Reviews
The Manchester Review

Lachlan Mackinnon, Doves, reviewed by Maryam Hessavi

Lachlan Mackinnon, Doves (Faber, £14.99). Doves is Mackinnon’s fifth collection of poetry. Following on from his last collection Small Hours, shortlisted in 2010 for the Forward Prize for Poetry, his new work marks a departure from a previously more delicate style. Doves is more forthright. In its style it is concerned most noticeably with form […]

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Ian Pople

Adrian Buckner, Downshifting, reviewed by Ian Pople

Adrian Buckner, Downshifting (Five Leaves Publications, £9.99). The OED defines ‘downshifting’ as ‘The action of downshift; an instance of this; spec. (orig. U.S.), the practice of changing a financially rewarding but stressful career or lifestyle for one less pressured and highly paid, but more fulfilling.’ The title poem of Adrian Buckner’s third book of poems paints an idealistic […]

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Ian Pople

John Matthias, At Large: Essays, Memoirs, Interviews, reviewed by Ian Pople

John Matthias, At Large: Essays, Memoirs, Interviews (Shearsman, £16.95). John Matthias, Complayntes for Doctor Neuro & other poems (Shearsman, £9.95). John Matthias, Jean Dibble, and Robert Archambeau, Revolutions: a Collaboration (Dos Madres, $20.00). John Matthias’ At Large is a compendious and welcome collection of Matthias’ essays, memoir and interviews. Very welcome because Matthias is a […]

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The Manchester Review

Samuel Lee, A Field Guide to Supermarkets in Singapore, reviewed by Natasha Stallard

Samuel Lee, A Field Guide to Supermarkets in Singapore (Math Paper Press, $16.00). What’s the difference between a supermarket in Singapore and New Haven, Connecticut? In Samuel Lee’s debut collection ‘A Field Guide to Supermarkets in Singapore’, the Singaporean poet and Yale student wanders the aisles of his native city along with the organic stores […]

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The Manchester Review

Ishion Hutchinson, House of Lord and Commons, reviewed by Chad Campbell

Ishion Hutchinson, House of Lord and Commons, (Faber & Faber, £12.99). Ishion Hutchinson’s second book, House of Lords and Commons, was published by FSG in America, and released here, in the U.K., by Faber & Faber in November. The book’s reputation precedes it: winner of a National Book Critic Circle Award and top of sever […]

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The Manchester Review

Collabro, The Bridgewater Hall, reviewed by Simon Haworth

Collabro, with support from Phillipa Hanna & special guest Carly Paoli), The Bridgewater Hall, 30 November 2017. Collabro arrive at the Bridgewater Hall towards the end of their third long UK tour. Since wining Britain’s Got Talent in 2014 the group have toured internationally and released three highly successful albums (Stars (2014), Act Two (2015) […]

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The Manchester Review

BBC Philharmonic at the Bridgewater Hal, reviewed by Simon Haworth

BBC Philharmonic, conducted by Ludovic Morlot; The Bridgewater Hall, 25 November 2017. The world premiere of Arlene Sierra’s Nature Symphony tonight offers the audience a rare opportunity to hear the composer’s work performed in the UK. Brought up in Miami and New York but now resident in London, Sierra has collaborated with Ludovic Morlot and […]

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The Manchester Review

The Florida Project dir. Sean Baker, reviewed by David Hartley

The latest in an emerging genre of a kind of post-Obama American social realism, The Florida Project lands us smack bang in the sticky heat of a Floridan summer in the run-down outskirts of the Magic Kingdom. Disneyland is a looming presence kept mostly off screen, but gaudily implied by the structures of our Orlando […]

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The Manchester Review

Ian Marriott, The Hollow Bone, reviewed by Ian Pople

Ian Marriott, The Hollow Bone (Cinnamon Press, £8.99). The blurb on Ian Marriott’s first book does a good job of summing up the contents, ‘Meditative, spare and precise…suffused with a vital, shamanic sensibility.’ Marriott’s poems are often very short, with short lines in the kind of free verse which is happy to have different line […]

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The Manchester Review

Shanta Acharya, Imagine: New and Selected Poems, reviewed by Edmund Prestwich

Shanta Acharya, Imagine: New and Selected Poems (Harper Collins Publishers India, INR 399). Shanta Acharya was born and educated in India, where she completed an MA in English before writing a DPhil on Emerson at Oxford and becoming a visiting scholar at Harvard. She’s worked for the investment bankers Morgan Stanley in London. She’s written […]

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Ian Pople

Frank Ormsby, The Darkness of Snow, reviewed by Ian Pople

Frank Ormsby, The Darkness of Snow (Bloodaxe, £9.95). Frank Ormsby’s last book, Goat’s Milk, was a New and Selected giving a rich retrospective on a poet who was part of the flowering of poetry from Ulster that emerged in the shadows of The Troubles. That flowering gave us, firstly, Heaney, Longley and Mahon, and in […]

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The Manchester Review

Metamorphosis, The Lowry, reviewed by Simon Haworth

Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka (Splendid Productions/Kerry Frampton), The Lowry, 16 November 2017. Nobody is sure whether the performance has started. The house lights are still on. There is generic light jazz muzak playing through the sound system at a tasteful volume. The three actors, if they are the actors, are waving and pointing at the […]

