sat 27/02/2021

Manchester

Age Before Beauty, BBC One review - mid-life makeover madness

If you were looking for the antidote to Love Island, this might be just the job. Instead of airbrushed 20-something Instagram fanatics flaunting their “gym-honed” physiques in the Mediterranean sun, in Age Before Beauty (BBC One) writer Debbie...

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Apostasy review - trouble in the Jehovah's Witnesses' Kingdom

Religion’s desire to fulfil humanity too often denies it instead. The cruelty of inflexible faith which breaks fallible adherents on its iron rules is at the core of this family drama, written and directed by former Jehovah’s Witness Daniel...

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Manchester Collective, Chetham's, Manchester review - flair and variety

Manchester Collective is a new and enterprising group of musicians determined not just to create performances of high quality but to offer a new way in which the performances themselves are done. They started from scratch at the end of 2016, and I...

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The Path to Heaven, RNCM, Manchester review - tragedy, truth, passion

Adam Gorb’s The Path to Heaven, with libretto by Ben Kaye, is his longest work to date (almost two hours’ running time without interval) and on a story that could hardly be more tragic – the Holocaust. Its premiere at the Royal Northern College of...

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Roscoe, BBC Philharmonic, Mena, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - a scenic send-off

Juanjo Mena, chief conductor of Manchester's BBC Philharmonic for the past seven years, took his official leave of them with a programme reflecting his great love, the music of his Spanish homeland. Albéniz and Falla, to be precise, and the greater...

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Courtney Barnett, Albert Hall, Manchester review - mesmerising indie-rock set

Although once famous for her Australian drawl and hazy jams, on her most recent album Tell Me How You Really Feel, Courtney Barnett has transformed herself into an all-singing indie star, resulting in something more assured, vulnerable, and intense...

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Unknown Mortal Orchestra/Deerhunter, Albert Hall, Manchester review – New Zealanders and friends create festival vibe

Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s four albums all centre around off-kilter pop and flirtations with distortion; their latest LP, Sex & Food, carries this tradition forwards in a more laid-back manner. Their current European tour in support of the album...

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Pinkshinyultrablast, Band on the Wall, Manchester - glitch-pop madness from Russia’s finest

Pinkshinyultrablast might be a long way from their hometown of St Petersburg, but in recent years they’ve built themselves up in England as one of the more bizarre and original bands in today’s psych/shoegaze revival, and on the day their third...

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CD: Blossoms - Cool Like You

Blossoms are the latest inheritors of the massive-in-Manchester mantle that has, so often in the past, translated into massive-almost-everywhere ubiquity. That their eponymous 2016 debut album was a chart-topper shows they’re on the way, although...

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Haveron, BBC Philharmonic, Wilson, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - spirit of the 1940s

John Wilson has built a reputation as a conductor which marks him out as a musicians’ musician. He doesn’t present himself with any pomposity, even wearing a neat black tie and lounge jacket on this occasion, while the male musicians around him were...

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Hansel and Gretel, RNCM, Manchester review – an urban dream

Engelbert Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel is a ‘"fairytale opera" (its composer’s description), and yet one characteristic frequently commented on is its "Wagnerian" scoring. For this production, with David Pountney’s English translation, the RNCM...

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Goode, BBC Philharmonic, Gernon, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review – making beautiful music

Just over a year since his Bridgewater Hall début, Ben Gernon appeared with the BBC Philharmonic there again – this time well into his role as their Principal Guest Conductor, yet his first concert with them there since officially taking up the...

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