Reviews
The Manchester Review

Manchester International Festival: Returning to Reims, reviewed by Imogen Durant

Returning to Reims, dir. Thomas Ostermeier; HOME, July 11 2017. Thomas Ostemeier brings a work of creative non-fiction by Didier Eribon to life in this thought-provoking performance. A personal memoir with a political focus, the 2009 book by the French sociologist which gives this performance its title offers a penetrating examination of the social forces […]

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The Manchester Review

Penelope Shuttle, Will you walk a little faster?, reviewed by Ken Evans

Penelope Shuttle, Will you walk a little faster? (Bloodaxe Books, £9.95). The eponymous title poem of Penelope Shuttle’s latest collection, Will you walk a little faster?, keen ‘Alice’ fans will know, is a line from ‘The Mock Turtle Song’ in Lewis Carroll’s, Alice in Wonderland. The minimalist simplicity of Shuttle’s form here, is not a […]

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The Manchester Review

Bluedot: Sunday’s music, reviewed by Lucy Burns

Bluedot, Jodrell Bank Observatory, Orbit stage, July 9 2017. At a festival like Bluedot where so much depends on the science talks, the workshops, the demonstrations, the projections, the light shows, the readings…you’d expect the music programming to get left behind. Besides the set of fairly predictable crowd pleasing headliners (Pixies, Orbital, and alt-J) Bluedot […]

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The Manchester Review

Bluedot: Saturday’s music, reviewed by Lucy Burns

Bluedot, Jodrell Bank Observatory, Orbit stage, July 8 2017. At a festival like Bluedot where so much depends on the science talks, the workshops, the demonstrations, the projections, the light shows, the readings…you’d expect the music programming to get left behind. Besides the set of fairly predictable crowd pleasing headliners (Pixies, Orbital, and alt-J) Bluedot […]

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The Manchester Review

Bluedot: Radiophonic Workshop, reviewed by David Hartley

Bluedot, Jodrell Bank Observatory, Orbit stage, July 9 2017. There’s a quiet thrill of anticipation in the stuffy air of the Orbit tent, early evening of the Bluedot Saturday. It’s the bubble of knowing that witnessing the BBC Radiophonic Workshop live is likely to be a rare and unique pleasure. With Leftfield and Orbital on […]

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The Manchester Review

Bluedot: Orbital, reviewed by David Hartley

Bluedot, Jodrell Bank Observatory, Lovell stage, July 8 2017. With the blazing sun on its way down and the giddy full moon on its way up, the second night of Bluedot needed some suitable music-of-the-spheres to toast the glorious day. Fortunate then that techno pioneers Orbital had set aside their three year indefinite hiatus to […]

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The Manchester Review

Bluedot: The Dark Web – explained by Geoff White, reviewed by David Hartley

Bluedot, Jodrell Bank Observatory, Contact stage, July 8 2017. There’s a sense at Bluedot sometimes of the stark difference between the utopia of the open air fields and the darker undercurrent of misdemeanour inside the science talks. Not that there’s anything dangerous or dodgy going on, more that there are confrontations within these fabric walls […]

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The Manchester Review

Bluedot: Delia Derbyshire and Mary Casio, reviewed by Tessa Harris

Bluedot, Jodrell Bank Observatory, Delia Derbyshire Day – 80th Anniversary Tribute, Nebula Stage, July 8; Mary Casio: Journey to Cassiopeia, Lovell stage, July 8 2017. At festivals, especially big ones with lots of good stuff going on, you get used to wisps of sound from other tents and stages intruding on your experience. I’ve always […]

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The Manchester Review

Bluedot: Pixies, reviewed by Tessa Harris

Bluedot, Jodrell Bank Observatory, Lovell stage, July 7 2017. Pixies under the Lovell Telescope with talks on how the universe was formed still ringing in my ears made a strange and beautiful kind of sense. The day was hot and heavy and the crowd that waited at barriers for them for hours beforehand was already […]

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The Manchester Review

Bluedot: Sheena Cruickshank, The Amazing and Horrible World of Parasites, reviewed by Tessa Harris

Bluedot, Jodrell Bank Observatory, Mission Control, July 7 2017. It’s hot. I’ve danced in the sun throwing my head back, losing my hat. I’ve burnt my nose. I have an ice-cream and there are tents all round the edges of the field, they’re full of clever people giving talks. I’ll chose somewhere to sit and […]

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The Manchester Review

Bluedot: Ezra Furman & The Boyfriends, reviewed by Tessa Harris

Bluedot, Jodrell Bank Observatory, Lovell Stage, July 7 2017. “This is my favorite thing to do in the world” Ezra Furman told an adorning front row at Bluedot on Friday night, “thank you for being here with me.” And as someone shouted up at them, it was a gawd-damn pleasure Ezra! With performances that are […]

