Reviews
The Manchester Review

Caroline Bird, In These Days of Prohibition (Carcanet, 2017), reviewed by Annie Muir

Caroline Bird – In These Days of Prohibition (Carcanet, 2017), reviewed by Annie Muir 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 […]

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The Manchester Review

Zaffar Kunial, The Whitworth Gallery, Thursday Oct. 19th, Reviewed by Chad Campbell

ZAFFAR KUNIAL The Whitworth Gallery, Thursday Oct. 19th Introduced by Andrew McMillan  Reviewed by Chad Campbell   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 […]

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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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The Manchester Review

Manchester Folk Festival: John Smith at Gorilla, reviewed by Fran Slater

John Smith, with Georgia Lewis and Nina Harries; Gorilla, 19 October 2017. I hate to say it, but it feels like Manchester Folk Festival may have created a rod for their own backs right from the very start. Because this event will be difficult to match. With sets from three very different acts, the festival […]

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The Manchester Review

Parliament Square, Royal Exchange Theatre, reviewed by Sascha Stollhans

Parliament Square by James Fritz, directed by Jude Christian; Royal Exchange Theatre, 20 October 2017. One morning, Kat (Esther Smith) kisses her husband and daughter goodbye and leaves the house. But instead of going to work, she gets on a train to London. She is led by an inner voice; a voice that encourages her […]

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The Manchester Review

Manchester Literature Festival: John Banville and Mike McCormack, reviewed by Tessa Harris

John Banville and Mike McCormack, hosted by Ian McGuire, Martin Harris Centre, 10 October 2017. John Banville and Mike McCormack, hosted by Ian McGuire, was a gentle classic of a literature festival event. Technology, language and loneliness were perhaps the major themes of a discussion that ranged from influences and nationhood to Banville’s creation of […]

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The Manchester Review

Elaine Cosgrove, Transmissions, reviewed by Sahar Abbas

Elaine Cosgrove, Transmissions (Dedalus, £10.00). Elaine Cosgrove’s debut collection of poems, Transmissions, is inviting and full of intrigue. Touching on the front cover of her collection, it is natural that Cosgrove’s first poem begins with an image of cities and a Motorway, as her cover paints quite the abstract picture of a night skyline.‘We pass / […]

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The Manchester Review

Cornelia Parker: Verso, The Whitworth, reviewed by Danielle Gravon

‘Cornelia Parker has always been attracted to the backs and undersides of things’ the museum wall-text for the exhibition begins. Verso explores a different life of art objects by revealing what is typically unseen. Forty-eight photographs of the backs of hand-sewn button cards hang in six clusters of eight along a narrow gallery on the […]

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The Manchester Review

Kuss Quartet, The Stoller Hall, reviewed by Simon Haworth

Kuss Quartet, The Stoller Hall, 12 October 2017. The Stoller Hall is still so new to Manchester that the distinctive smell of the wood which lines most of the auditorium’s walls subtly pervades its attendant audience. Opened in April this year, the hall is fairly unassuming from the outside as you pass Victoria Station and […]

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The Manchester Review

Manchester Literature Festival: Jon Savage at The International Anthony Burgess Foundation, reviewed by Chad Campbell

Jon Savage: Burgess, Punk and the Sex Pistols, introduced by Andrew Biswell, The International Anthony Burgess Foundation, 17 October 2017. Jon Savage moved with Punk to Manchester in the late seventies after the Sex Pistols’ famous ‘76 ‘June Show’ at the Lesser Free Trade Hall; a gig attended by Pistol’s fans (like Steve Morrissey) who […]

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The Manchester Review

Edward Gant’s Amazing Feats of Loneliness, Hope Mill Theatre, reviewed by Fran Slater

Edward Gant’s Amazing Feats of Loneliness, by Anthony Neilson; Hope Mill Theatre, 10 October 2017. It feels only fair to start with the positives, so that’s what I’ll do. Because People Zoo did do a good job of providing all the elements needed to make up an enjoyable theatrical performance. As is always the case […]

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The Manchester Review

Manchester Literature Festival: The Real Story presents Know Your Place, reviewed by David Hartley

The Real Story presents Know Your Place: Gena-mour Barrett, Abondance Matanda, Andrew McMillan & Kit de Waal; International Anthony Burgess Foundation, 9 October 2017. The title of this event, and the book it launches, makes a clear demand of us: not to reflect on our place, not to consider it, but to know it. Taken […]

