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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

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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Manchester theatre reviews

Shades of Diva

Shades of Diva by Lloyd Eyre-Morgan

Performed at Three Minute Theatre, Afflecks Arcade

Reviewed by Simon Belt June 2012

 

I’m not quite sure what I was expecting from Lloyd Eyre-Morgan's Shades of Diva. Accurately described as a musical drama, it was being performed in a converted shop under Afflecks Palace which is now Manchester’s funky new Three Minute Theatre. What I experienced was a refreshing and delightful reminder of the creative and dedicated passion people have for theatre, and the effort they will put in to make sure the show goes on, and that it's quality.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Waiting for Brando

Waiting for Brando

at Unity Theatre, Liverpool

Reviewed by Denis Joe June 2012

 

There is an urban myth borne of two areas of modern mythology: cinema and Liverpool. When Elia Kazan was filming On The Waterfront, in 1953 in a dockside bar in New York, two Liverpool merchant seamen were allowed to stay during the filming. Apparently you can see the backs of their heads in a mirror.

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Spamalot at Opera House

Monty Python’s Spamalot at Opera House

By Eric Idle and John Du Prez

Reviewed by Helen Nugent May 2012


As someone who spent a great deal of their student life quoting the Knights Who Say Ni and demanding a shrubbery, news that Monty Python’s Spamalot was coming to Manchester was as thrilling a prospect as meeting the keeper of the Bridge of Death.

 

For the uninitiated, Monty Python’s eccentric blend of non sequiturs, half-finished sketches and stream of consciousness comedy can seem baffling. But on the first evening of a week-long run at Manchester’s Opera House, the majority of the audience were clearly hardened fans who delight in regurgitating Python scripts.

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Can We Talk About This?

Can We Talk About This? at The Lowry

Conceived and directed by Lloyd Newson

Reviewed by John Hutchinson May 2012

 

A very powerful piece of theatre was on display at The Lowry Centre in Salford, one that is an expression of our times and a direct challenge to our modern taboos and anxieties. This is not art that is imaginative, virtual, or creative, if by these terms we mean some form of fiction or installation that reframes or reshuffles our perceptions as many modern art exhibitions are intended to do.

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Unhappy Birthday by Amy Lamé. Photo by Tom Sheehan

Unhappy Birthday by Amy Lamé

Tour performance viewed at Contact

Reviewed by Dave Porter  May 2012

 

Celebrity culture, or rather the cult of the celebrity, is hardly a new thing. People wanting to touch the hem of Jesus’ cloth is maybe the first known instance of how close we come to such adulation.

 

Nowadays, celebrities are simultaneously so much nearer and so much further aloof. It’s not so much about touching the hem of their cloth, but knowing someone who has touched the hem of the cloth. Or knowing their brother’s best friend who has.

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Maxine Peake as Miss Julie and Joe Armstrong as Jean in MISS JULIE. Photo by Jonathan Keenan

Miss Julie by August Strindberg

Royal Exchange, Manchester

Reviewed by Bill Hughes May 2012 

 

Sarah Frankcom, in directing Strindberg’s Miss Julie at the Royal Exchange, resists the impulse so often indulged by the company to take classic drama out of its context and make crass points on twenty-first-century issues. And, given Strindberg’s confrontation with class and feminism, this would have been easy to do.

 

Strindberg’s play was written in 1888, on the cusp of massive social change - class barriers were dissolving, religious certainties collapsing, the Woman Question was in the air (especially as voiced by Strindberg’s bête noir, the progressive Ibsen). The new form of naturalist drama and the formal experiments of Strindberg create a new drama appropriate for the age. This involved such techniques as doing away with act and scene divisions, for instance, having actors perform mundane tasks to ensure a continuous flow of dramatic action while significant events take place off stage.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Henry V at Liverpool Playhouse

Henry V at Liverpool Playhouse

Reviewed by Emma Short April 2012

 

The Globe Theatre, who are currently touring the UK before their main season launches in early June on Bankside, have brought Shakespeare's Henry V to the Liverpool Playhouse. Framed by its famous proscenium arch the unfolding of England's victory over France at the battle of Agincourt under the direction of Dominic Dromgoole was a pleasure to witness indeed.

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Crossing Points at Liverpool Playhouse

Crossing Points at Liverpool Playhouse

Performed by Phoenix Dance Theatre

Reviewed by Jennifer Iddon March 2012

 

A good few years ago I undertook a Performing Arts course and on the whole embraced every aspect of the course except the dreaded movement class. I disliked the movement classes and if like at school there had of been a report at the end of the year I would have definitely been in the ‘must try harder’ category. I could not get the point of the classes, imagine the stereotype scenario of a movement class whilst reciting phases like ‘feel the space’ and ‘let your movements be organic’. You’re possibly getting the picture.

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