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The Manchester Review

Bluedot: Professor Steve Fuller, Transhumanism: Can You Afford to Live Forever, reviewed by David Hartley

Bluedot, Jodrell Bank Observatory, Contact stage, July 8 2017. You come to Bluedot for music, sure, and maybe a few fun science experiments with plastic bottles and ping-pong balls. But you also come here to wrestle with some of humankind’s most fundamental and ethically demanding questions. On the table today is a simple one: want […]

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The Manchester Review

Bluedot: Leftfield, reviewed by David Hartley

Bluedot, Jodrell Bank Observatory, Orbit stage, July 7 2017. Twenty-two years have whipped past since Leftfield released their pioneering album Leftism and joined the ranks of Chemical Brothers, The Prodigy and Orbital in steering British music away from the total heat-death of endless guitars. The Orbit tent is packed for a full performance of the […]

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The Manchester Review

Bluedot: Anchorsong, reviewed by David Hartley

Bluedot, Jodrell Bank Observatory, Nebula stage, July 7 2017. Part of the joy of a festival like Bluedot is happening upon a spare hour and filling it with an act you’ve never heard of and know nothing about. The festival itself makes much of the idea of discovery, so much so that it is practically […]

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The Manchester Review

Bluedot: Jeff Forshaw, Universal: A Guide to the Cosmos, reviewed by David Hartley

Bluedot, Jodrell Bank Observatory, Mission Control, July 7 2017. It’s a tall order trying to explain life, the universe and everything – or at least how it all started – to a tent full of festival folk on a cloudy Friday in a field in Cheshire in forty minutes. But particle physics Professor Jeff Forshaw […]

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The Manchester Review

Manchester International Festival: Holly Herndon and Yael Bartana, reviewed by Luke Healey

Dark Matter: Holly Herndon, Gorilla, June 30; Yael Bartana, What if Women Ruled the World?, Mayfield Depot, July 5, 2017. In a blog post dated 9 March, 2017, Manchester International Festival’s Director John McGrath framed the contents of this year’s edition as ‘a picture of the world today’. While McGrath maintains that ‘We don’t set […]

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Ian Pople

Love Supreme Jazz Festival 2017, reviewed by Ian Pople

Love Supreme Jazz Festival, Glynde Place, June 30-July 2. So, Love Supreme is five. And there was a swing back to jazz (pun intended) this year. Topping the bill on Sunday on the main stages were Robert Glasper and Gregory Porter; and Herbie Hancock ended the day in the Big Top on Saturday. On the […]

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The Manchester Review

Richard Barnett, Seahouses, reviewed by Ken Evans

Richard Barnett, Seahouses, (Valley Press, £7.99). Is it too fanciful to hope, that a cultural archaeologist, in six hundred years, might turn over in their hands, the delicate, beautiful rectangle of processed wood, print technology, and creative design, that is the small press poetry volume of today, and marvel? They would be right to marvel […]

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Ian Pople

Sheena Kalayil, The Bureau of Second Chances, reviewed by Ian Pople

Sheena Kalayil, The Bureau of Second Chances (Polygon, £8.99). The trope of the recently widowed man returning to the ‘mother’ land from another country might, in other hands, have seemed just that, a trope. The man who’s returned from time to time and built a house near to his home village, amid the land which […]

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The Manchester Review

Lucha Libre, Albert Hall, reviewed by Luke Healey

In 2015, the multi-Emmy award-winning television producer Mark Burnett, brains behind such reality shows as Survivor and The Apprentice, launched Lucha Underground, a weekly episodic professional wrestling show realised in partnership with Hollywood director Robert Rodriguez. Bringing wrestlers from the American independent scene and Mexico’s AAA promotion together with supernatural storylines and a pulp-cinematic production […]

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Ian Pople

William Palmer, The Water Steps, reviewed by Ian Pople

William Palmer, The Water Steps (Rack Press, £9.95). There is a corner of English poetry which is forever Georgian. It traces its roots back to Edward Thomas and tends to go there directly; it does not pass Larkin and has a nodding genuflection to Yeats, but it goes straight to Thomas. This means that it […]

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Ian Pople

Mai Der Vang, Afterland, reviewed by Ian Pople

Mai Der Vang, Afterland, (Graywolf Press, $16.00). If the Hmong peoples of Laos have any presence on this side of the Atlantic, it may be in the unfortunate environment of Clint Eastwood’s film Gran Torino, described by Timeout as the ‘ultimate “get off my lawn” movie.’ In that film, Eastwood’s grouchy character forms a relationship […]

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The Manchester Review

Bitter Tears: The Films of Rainer Werner Fassbinder, HOME, reviewed by Tristan Burke

Bitter Tears: The Films of Rainer Werner Fassbinder, HOME, May 7-31. It is well known that the great West German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s work rate was prodigious. In a brief career between 1969 and 1982 he directed forty films and two television series, and wrote twenty-four stage plays and four radio plays. He not […]

