Reviews
Chad Campbell

Wolf Alice | Etihad Stadium | June 19th

Wolf Alice | Etihad Stadium | June 19th Wolf Alice is hardly what you would call an opening act, but then the Foo Fighters aren’t just any band to open for. Following West Yorkshire indie darlings The Cribs, Wolf Alice played an hour-long set for the some 60,000 fans and small flock of birds that […]

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Ian Pople

Gerður Kristný, Drápa/The Slaying, reviewed by Ian Pople

Gerður Kristný Drápa, The Slaying, trans. Rory McTurk, Arc Publications: £10.99

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The Manchester Review

War Horse | The Lowry

War Horse | The Lowry | 16 – 30 June 2018 After 8 years in London’s West End and several sold out tours across the UK, the National Theatre’s production of War Horse has undoubtedly become a British phenomenon. Part of the story’s charm is that it relies on a heavy dose of nostalgia for […]

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The Manchester Review

The Drill | HOME

The Drill | HOME | 15–16 June 2018 Do you know how to save a life? Do you know how to administer CPR when all around you are losing their heads and blaming it on you? Whether a rehearsal or the real thing, The Drill serves as a reminder that it may take more than […]

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The Manchester Review

David Calcutt, The last of the light is not the last of the light, reviewed by Ken Evans

The last of the light is not the last of the light by David Calcutt, Fair Acre Press: £9.99 David Calcutt’s first full collection from small, independent press Fair Acre, is pre-occupied with rites of passage, and above all, death, and the transformative power it thrusts upon us. The book opens with a quote from […]

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Ian Pople

Michael O’Neill, Return of the Gift, reviewed by Ian Pople

Michael O’Neill Return of the Gift Arc Publications £9.99 In Sources of the Self, Charles Taylor comments that, for the Romantics, ‘The artist doesn’t imitate nature so much as he imitates the author of nature.’ Perhaps it is because Michael O’Neill has studied the Romantic poets for most of his academic career, that his own […]

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The Manchester Review

Happy Days | Royal Exchange | Samuel Beckett

Happy Days | Royal Exchange | May 25th – June 23rd We find ourselves in the Royal Exchange, in the company of Maxine Peake again, having seen her Hamlet, her Miss Julie, her Skriker, her Queens of the Coal Age. For Beckett’s Happy Days, we find her buried, at first, up to her middle, and […]

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The Manchester Review

Swan Lake / Loch na hEala | Lowry Theatre: Week 53

Week 53 | The Lowry | Swan Lake / Loch na hEala | Michael Keegan-Dolan & Teac Damsa Swan Lake / Loch na ehEala won the Irish Times Theatre Award in 2017, and came to the Lowry as part of the 12-day Week 53 ‘Festival for the Curious’. Michael Keegan-Dolan is considered a leader in […]

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The Manchester Review

City Calm Down | The Deaf Institute

City Calm Down | The Deaf Institute | May 23rd The Deaf Institute has views. There’s a long bar for leaning, a raised, glass-enclosed platform for those who like to watch from the side like Salieri in Amadeus, a standard pit in front of the raised stage, and a stair-step bleacher gallery where you can […]

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Chad Campbell

Too Many Zooz | Gorilla

Too Many Zooz | Gorilla | May 16th The Wiki-quote that Too Many Zooz are ‘well known for Pellegrino’s characteristic dance moves’ really doesn’t cover licking the full length of a black diamond-encrusted baritone sax. But it does point to how it is hard to tell your friend why they’ve got to come with you […]

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The Manchester Review

Long Day’s Journey Into Night, reviewed by Sima Imsir Parker

Long Day’s Journey Into Night | HOME The famous first sentence from Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina has perhaps been repeated too many times already, ‘”Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Nonetheless, it is almost impossible not to remember when thinking about Eugene O’Neill’s prime work, Long Day’s Journey into Night. Perhaps due to autobiographical details of […]

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Ian Pople

Three Pamphlets: Ling di Long, Finishing Lines, and The Museum of Truth, reviewed by Ian Pople

Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch, Ling di Long, Rack Press £5; Ian Harrow, Finishing Lines, Rack Press £5; Nicholas Murray, The Museum of Truth, Melos £5 Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch has been cited as a successor to the ‘narrative’ school of British poetry; a school which perhaps reached its apogee in the writing of James Fenton and Andrew Motion in […]

