in 2007.

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Gargantua by Carl Grose

Gargantua by Carl Grose

presented by norfox, directed by Rosie Stuart and Josh Azouz

Reviewed by Simon Belt August 2012

 

The norfox Young People’s Theatre Company is the Library Theatre’s resident theatre company for young people aged between 15-18, designed to give them valuable experience in developing their skills in a professional theatre environment. As the Library Theatre is in-between homes, this performance was hosted at the Manchester Metropolitan University’s Capitol Theatre, a performance space for students on their acting courses within the Faculty of Art and Design.

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How to relax in Andalucia

How to relax in Andalucia by John Waterhouse

Buxton Fringe Festival, directed by Darren Holness

Reviewed by Yvonne Cawley July 2012


I've lived in the High Peak for 12 years, but I must admit that even though I knew of the existence of the Buxton Fringe, and have heard people talking about how diverse, professional and entertaining the programme of events are, I’ve never actually been to anything or even looked at what’s on offer (tut, tut!) – until now that is. For those of you who don’t know, or have never been to the Fringe (shame on you!! – see I can say that now I’ve been), it began in 1980 to run concurrently with the world-renowned Buxton Festival, with its international opera and high profile literary talks at its core.

 

The Fringe provides a showcase for performers and artists of all kinds and utilises a variety of different venues. Dance, drama, music, poetry, comedy, film, exhibitions and magic are just some of the forms that have appeared. And the Fringe Committee doesn’t undertake any selection, censorship, financing or selective promotion of individual events and aim to promote and encourage an atmosphere where artists can take risks and experiment with their art – whatever form it takes. So why doesn't Manchester have a similarly independent and vibrant fringe festival - too many of nanny's apron strings maybe?

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Manchester theatre reviews

A Midsummer Night's Dream

A Midsummer Night's Dream

A Lyric Hammersmith and Filter Theatre Production

Royal Exchange, Manchester

Reviewed by Charlotte Starkey July 2012 

 

Thomas Bowdler, editor of The Family Shakespeare, took his task as a censor to take out of the text words or expressions that ‘could not with propriety be read aloud in a family’. It was variously published (1807 and 1818) just in time to anticipate the tastes of some nineteenth century households and his efforts have often been lampooned since then. A Midsummer Night’s Dream did not escape his eye.

 

Bowdler was not the first, nor to be the last, to amend, edit, truncate or adapt the texts of Shakespeare’s plays. Charles and Mary Lamb’s Tales from Shakespeare (1807) was to be gloriously illustrated in 1899 by Arthur Rackham (the programme gossamer-pink illustration for the Lyric/Filter production evokes that epoch of fairyland innocence).

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