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Theatre Reviews

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Manchester theatre reviews
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Manchester theatre reviews

Tinned Goods by Fiona WhitelawTinned Goods

Performed by Tea and Tenacity at Salford Arts Theatre

Reviewed by Simon Belt March 2016

 

On the way to the theatre, as the story-line to a gag goes, I was listening to Radio 4's Loose Ends in the car. There were some self-deprecating gags on it, but the thing that struck me was the reference to Alexei Sayle's latest book - 'Thatcher stole my trousers'. To be honest, it was a little tiresome during the Thatcher era to hear 'progressive types' blame Thatcher for all bad things done to them, but for that to live on into 2016 seems bizarre.

 

Margaret Thatcher, and the miners strike of 1984-5 particularly, are reference points for contemporary life even more important than the old reference point of the second world war for a certain milieu, who downplay broader Historical perspective. This is abundantly expressed through the Arts, and the theatrical production Tinned Goods by Tea and Tenacity is a good example of this.

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Manchester theatre reviews

You’re Not Alone by Kim Noble

You’re Not Alone by Kim Noble

at Contact Theatre, Manchester

Reviewed by Stephen Bowler March 2016

 

Kim Noble begins his one-man gig pacing twitchily, e-cig in one hand, drink in the other, sizing-up the punters as we the audience file into the theatre. No wonder he looks on-edge: in the hour that follows he dredges the depths of discomfort as he bulldozes the boundaries of bad taste.

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The Madness of George III by Alan BennettMadness of George III

Performed at Garrick Theatre, Altrincham

Reviewed by Simon Belt and Yvonne Cawley April 2016

 

This award winning play by Alan Bennett is billed as a ‘mix of terror, comedy and tragedy’ is a story based on King George III’s well documented bout of madness and the ensuing political power struggle. We see Fox ‘courting’ the scheming Prince of Wales, encouraging him to incarcerate the King, supposedly for his own good health but really so they both benefit - as taking on the role of ‘Prince Regent’ would therefore offer greater political power and access to the treasury coffers. If it is proved that the King is losing his mind, then he will lose his power too.

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Negative Space by Reckless Sleepers

Negative Space by Reckless Sleepers

at Contact Theatre, Manchester

Reviewed by Stephen Bowler March 2016

 

The star of this performance is a large white boxy space, with plasterboard walls on three sides and a floor containing three trap-doors and two wooden chairs. Four men and two women come into and exit this space. They have no names and no roles. No words are spoken and there is no music.

 

Over the course of an hour the six performers come and go in no particular order.

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David Neilson (Hamm) and Chris Gascoyne (Clov) in Endgame

Endgame at Home

by Samuel Beckett, co-presented by Citizens Theatre

Reviewed by Stephen Bowler February 2016

 

Imagine, if you will, an existential launderette, where, one evening, you take your embodied self for a service wash. You check in your soul, which goes into a big boxy machine on a programme marked all-Western-thought-and-then-some, along with some Cartesian powder and a little Comedic conditioner. During the 90-odd minute wash your psychic goods go round and round, scratching a bit on the window, yielding flashes of apparel in no particular order. The end of the cycle looks a lot like the beginning.

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The Gospel according to Jesus, Queen of Heaven

The Gospel according to Jesus, Queen of Heaven

Written and performed by Jo Clifford

Reviewed by Stephen Bowler February 2016

 

The Gospel according to Jesus, Queen of Heaven is a one hour ‘sermon’ written and performed by Jo Clifford, who invites us to embrace a ‘queer Jesus’. More agitprop performance art than theatrical event.

 

The audience is addressed and directly challenged by Clifford who is constantly on the move, sometimes in-amongst those who have responded to the offer to sit closer, in a more intimate setting, but more often round the back of us, disallowing any comfortable sense of distance between audience and performer.

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