Theatre
The Manchester Review

The Shawshank Redemption, The Lowry, reviewed by Fran Slater

The Shawshank Redemption, The Lowry, May 5 2016; adapted by Owen O’Neill and Dave Johns, directed by David Esbjornson.   Hope springs eternal. Any of Stephen King’s constant readers (as the author himself likes to call them) will recognise that three-word phrase. It is the mantra by which Andy Dufresne, protagonist of King’s 1982 novella […]

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The Manchester Review

Now Listen To Me Very Carefully, HOME, reviewed by William Simms

Bootworks Theatre presents Now Listen To Me Very Carefully, HOME; June 7 2016. Now Listen To Me Very Carefully charts Bootworks Theatre Artistic Director Andy Robert’s self-diagnosed obsession with James Cameron’s 1991 film Terminator 2: Judgement Day. According to Robert’s stage persona, he has seen the film 238 times, and upon entering the theatre he […]

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The Manchester Review

The Night Watch, The Royal Exchange, reviewed by Fran Slater

The Night Watch, The Royal Exchange; May 19, 2016 (Photograph by Richard Davenport) The Night Watch, in Sarah Waters’ 2006 novel at least, investigates a range of important societal injustices that existed in England around the time of the Second World War. The novel does a thorough job of documenting the issues faced by conscientious […]

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The Manchester Review

Twelfth Night, HOME, reviewed by Fran Slater

Twelfth Night, HOME; May 11 2016 There are a few ways to do Shakespeare. Fans of the bard will be familiar with a fair few of them. From the standard stick to the script and stick the actors in clothes that look a bit like those they wore in the 1500s, to the modernise the […]

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The Manchester Review

King Lear, The Royal Exchange, reviewed by Annie Dickinson

King Lear, The Royal Exchange, dir. Michael Buffong, April 1 – May 7, 2016 With a play like King Lear, William Shakespeare’s formidable tragedy of madness, a divided kingdom, and children turned against their parents, expectations are inevitably going to be high, and director Michael Buffong’s co-production with Talawa Theatre, the Royal Exchange, and Birmingham […]

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The Manchester Review

L’elisir d’amore, Opera North at The Lowry, reviewed by Ashley McGovern

L’elisir d’amore, The Lowry, March 17 2016 The collaboration between harried librettist Felice Romani and the celebrated composer Gaetano Donizetti resulted in a trio of operas about three wildly different women. Overall, they seemed to favour melodrama, beginning with a tragic Tudor mistress in Anna Bolena (1830) and finishing on a lusty high with the […]

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The Manchester Review

The Beanfield, HOME, reviewed by Fran Slater

The Beanfield, April 2 2016 Have you heard of the Battle of the Beanfield? I don’t mind admitting that, until last night, it wasn’t something that I was aware of. Some of you will be agreeing with me, I’m sure; while others, those who do know about the terrible events that unfolded in a field […]

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The Manchester Review

The Herbal Bed, The Lowry, reviewed by Ruari Paton

The Herbal Bed, dir. James Dacre The Lowry, 30th March 2016 In the summer of 1613 Susanna Hall (Emma Lowndes), the daughter of William Shakespeare and wife of local doctor John Hall (Jonathan Guy Lewis), is publicly accused by her husband’s former student Jack Lane (Matt Whitchurch) of having an affair with close family friend […]

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The Manchester Review

The Encounter, HOME, reviewed by Laura Swift

The Encounter, Complicite/Simon McBurney, HOME, March 17th 2016 In 1969, the National Geographic photographer Loren McIntyre travels deep into the Amazon rainforest, alone, to find and document the Mayoruna people, a nomadic tribe who, in 1969, have had barely any contact with the rest of the world. In his eagerness to document them, Loren follows […]

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The Manchester Review

Così fan tutte, Opera North at The Lowry, reviewed by Emma Rhys

Così fan tutte, The Lowry, Salford Quays, 16–18 March 2016 Così fan tutte – the politically incorrect title translated variously as ‘Women Are Like That’, ‘They’re All the Same’, or the preferable, ‘The School for Lovers’ – is an Italian opera composed by Mozart in 1790 to a libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte. Commissioned by […]

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The Manchester Review

Endgame at HOME, reviewed by Tristan Burke

Thu 25 Feb 2016 – Sat 12 Mar 2016 There is a moment in Endgame where Clov, the worn out, abused servant of the imperious Hamm, looks through a telescope at the audience and announces that he can see ‘A multitude…in transports…of joy’. The joke isn’t quite that the play is so deathly boring, miserable, […]