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The Manchester Review

Richard Scott, Soho, reviewed by Nell Osborne

Richard Scott | Soho | Faber & Faber Richard Scott’s debut poetry book, Soho, comes after his pamphlet Wound won the 2016 Michael Marks Award for Poetry Pamphlets. Whilst reading it on the bus, I overheard a woman tell her friend that she hopes her baby son will ‘turn out gay’ so they can ‘watch […]

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The Manchester Review

Of Mice & Men at 02 Ritz

Of Mice & Men | 02 Ritz | April 23rd Of Mice & Men, on tour round Britain at the moment, are a fairly new, high energy, American metalcore quartet – not, as I originally thought, a staging of John Steinbeck’s classic novel of the same name (in my defence, Of Mice and Men was […]

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Ian Pople

E.J. Koh, A Lesser Love, reviewed by Ian Pople

E.J. Koh, A Lesser Love, Pleiades Press £12.75 E.J. Koh’s A Lesser Love is the prize winner of the Pleiades Press Editors Prize for Poetry and comes with back cover puffs from D.A. Powell and Timothy Donnelly. It contains a wide range of poems, registers and style. And it also contains a lot of anger, […]

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The Manchester Review

Araf, dir. Didem Pekün, reviewed by Dr. Clara Dawson

Stills from ‘Araf’, courtesy of artist, 2018. Araf | Berlinale Film Festival | Forum Expanded For the 13th year of its running, the Forum Expanded of Berlinale (14-26 February) took the title ‘A Mechanism Capable of Changing itself’, inviting expressions and explorations from documentary filmmakers of the specific agency of cinema. The curatorial team consisted […]

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The Manchester Review

Miss Saigon at Palace Theatre

Miss Saigon / The Palace Theatre / Manchester Miss Saigon is well known for its gigantic set-pieces and Manchester’s Palace Theatre stage does not disappoint in delivering a large dose of razzle dazzle for this revival tour production. Big numbers. Great songs. Fantastic costumes. Impressive lighting and set design. Miss Saigon has a lot to […]

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Ian Pople

Carl Phillips, Wild is the Wind, reviewed by Ian Pople

Carl Phillips, Wild is the Wind, FSG $23.00 ‘Wild is the Wind’ is one of the great songs from the American Songbook. Originally recorded by Johnny Mathis for the film of the same name, it has picked up a range of interpreters from Nina Simone and David Bowie, to Bat For Lashes, Esperanza Spalding and […]

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The Manchester Review

Embrace at Manchester Ritz

Embrace / Manchester Ritz / 31 March 2018 You stay around long enough, someone will call you a survivor, as if you’ve made it through something and come out the other side, scarred and battleworn and all the more impressive for it. Embrace formed in 1990 – if you can believe that – although they […]

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Ian Pople

Layli Long Soldier, Whereas, Graywolf Press

Layli Long Soldier, Whereas, Graywolf Press $16.00 The OED defines ‘whereas’ in a number of ways, including ‘Taking into consideration the fact that; seeing that, considering that. Chiefly & now only introducing a preamble in a legal or other formal document’. It also defines it as ‘Introducing a statement of fact in contrast or opposition […]

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The Manchester Review

Opera North’s Un Ballo in Maschera

Un Ballo in Maschera at The Lowry, Salford Saturday, March 10th I had first seen Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera (A Masked Ball) during the hedonistic days of my Erasmus year in France, spookily almost exactly five years ago to the day. For a student, the cost of a night of culture in the faded […]

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Ian Pople

Memorial to the Future, by Volker von Törne, trans. Jean Boase-Beier

Volker von Törne, Memorial to the Future, trans. Jean Boase-Beier, Arc £10.99 Volker von Törne was clearly a very interesting man. The son of an SS unit commander, he dedicated his life to reconciliation, particularly with camp survivors, and became a director of Aktion Sühnezeichen Friedensdienste (AS) (Action Reconciliation-Service for Peace) and befriended a number […]

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The Manchester Review

Opera North’s Don Giovanni

Don Giovanni at the Lowry, Salford Wednesday, 7 March 2018 Opera North’s staging of Mozart’s Don Giovanni is a charged mixture of moving parts, pared down scenery with dramatic lighting and comic puppetry. Madeleine Boyd’s set plays with stages within stages and frames within frames that create movement, depth, and distance that leaves just enough […]