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The Manchester Review

Jennifer Egan at the Manchester Central Library, reviewed by Henry Cockburn

Jennifer Egan, hosted by Katie Popperwell at the Manchester Central Library. It starts out like any other highbrow reading. Lights down low, jazz, a room full of chattering literati (some of them refusing to take off their fedoras). Then Egan and Popperwell walk out and…silence. We’re meant to be clapping right? The audience are looking […]

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The Manchester Review

Sir András Schiff at the Bridgewater Hall, reviewed by Simon Haworth

Sir András Schiff, The Bridgewater Hall (International Concert Series), 13 November 2017. As one of the leading interpreters of Bach’s (amongst many other composers’) keyboard works, Sir András Schiff needs little to no introduction. His is a career littered with awards, recognition, residencies, influential recordings and impressive performances throughout the world. Playing in Manchester as […]

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The Manchester Review

The Hallé at the Bridgewater Hall, reviewed by Simon Haworth

The Hallé at the Bridgewater Hall, conducted by Ryan Wigglesworth; 9 November 2017. Tonight’s concert, with the all-purpose Ryan Wigglesworth at the helm as the Hallé’s Principal Guest Conductor, offers two works by Mozart, namely the Aria for Soprano, Piano and Orchestra ‘Ch’io mi scordi di te?…Non temer, amato bene’ (K. 505) and Symphony No […]

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The Manchester Review

Jim Johnstone, The Chemical Life, reviewed by Chad Campbell

Jim Johnstone, The Chemical Life (Signal Editions, £11.45). P.T. Anderson took a break mid-2016 to direct the video for Radiohead’s track ‘Daydreaming’, which follows Thom Yorke through a series of doors – fridge to hotel, hotel to house, closet to laundromat, and up a snowy mountain slope to a fire-lit cave: each door a border, […]

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Lucy Burns

Rachael Allen & Marie Jacotey, Nights of Poor Sleep, reviewed by Lucy Burns

Rachael Allen, Faber New Poets 9 (Faber and Faber, £5.00). Rachael Allen, Hypochondria (If a Leaf Falls Press, £5.00). Rachael Allen & Marie Jacotey, Nights of Poor Sleep (Test Centre, £15.00). Allen’s debut pamphlet with Faber New Poets in 2014 nostalgically reimagined a suburban adolescence “always expecting/ something to happen.” We traipse round the harbour, […]

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Ian Pople

Ange Mlinko, Distant Mandate, reviewed by Ian Pople

Ange Mlinko, Distant Mandate (Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, $23.00). Ange Mlinko’s previous book was called Marvellous Things Overheard, a quotation from Aristotle. ‘Distant Mandate’ is, according to the dust jacket of this new book, a quotation from the Hungarian novelist László Krasznahorkai and is a quotation from Krasznahorkai’s essay on the Alhambra. In the previous […]

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The Manchester Review

Uncle Vanya, HOME, reviewed by Laura Ryan

Uncle Vanya, by Andrew Upton, directed by Walter Meierjohann; November 8 2017. Walter Meierjohann’s production of Andrew Upton’s translation of Uncle Vanya forms part of HOME’s season of art, film and theatre inspired by the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution: A Revolution Betrayed. Anton Chekhov’s late play was in fact first written and performed […]

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The Manchester Review

Daljit Nagra, British Museum, reviewed by Gurnaik Johal

Daljit Nagra, British Museum (Faber & Faber, £14.99). Daljit Nagra’s third book of original poetry, British Museum, has been called “a significant departure of style”. It is definitely more understated than his previous Forward Prize-winning Look We Have Coming to Dover! and the lavishly titled Tippoo Sultan’s Incredible White-Man-Eating Tiger-Toy Machine!!! Where those two collections […]

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Ian Pople

John Wedgwood Clarke, Landfill, reviewed by Ian Pople

John Wedgwood Clarke, Landfill (Valley Press, £10.99). John Wedgwood Clarke’s first full collection, Ghost Pot, came with encomia from Carol Rumens, Penelope Shuttle and Michael Symmons Roberts. On its cover, Bernard O’Donoghue called the book, ‘a masterpiece’. Over the years, his poems have appeared in a range of prestigious journals including, Poetry Ireland Review, PN […]

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The Manchester Review

78/52, dir. Alexandre O’Phillipe, reviewed by David Hartley

There must be a palpable sense of trepidation when filmmakers and documentarians approach the topic of film itself, when the camera has to fetishize its mirror image in the form of a genius auteur or the upstart aesthetics of an eternally restless art form. Here, director Alexandre O’Phillipe reaches out like Indiana Jones for the […]

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The Manchester Review

Ibibio Sound Machine, Gorilla, reviewed by Marli Roode

Ibibio Sound Machine, Gorilla; 28 October 2017. The cowbell is the happiest sound there is. The song that requires the now shirtless (but still in a hat) percussionist to whale on the cowbell could’ve been twice as long and I wouldn’t have cared. But there are a lot of happy sounds tonight. There’s the mbira, […]

