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Manchester reviewed
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Manchester theatre reviews

Hamlet by The National at CornerhouseHamlet by The National Theatre at Cornerhouse

Filmed live in high definition from the National's Olivier Theatre and broadcast as part of National Theatre Live, directed by Nicholas Hytner.

Reviewed by Anne Ryan December 2010

For most of us the National Theatre is a building a couple of hundreds of miles away – despite the fact that our taxes support the institution, performances are restricted to Londoners and the odd 'provincial' tour. So three cheers for the screening at Cornerhouse and in cinemas worldwide – and why did it not happen a few decades ago?

 

Viewing a play in the cinema is a strange experience – I was never quite sure whether to clap or not! But this was a fascinating and rewarding night at the theatre/cinema.

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Manchester book reviews

Not a Chimp

'NOT A CHIMP: The hunt to find the genes that make us human'
by Jeremy Taylor (Oxford: Oxford UP, 2009) xiv+338pp

Reviewed by Iain Brassington

To what extent, if any, do nonhuman animals enjoy a moral status comparable to that of human animals?  Jeremy Taylor’s claim in Not a Chimp is that there is a clear and significant moral gulf between us and them; hence, whatever we may or may not do to nonhuman animals, this is not because they can make the same rights-claims as we.  The basic thrust of the case he makes – I was going to say “argument”, but stopped myself just in time – is simple: much weight has been carried by the idea that humans and their closest nonhuman relatives, chimpanzees, are separated by a mere 1.6% of their genome and that chimps at least should be recognised as having a comparable moral status on that basis; but the genetic story is more complicated than that; therefore the claim about moral status is unsound.

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Manchester theatre reviews

A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol at The Lowry

Written by Charles Dickens, presented by the Library Theatre Company, adapted by David Holman and directed by Rachel O’Riordan

Reviewed by Jane Turner December 2010

 

This year's Christmas production by the Library Theatre Company in their temporary home at The Lowry Theatre is A Christmas Carol.


I’m not a connoisseur when it comes to Dickens, and I confess a little shame-facedly, given that I am reviewing a production of his work here, to having never read one of his books from start to finish. I own quite a few of his works, and have started and re-started many of these plenty of times, and almost finished one or two. I could probably recite the front page of several right here, right now.

 

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Manchester lifestyle reviews

Frank Sidebottom by Wayne Marsden of Design by Particular

Frankophilia!

An exhibition of artwork by Frank Sidebottom fans

Reviewed by Fat Roland November 2010

I've followed Frank Sidebottom from his surreal infancy on Granada TV and his cartoon adventures in print (Frank's Fantastic Oink! Page) to his recent revival on Channel M.


Following the passing of his creator Chris Sievey earlier this year, Timperley's silliest export is now the subject of a comprehensive exhibition at Salford University. I visited the show carrying the whole weight of my Frank fandom: this was either going to be, as Frank would have it, bobbins or fantastic.

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Manchester book reviews

Ferraris For All

Ferraris For All by Daniel Ben-Ami

Reviewed by Mark Iddon November 2010

‘Ferraris For All’, is a book of bold ambition setting out to defend the idea of economic progress, from those with the presently dominant view who the author refers to as growth sceptics. It is also published at a time when we appear to have been at low point of the worst recession since the 1930’s, following the near collapse of the banking industry. The Labour Party has been recently voted out of office and the ConDem coalition attempts to reduce the national deficit with savage cuts to public spending and the Bank of England expresses deep uncertainty about the future.

 

Now, in complete contrast, Daniel Ben-Ami, a well established journalist specialising in writing on economics and finance for over 20 years, makes a very novel statement suggesting that everyone in the world should own a Ferrari. The title of the book is attributed to WORLDwrite, an education charity committed to global equality, whose slogan is ‘Ferraris For All’. Ben-Ami notes, however, that actually the Ferrari is symbolic, and it is not essential to be restricted to that particular brand, but it is about the aspiration and ambition for everyone to have much more than they actually need.

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Manchester theatre reviews

The Followers of Dionysus in THE BACCHAE. Photo by Jonathan Keenan

The Bacchae at the Royal Exchange

An all new version of this dark and liberating play, produced and created by artistic director Braham Murray.

Reviewed by Iain Brassington November 2010

I once had a politics tutor who decided that it was important that we should study The Bacchae, and that we ought to be drunk before the tutorial started, on the basis that… well, on the basis that it’s The Bacchae.  Since then, there’s been a small part of me that’s wanted to try my hand at directing it. But how? 

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Manchester theatre reviews

Macbeth @ Capitol Theatre (MMU)

A Song of The Goat Theatre production and co-promoted by Library Theatre

Reviewed by Charlotte Starkey October 2010

Manchester is in some respects a second home: the Song of the Goat Company has very close connections with Manchester Metropolitan University through the MA Acting programme run (mainly in Poland) with the university’s School of Theatre. The director, Gregorz Brai teaches on the collaborative drama course – based in Poland, the Teatre Pie?? Kozla/MMU MA. Gabriel Gawin (Macbeth) and most of the other performers have close working links with the same programme.

 

This production complements the larger venture of promoting the richly diverse culture of Poland during the 2009/10 period, coinciding this year with the anniversary of the birth of one of Poland’s great composers, Chopin (click on Chopin & The Poet to read Charlotte's review of that).

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Manchester music reviews

Lloyd Cole photo by Doug Seymour

Lloyd Cole Small Ensemble @ (RNCM)

Reviewed by Dave Porter October 2010

If these are tough times for most of us, they are particularly so for musicians. To finance his latest album, Lloyd Cole asked 1,000 fans to each pay $45 each up front – and they duly came forward.

 

At his Manchester gig, Cole never missed a chance to plug the album and encourage people to buy a copy on the night, even promising to come out after the show and “sign absolutely anything”.

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Manchester theatre reviews

The Lady From The Sea at Royal Exchange

A new version of Henrik Ibsen's passionate and sweeping drama by David Eldridge

Reviewed by Dave Porter October 2010

When the lighthouse keeper's daughter Ellida meets the widower Dr Wangel, she tries to put her long lost first love behind her and begin a new life as a wife and stepmother, but the tide is turning and an English ship is coming down the fjord and the undercurrents threaten to drag a whole family beneath the surface in this passionate and sweeping drama.

 

Described as "Anna Karenina meets The Piano".

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Manchester film reviews

The Social Network

The Social Network viewed at Cornerhouse, Manchester

Reviews by Anne Ryan, Simon Belt and Fat Roland October 2010

Directed by Oscar-nominated filmmaker David Fincher (Se7en and Fight Club) and written by The West Wing’s creator Aaron Sorkin, this absorbing drama chronicles the rise and fall of the three founders of the social-networking phenomenon Facebook, following them to the heights of their success and the depths of jealousy and greed.

 

Anne Ryan's view...

So what do you do if you're a nerdy kid at college and looking to get laid? Well if you're a girl you might dye your hair, lose weight, have a makeover – even consider getting implants – but if you're a boy, and specifically if you're Mark Zuckerberg – you invent Facebook.

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