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Chad Campbell

Opera North’s Madame Butterfly

Madame Butterfly at the Lowry, Salford Tuesday, March 6th Opera north staged Madame Butterfly at the Lowry Theatre this Tuesday as part of their ‘Fatal Passions’ season. The award-winning company has been performing Madame Butterfly since 2007, and Tuesday’s performance saw the return of Annie Sophie Duprels in the titular role of Cio-Cio-San, Peter Savage […]

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Ian Pople

Simulacra, Airea D. Matthews, reviewed by Ian Pople

Airea D. Matthews, Simulacra, Yale University Press: £14.99 Airea D. Matthews is the 2016 winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets; the 111th such of a series whose previous winners have included Adrienne Rich, John Ashbery and Jack Gilbert. Matthews was chosen by Carl Phillips and his introduction comments that Matthews’ ‘use of wide-ranging […]

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David Hartley

Get Out, dir. Jordan Peele, reviewed by David Hartley

What makes Jordan Peele’s Get Out such a curiosity is the strangeness that comes of its organic genre blending. The film feels like it began life as a comedy, evolved into a dark comedy, then evolved again into a horror thriller with a kitschy edge of comedy constantly echoing in. It feels cultivated rather than […]

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David Hartley

Call Me By Your Name, dir. Luca Guadagnino, reviewed by David Hartley

I’ve often thought that if the Academy wanted to expand their award categories, a statuette for Best Scene would make for an intriguing accolade. Sometimes a film offers up a moment so exquisite and affecting it can feel as if it is embedding itself deep inside within you, never to be shaken. My case-in-point last […]

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David Hartley

Dunkirk, dir. Christopher Nolan, reviewed by David Hartley

It has now been six months since the release of Dunkirk but its nomination for the Best Picture Oscar gives us a chance to return to it for a reconsideration, with a little pocket of distance as a cushion. At the time of release, the film was, for the most part, very warmly received – […]

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David Hartley

Lady Bird, dir. Greta Gerwig, reviewed by David Hartley

There is much that is familiar in Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird. It is a coming-of-age tale about a high school teenager which hits many of the expected narrative beats; there are arguments with parents, deep-talk with teachers, intensely felt loves and devastating break-ups. There’s a school play, a prom dance, a boozy party. But Lady […]

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David Hartley

The Shape of Water, dir Guillermo Del Toro, reviewed by David Hartley

To be swept up in the current of Guillermo Del Toro’s The Shape of Water is to be bathed in the peculiar comfort afforded by the dark fairy-tale genre: there will be horrors, there will be monsters, but there will also be a magic which is on our side and will carry us safely back […]

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The Manchester Review

Feel Free, Zadie Smith, reviewed by Gurnaik Johal

Feel Free, Zadie Smith, Pengiun Random House In her second collection of essays, Feel Free, Zadie Smith proves once again to be an essential writer of our times. The wide-ranging subject matter of the book shows Smith as an acute observer of the world and an astute critic of culture and art. Each piece, whether […]

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David Hartley

Phantom Thread, dir. Paul Thomas Anderson, reviewed by David Hartley

I entered the world of Phantom Thread on very scant details and I would recommend the same approach for everyone else. Despite it’s subject matter, this is a film with no bluster or pretensions; it simply wants to pin you in place and tell you its story while it soaks you in its variations of […]

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The Manchester Review

The Final Year, dir. Greg Barker, reviewed by James Chonglong Gu

Aired at HOME MCR, the on-the-fly documentary The Final Year, directed by Greg Barker, provides us with an unprecedentedly intimate insider’s look at the inner workings of the Obama administration in its last months; the not-so-distant past that gave way to the new Trump-era. In 2008, when the exhilarating news broke that Barack Hussein Obama […]

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The Manchester Review

The Post, dir. Steven Spielberg, reviewed by David Hartley

With the current political pressures being exerted on news media in the US, cinematic comfort-blanket Steven Spielberg seems super-delighted to have emerged with such a timely film. In interviews, he’s pitched The Post as a rallying cry for the embattled news media of today; the posters shouting STREEP and HANKS like they are totemic warriors […]

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The Manchester Review

Glass Mountain at Jimmy’s, reviewed by Tessa Harris

Glass Mountain, at Jimmy’s, February 11th, Manchester Sunday night at Jimmy’s was unmistakably northern. Classy acts with interesting sounds, all four bands were worth braving the sleet for. Headliners Glass Mountain (Bradford they told us) were preceded by Shallow Waters from Wigan, Violet Contours from York, and Dakota Avenue from Salford. While Jimmy’s wasn’t packed, […]

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