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The Manchester Review

Hedda Gabler, The Lowry, reviewed by Tristan Burke

Hedda Gabler, by Henrik Ibsen, adapted by Patrick Marber and directed by Ivo van Hove; The Lowry, 31 October 2017. Productions of Ibsen often recall the paintings of the Danish artist Vilhelm Hammershøi. These mysterious paintings depict uncanny, bourgeois interiors, white panelled walls, isolated items of furniture that inhabit the paintings with the presence of […]

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The Manchester Review

Manchester Literature Festival: Howard Jacobson at Central Library, reviewed by Henry Cockburn

Howard Jacobson at Central Library, hosted by Rachel Cooke; 7 October 2017. “Let’s take it as read—we all love Howard.” When you’re three audience ‘questions’ down and the host has to step in to stem the lovefest, it probably means a couple of things. The thinkers in the room have been given a few things […]

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The Manchester Review

Little Dragon, Manchester Academy, reviewed by Chad Campbell

Little Dragon; Manchester Academy, 26 October 2017. What do Bloc Party, Tv On the Radio, U2, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Queens of the Stone Age, share in common with Little Dragon? They all tried to make danceable records. Some decent. Some terrible. But none of them good. Little Dragon has been perfecting their indie/electronic/R&B […]

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The Manchester Review

BBC Philharmonic at the Bridgewater Hall, reviewed by Simon Haworth

BBC Philharmonic, conducted Nicholas Collon; The Bridgewater Hall, 21 October 2017. For their latest outing at the Bridgewater Hall the BBC Philharmonic offer up a diverse and intriguing program that allows different sections of the orchestra to shine before they come back together in full force for a glorious and powerful performance of probably the […]

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The Manchester Review

Manchester Literature Festival: Kamila Shamsie with Jeanette Winterson, reviewed by Namra Amir

Kamila Shamsie with Jeanette Winterson; Martin Harris Centre, 17 October 2017. People tell you never meet your idols, for fear they don’t live up to your expectations. In my case, watching Kamila Shamsie in conversation with Jeannette Winterson lived up to the admiration I hold for the author. The evening began with John McAuliffe, Co-Director […]

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The Manchester Review

Caroline Bird, In These Days of Prohibition, reviewed by Annie Muir

Caroline Bird, In These Days of Prohibition (Carcanet, £9.99). In These Days of Prohibition, Caroline Bird’s fifth collection with Carcanet, is full of poems that are almost always surreal, often funny, and sometimes profoundly shocking. The book has three sections, each with its own epigraph. It begins with a quote from John Ashbery: ‘Suppose this […]

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The Manchester Review

Manchester Literature Festival: Zaffar Kunial, The Whitworth, reviewed by Chad Campbell

Zaffar Kunial, introduced by Andrew McMillan, The Whitworth, 19 October 2017. Poet Zaffar Kunial and painter Raqib Shaw share some common ground. Both have roots in Kashmir (Kunial through his father; Shaw by birth) and England (Kunial by birth; Shaw by virtue of having lived and worked here for over 20 years). But that is […]

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The Manchester Review

Manchester Literature Festival: Imtiaz Dharker, Manchester Art Gallery, reviewed by Namra Amir

Imtiaz Dharker, Manchester Art Gallery, 20 October 2017. As the Manchester Literature Festival nears the end, I thought I couldn’t be further impressed or surprised by the events. Little did I know that Imtiaz Dharker’s collaboration with Manchester Art Gallery would stun me and revolutionise the way we read and discuss poetry. On my journey […]

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The Manchester Review

Manchester Literature Festival: Elif Shafak and Nadeem Aslam, reviewed by Usma Malik

Elif Shafak & Nadeem Aslam, Central Library, 15 October 2017. It’s just gone 1.30 pm and already there’s a sizeable crowd gathered outside Manchester’s Central Library. The talk doesn’t begin till 2pm, but the audience are keen to get inside and secure front row streets. When Elif Shafak, Nadeem Aslam, and Erica Wagner, our chair […]

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The Manchester Review

Manchester Folk Festival: Quiet Loner at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation, reviewed by Fran Slater

Late afternoon on the last day of the inaugural Manchester Folk Festival, and we were with Quiet Loner at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation. One look at the instruments waiting on the stage, from the slide guitar to the banjo, via the acoustic guitars and the accordion, and you might imagine you were at a […]

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The Manchester Review

Michael Kiwanuka, The Lowry, reviewed by Fran Slater

Before we move onto the headline act, we’ll need to take a little bit of time to talk about the support. Because Bedouine was quite stunning. Alone on a stage that would later hold a band of eight or nine, Bedouine not only commanded the space but also brought a silence into the crowd that […]

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The Manchester Review

Loving Vincent, dir. Dorota Kobiela & Hugh Welchman, reviewed by David Hartley

It is testament to the startling depth of film as an art medium that it has so brazenly brushed off all doom-laden interlopers that threatened to sink it – the coming of sound, the collapse of the studio system, the rise of TV, the internet, CGI, 3D, Netflix, and so on. In truth, film is […]

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