sat 15/06/2024

Liverpool

Boys from the Blackstuff, National Theatre review - a lyrical, funny, affecting variation on a television classic

Prolific playwright James Graham was born in 1982, the year Alan Bleasdale's unforgettable series was televised. From Nottingham rather than Liverpool, Graham recognised in his own surroundings the predicaments of the main characters, the bonds...

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Stephen review - a breathtakingly good first feature by a multi-media artist

Stephen is the first feature film by multi-media artist Melanie Manchot and it’s the best debut film I’ve seen since Steve McQueen’s Hunger. It’s gripping from the first frame to the last; the tension rarely lets up as we watch the main character...

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Macbeth, The Depot, Liverpool review - Ralph Fiennes leads a conventional production in an unconventional space

Next door to the beautiful Art Deco Littlewoods Pools Building, nearly 30 years standing derelict, a set of grey sheds stand, a seat of potential for Liverpool’s nascent film industry. Nearly a century ago, the long, white, towered construction in...

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Album: OMD - Bauhaus Staircase

The three previous albums that Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark have released since reforming in 2010 have all, to varying degrees, adhered to their early sound. The band were part of the post-punk, post-Kraftwerk, 1979-82 synth-pop boom, alongside...

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Cuckoo, Royal Court review - slow, superficial and unfunny

Historically, the Royal Court is the venue for cutting-edge new writing – you know, the kind of plays that have something urgent to say about contemporary life. Like what? Well, let’s see, something important to say about digital alienation, climate...

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Music Reissues Weekly: Let's Stomp - Merseybeat and Beyond

The words “Mersey” and “beat” were first publicly paired-up in July 1961 when a newspaper titled Mersey Beat went on sale in Liverpool. The debut issue – dated July 6-20 1961 – was distributed to newsagents. Its editor, art student Bill Harry,...

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Ladytron, SWG3, Glasgow review - synth stars show time hasn't diminished their relevance

It is a sign of Ladytron’s longevity and relevance that their support acts are now performers clearly inspired by the quartet. Elisabeth Elektra, here picked for opening the night in her home city, may not have the icy cool of the evening’s...

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Shirley Valentine, Duke of York's Theatre review - Sheridan Smith slays it

Can lightning strike twice? Very much so, when it comes to Shirley Valentine, Willy Russell's much-revived solo play which I saw back in the day with its London and Broadway originator, Pauline Collins, who went on to receive a 1990 Oscar nomination...

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Music Reissues Weekly: Modern Eon - Fiction Tales

The most commercially and consistently successful band on DinDisc was Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark. Martha and the Muffins also made a mark. Label mates The Monochrome Set were cool, distinctive but not so chart friendly. The Revillos were less...

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Music Reissues Weekly: The Swinging Blue Jeans - Feelin’ Better Anthology 1963-1969

In late August 1962, Liverpool’s Swinging Blue Genes were booked to play Hamburg’s Star-Club for the first time. At the opening show of their season, they were booed and the curtain was pulled across them. The audience took against their mix of...

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Album: The Boo Radleys - Keep On With Falling

Britpop-era favourites have been critically buried for the most part, unwelcome reminders, much like a hangover, of a wild party now seen as a regrettable generational aberration. The Boo Radleys were outsiders even at the time, Wirral experimental...

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The Responder, BBC One review - the loneliness of the long-distance copper

Cops on the box… don’t we just love ‘em? From Jimmy Perez and Ted Hastings to Inspector Reid from Ripper Street and Stella Gibson from The Fall the list is endless, but obviously we need more. The copper seems to have become the battered Everyperson...

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