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The Manchester Review

Manchester Literature Festival: Refugee Tales II: Caroline Bergvall, Kamila Shamsie & Marina Warner, reviewed by Usma Malik

Refugee Tales II: Caroline Bergvall, Kamila Shamsie & Marina Warner; Central Library, 16 October 2017. This is not an actual title of one of the short story collections that make up Comma Press’s Refugee Tales. It’s how I’ve synthesised the message of the stories. In fact, even the phrase ‘short story collection,’ may be slightly misleading. […]

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The Manchester Review

James Womack, On Trust: A Book of Lies, reviewed by Chad Campbell

James Womack, On Trust: A Book of Lies (Carcanet, £9.99). On Trust: A Book of Lies goes out of its way – on the jackets, author biography, and notes – to tell you that none of the book’s contents are true. Or, as the Colonel in the epigraph says, may “not have happened quite this […]

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Maryam Hessavi

Manchester Literature Festival: Elif Shafak & Nadeem Aslam, reviewed by Maryam Hessavi 

Elif Shafak & Nadeem Aslam, hosted by Erica Wagner; Central Library, 15 October 2017. “Where to begin” – was the place at which Erica Wagner initiated the event, setting up the primary concerns and philosophical line of conversation that would formulate an intellectually invigorating and moving discussion between these two powerful writers, Elif Shafak and […]

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Maryam Hessavi

Manchester Literature Festival: The Things I Would Tell You: Elbadawi, Hamid, Osman, Mahfouz, reviewed by Maryam Hessavi      

The Things I Would Tell You: Asma Elbadawi, Nafeesa Hamid, Hibaq Osman and Sabrina Mahfouz, Central Library, 15 October 2017. Hosted by award-winning Sabrina Mahfouz, The Things I Would Tell You event offered insights, experiences and performance from Asma Elbadawi, Nafeesa Hamid and Hibaq Osman, who form part of the twenty-two strong compilation of writers […]

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The Manchester Review

Manchester Literature Festival: The Things I Would Tell You: Elbadawi, Hamid, Osman, Mahfouz, reviewed by Namra Amir

The Things I Would Tell You: Asma Elbadawi, Nafeesa Hamid, Hibaq Osman and Sabrina Mahfouz, Central Library, 15 October 2017. Sabrina Mahfouz is a British Egyptian playwright, poet and screenwriter. As the editor of the anthology “The Things I Would I Tell You”, she warmly greets the crowds and introduces the writers Asma Elbadawi, Nafeesa […]

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The Manchester Review

Manchester Literature Festival: Colette Bryce and Tara Bergin, reviewed by Joe Carrick-Varty

Literature Live: Colette Bryce and Tara Bergin, Martin Harris Centre, 16 October 2017. Monday 16th October, 2017, Manchester saw a red sun and dust blown from Africa, not to mention gale force winds and a few overturned wheelie bins. But somewhere, somewhere deep in the midst of all this chaos a separate storm was brewing. […]

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The Manchester Review

Acosta Danza, The Lowry, reviewed by Hazel Shaw

Acosta Danza, produced by Sadler’s Wells and Valid Productions; The Lowry, 12 October 2017. Carlos Acosta has used his fame and popularity a ballet dancer to turn the spotlight towards the next generation of Cuban dancers through his company Acosta Danza. Their first UK tour brings a taster of their talent and distinctively playful approach […]

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The Manchester Review

Aziz Ibrahim: Lahore to Longsight, HOME, reviewed by James Chonglong Gu

After a brief pre-concert talk with Aziz Ibrahim and his friends, the hugely anticipated big show finally started at 7:30 sharp with a bang. Teaming up with Manchester Camerata (‘probably Britain’s most adventurous orchestra’), Aziz, a proud Manchester native, wowed big time in front of an electrified Mancunian crowd on HOME soil. Special guests of […]

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The Manchester Review

Manchester Literature Festival: Will Self at Central Library, reviewed by Henry Cockburn

Will Self, hosted by Alex Clark, Central Library, 10 October 2017. Self lumbers onto the stage dressed in a quasi-uniform of Napoleonic blue and high-throated red, mutters to himself through a jawful of gum, then plays peek-a-boo with the armchair. The effect is of a large off-duty circus monkey. The audience leans in, unsure whether […]