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The Manchester Review

Herding Cats, Hope Mill Theatre, reviewed by Fran Slater

Herding Cats, Hope Mill Theatre, May 25 2017. Billed only as a black comedy that depicts the dark humour of loneliness, little could have prepared audiences for some of the extremes that Herding Cats would go to to demonstrate the depths to which a lonely life can take you. Justine (Kayleigh Hawkins) turns to the […]

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Marli Roode

Maxïmo Park, Albert Hall, reviewed by Marli Roode

We are giddy and overdressed. Our drinks lifted above our heads, we follow each other into gaps to find our place in the crowd. ‘It’s a sold-out show, you know,’ we say to each other. We do know, but it has to be said. It’s the requisite observation at gigs, meaning a rare second place […]

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The Manchester Review

Strange and Familiar, Manchester Art Gallery, reviewed by Simon Haworth

Strange and Familiar: Britain as Revealed by International Photographers, curated and organized by Martin Parr and Barbican Centre, London; Manchester Art Gallery. Located on the upper floor of Manchester Art Gallery, this fascinating exhibition brings together a diverse lineup of prominent international names in contemporary photography. Both the range of styles and approaches unique to […]

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The Manchester Review

Four pamphlets from If a Leaf Falls Press, reviewed by Lucy Burns

Sam Riviere has been producing a series of very limited edition pamphlets from his micro press, If a Leaf Falls Press, since 2015. 34 pamphlets have been published so far (though more are always being added to the list), with some first publications and work from poets you might not have heard of listed alongside […]

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The Manchester Review

The Japanese House, Gorilla, reviewed by Lydia Walker

The Japanese House: a band that have never been on my radar pops up in an email of new live shows up for reviewing. I conduct a quick Google search and find out that it is in fact the solo project of Buckingham’s Amber Bain. Who is Amber Bain? Turns out she’s collaborated with The […]

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The Manchester Review

The Crucible, Manchester Opera House, reviewed by Peter Wild

The Crucible, Manchester Opera House, May 8 2017. “There is a prodigious fear of the court in the country,” we are told in the second half of Douglas Rintoul’s production of Arthur Miller’s 1950 play, The Crucible – and for a minute, there is a ripple, a shudder, across the audience in the Opera House, […]

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Ian Pople

Nicholas Murray, A Dog’s Brexit, reviewed by Ian Pople

Nicholas Murray, A Dog’s Brexit (Melos Press, £5.00). Nicholas Murray’s ‘Get Real’ a verse satire on the coalition government was published in his fine book Acapulco, also from William Palmer’s Melos Press. That poem used a modified Burns stanza to show just how hypocritical the coalition was; in all it’s fine rhetoric about balancing books […]

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The Manchester Review

The Golden Shovel Anthology: New Poems Honoring Gwendolyn Brooks, reviewed by Hannah Bressler

The Golden Shovel Anthology: New Poems Honoring Gwendolyn Brooks, edited by Peter Kahn, Ravi Shankar, Patricia Smith (University of Arkansas, £18.99). The ‘Golden Shovel’ form was created by Terrance Hayes to honour Gwendolyn Brooks. The rules are simple: 1. Borrow a line from a Gwendolyn Brooks poem, or another poem you admire 2. Use each […]

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Ian Pople

Jorie Graham, Fast, reviewed by Ian Pople

Jorie Graham, Fast, (Carcanet, £12.99). Much is made of Jorie Graham as a ‘phenomenologist’; ‘phenomenology’ being ‘the description of things as one experiences them, or of one’s experiences of things.’ Further distinctions follow, one of which is often the rejection of Descartes’ division of mind and body, and also the rejection of usual distinction of […]

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The Manchester Review

MK Ultra, HOME, reviewed by Imogen Durant

MK Ultra, directed by Rosie Kay, HOME, May 3 2017. From its opening declaration, ‘This is Fake Theatre’, it is clear that MK Ultra is a performance that intends to challenges the notion of truth and its role in modern media. Taking its name from a mind control programme developed by the CIA in the […]

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The Manchester Review

Sounds From the Other City, Salford, reviewed by Luke Healey

The thirteenth annual Sounds From the Other City festival took place on 7 May, once again radiating outwards across Salford from the complex around Islington Mill. This area has continued to develop as an epicentre for the more experimental side of Manchester’s independent scene in the twelve months since the festival’s last installment, with satellite […]

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The Manchester Review

Tank, HOME, reviewed by Emma Rhys

Tank, Breach Theatre, HOME, May 4 2017. It’s the 1960s. Consciousness is being expanded by LSD and a house is being flooded with water to accommodate a specious romance between a woman named Margaret and a dolphin named Peter. Sex n’ drugs n’ dolphins. FADE IN: Dolphin Point Laboratory, St Thomas, Virgin Islands. Psychonaut John […]

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