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The Manchester Review

Husbands and Sons, The Royal Exchange, reviewed by Peter Wild

Husbands and Sons, dir. Marianne Elliott, The Royal Exchange, 23 February 2016 Tha knows, doesn’t tha? What to expect from Derek Herbert Lawrence. Tha knows. Cloth caps. Mining towns. Put upon lasses with frownin, frowzy faces. Aye, tha knows. Tha knows what life is like on’t hard edge. Tha knows what it’s like, doesn’t tha? […]

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The Manchester Review

Macbeth, HOME, reviewed by Laura Swift

Macbeth, A HOME, Young Vic and Birmingham Repertory Theatre co-production in association with Lucy Guerin Inc., HOME, February 2-6 By the time Macbeth (John Heffernan) learns that his wife has died, he is already slumped against the wall. The rest of the cast stand in the shadows upstage, panting after a frenetic sequence of hypnotic […]

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The Manchester Review

A Girl is a Half Formed Thing, The Lowry, reviewed by Peter Wild

A Girl is a Half Formed Thing, Quay Theatre, The Lowry, February 4 2016 The debut novel by Eimear McBride was a literary cause celebre when it was first published back in 2013, having first been rejected by a number of publishers. McBride has said it took six months to write and nine years to […]

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The Manchester Review

Roseacre, HOME, reviewed by Peter Wild

Roseacre, HOME; January 15-17 I find myself in HOME: Manchester’s newest theatre-cinema-eatery, the bolder and brasher stepchild of that cultural staple, the Cornerhouse. I am sitting on the kind of chairs you find arranged in a school hall before the latest iteration of the Nativity (and it’s a full house, to the extent that we […]

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The Manchester Review

The Revenger’s Tragedy, The Lowry, reviewed by Annie Dickinson

The Revenger’s Tragedy, dir. Anne Thuot, The Lowry, 19-21 November Produced and performed by the Belgian physical theatre company FAST ASBL, The Revenger’s Tragedy is less a performance or even an adaptation of the Jacobean revenge tragedy of the same name than a stark anatomization of its treatment of women. The 1606 play, now generally thought […]

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The Manchester Review

Pomona, The Royal Exchange, reviewed by Fran Slater

Pomona, dir. Alistair McDowall The Royal Exchange (October 29 – November 21) Pomona is now a famous part of Manchester. An inexplicable wasteland in the space between Manchester City Centre and Salford Quays, accessible from only a few choice entrances, it has become a place that certain people in this city are willing to fight […]

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The Manchester Review

An Ape’s Progress, Manchester Literature Festival, reviewed by James David Ward

Dave McKean, introduced tonight as “the man who wears many hats”, is a constant collaborator, working with everyone from Grant Morrison to Heston Blumethal, and is best known for his longstanding partnership with Neil Gaiman. He has produced accomplished pieces across a number of art forms, from his graphic novels, to his painting, to his […]

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The Manchester Review

The Oresteia, HOME, reviewed by Peter Wild

The Oresteia / HOME / 28 October 2015 2015s third production of Aeschylus’ The Oresteia (there have been productions at the Almeida and the Globe in London) sets itself apart by running with Ted Hughes’s adaptation, which clocks in at some two hours less than the original and propels its audience through what can only […]

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The Manchester Review

Golem, HOME, reviewed by Emma Rhys

Golem, HOME, First Street, Manchester, 7–17 October 2015 Memorable tunes, exquisite performances, and stunning visuals the likes of which I’ve not seen in theatre before. Produced by performance company 1927, whose speciality is combining performance and live music with animation and film, Golem is a wonderful spectacle – entertaining and funny with a subtext of […]

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The Manchester Review

La Mélancolie Des Dragons, HOME, reviewed by Fran Slater

Aging rockers hiding in a trailer, a headbanging competition in a broken down car, floating wigs, ski slopes and fake snow, a bubble machine, and some strangely impressive and multifunctional inflatables. In an extremely bizarre way, La Mélancolie Des Dragons kind of had it all. In other ways, this almost insane mix of components, along […]

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The Manchester Review

So Here We Are, The Royal Exchange, reviewed by Şima İmşir Parker

So Here We Are, dir. Steven Atkinson, The Royal Exchange Pidge (Sam Melvin), Pugh (Mark Weinman) and Smudge (Dorian Jerome Simpson) are sitting on a container representing a Southend sea wall, trying to remember who wrote Peter Pan. Is it Walt Disney or Barry someone? Or perhaps Walter Barry? This is right after the funeral […]

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The Manchester Review

Welcome to Night Vale, Albert Hall, reviewed by James D Ward

Welcome to Night Vale Albert Hall, Manchester, 24/09/2015     Podcasts are simply radio for our on demand times, so it’s appropriate that one of the more popular shows purports to be the broadcasts from a community station situated in an otherworldly part of the American Midwest. Welcome to Night Vale, with its mix of […]

