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Theatre Reviews

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Manchester theatre reviews
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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 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 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 theatre reviews

A View From The Bridge by Arthur Miller

Performed at Royal Exchange Theatre

Directed by Sarah Frankcom and designed by James Cotterill

Reviewed by Jane Turner May 2011

'The real villain in this play is not the foolish and misguided character of Eddie Carbone, but the Immigration Laws.'


The Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester is an ideal setting for Arthur Miller’s play “A View from the Bridge”, its structure being suspended bridge-like from huge marble pillars situated in the centre of the great hall of the old Exchange, where old and new contrast but co-exist in symbiosis. This modern seven-sided steel and glass-walled theatre hangs favourably among the grandiose features of the Grade II listed building which was once the gathering place of mill-owners and merchants bartering for cotton and textiles, and which is now home to cafes, craft shops, writing workshops and various relics from a bygone age, where tourists now amass instead of traders. Bombed in World War Two, damaged by the IRA’s efforts in 1996 and revitalised with national lottery funding it now houses this innovative theatre, providing its audiences with a truly intimate theatrical experience, with everyone being seated just seven metres from the set due to the unique circular design of the marvellously engineered internal structure.

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Manchester theatre reviews

The End for Michael Pinchbeck and greenroom

The End by Michael Pinchbeck

performed at greenroom

Reviewed by Simon Belt May 2011

 

The End was written by Michael Pinchbeck over a year ago, and the performance at the greenroom planned long before the new funding budgets by the Arts Council were announced, including devastating cuts for the greenroom. It felt very different. It felt as though the play was written for just the situation the greenroom finds itself in - having to close after nearly 25 years of service as one of Manchester’s cutting edge venues, helping to develop new and experimental talent.

 

Inspired by the stage direction from The Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare – ‘Exit pursued by a bear’, The End explores endings and exits and continues an interest in the reenactment of real life events to investigate absence and loss. The End was Pinchbeck’s last performance and the greenroom's penultimate one, closing at the end of May.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Epic: History Making?

Epic by Foster & Déchery

performed at greenroom

Reviewed by Simon Belt May 2011

 

The pitch for this show definitely intrigued me:

 

'Epic will go on a quest for History; the big one, written about in books, the one with World Wars in it, with memorable dates and names you learn at school, but also the personal one, the human one, the one you can relate to.

 

This is a playful and experimental journey through twentieth century history, combining personal stories, fanciful re-enactments of key historical events, video interviews with eccentric relatives, and a cameo from Bertolt Brecht.' 

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