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

Tuesday 5th September: First Tuesday Current Affairs discussion

Discussing Militarising the Far East and a second topic

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Manchester reviewed
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Manchester book reviews

To The War Poets by John Greening

To The War Poets by John Greening

Published by Carcanet Press

Reviewed by Denis Joe December 2014

 

Something occurred in 1914 that makes it very challenging to grasp the century to come.”
Frank Furedi

“. . . the war’s going on still . . .”
To Edmund Blunden

 

We can easily find the theme of World War One in plenty of art forms: film and novels are two obvious examples. The theme tells us a straight forward story (All Quiet on the Western Front). We will have a clear idea of what is being conveyed to us. But poetry is different. Things are not as clear cut and we are made to suspend our conception of reality and meaning when we engage with a poem. Or at least that is how a poem should work. Even the poetry of Owen, Sassoon, Rosenberg, etc., is not as straight forward as it may appear. Though we can assume that those great men were trying to convey the everyday living of war, we can never be certain. One could just as well see the war as a metaphor for the latest stage of capitalism at that time: Mass war; mass production. In the same manner that the worker became a part of the mechanics of the factory the soldiers became a part of the machinery of war.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Peter Pan Goes Wrong at The Lowry

Peter Pan Goes Wrong at The Lowry

by Mischief Theatre Company

Reviewed by Paul Thompson December 2014

 

We're waiting for it to start. Sporting a crew t-shirt and headlamp, a backstage type shoots me eye contact and makes a beeline for my seat. I'm convinced I'm to be reprimanded for taking up too much space with my personal effects – but no. The young actor hired to play Michael Darling is unable to perform, and I'm invited to take the role. “It's just a few lines,” I'm reassured.

 

Have you guessed what's going on yet? If so, good for you. I fall for it hook, line and sinker. I politely decline on the rather flimsy basis that I'm here to review, implying that being a part of it would constitute a conflict of interests. The epiphany that I've been ensnared in pre-show ad-lib arrives later.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Twelve Nights

Twelve Nights or WTF? at Three Minute Theatre

By Manchester Shakespeare Company

Reviewed by Paul Thompson December 2014

 

Two characters are leafing through DVDs, deciding which movie to watch. “Ten Things I Hate About You,” suggests one of them.

 

“Nah”, dismisses the other. “It's based on Shakespeare. It's bound to be shit.”

 

And if the prolific, nodding-and-winking in-jokes of the night are plays by The Bard, that zinger is King Lear. It's a taste of the sort of snappy and uncomplicated gag on offer for anyone who, like me, has no idea what to expect from Twelve Nights (or WTF) – by Three Minute Theatre's in-house team Manchester Shakespeare Company. They've given birth to a knockabout latter-day spin on Twelfth Night (or What You Will) by Stratford-Upon-Avon's most famous offspring. A farcical, panto-flavoured spoof reimagines the tale in FUK – the former United Kingdom – where UKIP are all-powerful, and zero immigration prevails.

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Manchester theatre reviews

My Baby Girl

My Baby Girl

By Jane The Foole Theatre Company

Reviewed by Paul Thompson December 2014

 

It's always a pleasure to witness the spirit of new writing doffing its cap to the classics. Much of what the creative cubs are trying out on the boards owes a disproportionate debt to cinema – multiple locations, sub-plots; and snappy scenes bouncing through time like a pre-illness Stephen Hawking on a space hopper. All well and good if you have the luxury of an editing suite, but overwhelming for an auditorium burdened by transition overload.

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Manchester book reviews

This Thing of Memory by David Hynes

This Thing of Memory by David Hynes

Published by GWL Publishing

Reviewed by Denis Joe November 2014

 

It was inevitable that there would be a relative abundance of poetry published in this, the centenary of the start of the First World War.

 

“What on earth was this centenary meant to evoke? Anything? Should it mean anything to us?'


“Well, not if we keep thinking the Great War is too exalted to analyse or too entrenched in pathos and tragedy to begin to question its legacy. So, I began to conduct my own investigations into the Great War, to see what personal relevance this conflict still had over me.


“And, lo and behold, I discovered the Great War was entirely relevant- and not just to me, but to all of us.”

David Hynes

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