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The Manchester Review

Phil Wang, The Lowry, reviewed by David Firth

Phil Wang, The Lowry, 7 October 2017. With a last name like Wang, it’s likely that most comedians would find it hard to resist a few penis jokes. Phil Wang is no exception, starting the Salford leg of his fourth solo show tour with a heady array of wang-and-wank-related gags. The audience gagged plenty on […]

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The Manchester Review

Manchester Literature Festival: Sinéad Morrissey & Douglas Dunn, reviewed by Sahar Abbas

Sinéad Morrissey & Douglas Dunn, hosted by Vona Groarke; Martin Harris Centre, 9 October 2017. At the Martin Harris Centre for Music and Drama, under the Cosmo Rodewald Theatre’s star-filled ceiling, two very special stars themselves – Sinéad Morrissey and Douglas Dunn – recited poems of undeniable truth and sheer honesty from their new collections, […]

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The Manchester Review

Manchester Literature Festival: Malika Booker at The International Anthony Burgess Foundation, reviewed by Maryam Hessavi

Malika Booker; International Anthony Burgess Foundation, 8 October 2017. If you didn’t make the Malika Booker event last night, you missed a truly magical theatre production of the imagination; full of the wilderness, the natural world, animals masquerading as political figures, Lazarus rising for ‘more fire’ (!), and women letting ‘citrus oils into the wind’… Malika […]

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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 Sir Mark Elder; 5 October 2017. Opening The Hallé’s 2017-18 season at The Bridgewater Hall, and their 160th season overall, is a program consisting of Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune, Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini and Stravinsky’s The Firebird, performed in its entirety. Not […]

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The Manchester Review

The Kite Runner, The Lowry, reviewed by Imogen Durant

The Kite Runner, based on the novel by Khaled Hosseini, directed by Giles Croft; The Lowry, 4 October 2017. Set against the backdrop 1970s Afghanistan, The Kite Runner tells a deeply emotive tale of a brotherly relationship torn apart. Opening in Kabul in 1974, the play successfully subverts the Western audience’s expectations of life in […]

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The Manchester Review

Bladerunner 2049, dir. Denis Villeneuve, reviewed by David Hartley

I admit to a certain level of despair when reboot culture caught up with Blade Runner and this sequel was announced. I’d long held the original close as a piece of cinematic perfection; science fiction at its absolute zenith; a flawed gem, endlessly fascinating and, in its various iterations, strangely mercurial. But in the intervening […]

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The Manchester Review

Joanna Walsh, Worlds from the Word’s End reviewed by Nell Osborne

Joanna Walsh, Worlds from the Word’s End (And Other Stories, £8.99). With a relatively small output, Joanna Walsh has carved herself a place as one of the UK’s most innovative and influential writers. Her fans include writers such as Chris Kraus and Deborah Levy. She is also prescient cultural critic. She edits 3:AM magazine and […]

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The Manchester Review

Manchester Literature Festival: Jon McGregor at The International Anthony Burgess Foundation, reviewed by Tessa Harris

Jon McGregor, Reservoir 13; The International Anthony Burgess Foundation, 7 October 2017. “One of the things for me, about this book,” Jon McGregor explains before he starts the performance “is not to explain things…to people.” He doesn’t get the laugh he deserves. The audience is mostly anxiously clutching smartphones and muttering things like I don’t […]

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The Manchester Review

Stephen Romer, Set Thy Love In Order: New & Selected Poems, reviewed by Chad Campbell

Stephen Romer, Set Thy Love In Order: New & Selected Poems, (Carcanet, £12.99). Is Steve Romer a love poet? How much did his move from England to France in the eighties influence his style? If we’re to take him at his word, he doesn’t “feel part of any French tradition, except perhaps an earlier one…that […]

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The Manchester Review

Circa Survive, The Amulet, reviewed by Simon Haworth

Circa Survive, The Amulet (Hopeless Records, 2017). Signs for this record, the sixth studio album from Philadelphia’s Circa Survive, were looking more than good ever since they began releasing teaser tracks in the summer, four in total: ‘Lustration’, ‘Rites of Investiture’, ‘The Amulet’ and ‘Premonition of the Hex’. The consistency and excellence of those releases […]

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