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The Manchester Review

The Crucible, The Royal Exchange, reviewed by Jon Greenaway

The Crucible, dir. Caroline Steinbeis – The Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester First performed in 1953 Arthur Miller’s play has quickly become a cultural touchstone, becoming a fixture of GCSE and A-Level syllabi and beloved by undergraduate and repertory theatre companies for its wide casting and political themes. Therefore, the challenge or any new production is to […]

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The Manchester Review

The Room, Joshua Brooks, reviewed by Emma Rhys

The Room (by Harold Pinter), Joshua Brooks, Princess Street, Manchester, 28–30 September 2015 I would highly recommend you take 50 minutes out of an evening next week to scratch your head and hold your breath at the absurdity and intensity of a Pinter play. This depiction of The Room has been thoughtfully considered and excellently […]

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The Manchester Review

By Far The Greatest Team, The Lowry, reviewed by Fran Slater

By Far the Greatest Team – The Lowry Mixing football and theatre is an interesting but risky move. On paper, the high drama of both forms of entertainment should lend themselves to an exciting combination, the opportunity to bring two of our nation’s favourite pastimes together to create something original and hopefully at least half […]

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The Manchester Review

Interview with Luke Norris, So Here We Are, The Royal Exchange, by Şima İmşir Parker

So Here We Are is the recipient of the Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting 2013, the biggest national competition for playwriting. It is a play by a young writer, Luke Norris, who pens plays and scripts in addition to his bright acting career. Goodbye To All That was his debut play in 2012, which was first […]

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The Manchester Review

Interview with Rachel Redford, The Crucible, The Royal Exchange, by Jon Greenaway

With Caroline Steinbeis bringing a new production of ‘The Crucible’ to the Royal Exchange Theatre in the centenary year of Arthur Miller’s birth, The Manchester Review took the chance to talk to Rachel Redford, up and coming actor and RADA 2013 graduate about her role in the play, dealing with a character who is “so […]

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The Manchester Review

The Stars are Made of Concrete, The Kings Arms, reviewed by Fran Slater

The Stars are Made of Concrete, Kings Arms, Salford, 26th & 27th July 2015 Anyone who has spent much time on the dole or in the job centre would have cracked a wry smile as they made their way into Salford’s most interesting theatre for The Stars are Made of Concrete. Carol (Jo Dakin) was […]

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The Manchester Review

Shaun of the Dead, The Dancehouse, reviewed by Fran Slater

Shaun of the Dead , The Dancehouse, 22nd – 24th July 2015 It could be argued that you should know what to expect when viewing a stage version of Shaun of the Dead. This would be a different trip to the theatre than many. There were unlikely to be any pretensions, soliloquys would be at a […]

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The Manchester Review

The Skriker, The Royal Exchange, reviewed by Peter Wild

The Skriker, Royal Exchange, 1st July – 1st August 2015 Firstofall:imaginewordssoclosetogetherthatyoucan’talwaystellthemapart. You’re in the Royal Exchange, a space transformed, adorned, made out, played out like a Siberian fighting pit, your humble bumble of a reviewer one floor up looking down on a lot of anxious, middle-class people sat at benches wondering, perhaps, what they have […]

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The Manchester Review

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Salford College, reviewed by Alex Pearce

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Pendleton Shakespeare Company, Ben Kingsley Theatre, Salford College, 22nd-24th June 2015 Whilst strolling through Buile Hill Park, the clouds gathered, creating a sudden eerie change in the light. My companion asked, ‘Will there be ghosts?’ Not tonight. For we were travelling to see the Pendleton Shakespeare Company – not, presently, a […]

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The Manchester Review

Half a Person, The Kings Arms, reviewed by Fran Slater

Half a Person, The Kings Arms, Salford, 20th June 2015 Perhaps the most special thing about the upstairs theatre at The Kings Arms is its simplicity. In a dark attic with only old pub chairs to sit on, there can be little room for the spectacular settings and props seen in many of Greater Manchester’s more […]

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The Manchester Review

Constellations, The Lowry, reviewed by Fran Slater

Constellations, The Lowry, 9th-13th June 2015 A stage surrounded by white balloons and some slightly hypnotic music. Two actors enter the room. Lights flicker through the balloons, alerting the audience to the fact that something different could be about to happen in front of them, a play that might test the boundaries. Then Marianne (Louise […]

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The Manchester Review

Jon Ronson at The Met, Bury, reviewed by Fran Slater

Jon Ronson, The Met, Bury, 22nd May 2015 From his son’s first brush with the world’s worst swearword, to strange encounters with Iain Paisley, via Frank Sidebottom and experiences of secret terrorist meetings, Jon Ronson told tales of his extremely fascinating life with the humbleness and wit his fans have grown used to. He also […]

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