Sunday, July 20, 2014

This Week in Manchester

I attended the 24:7 theatre festival last night. This fringe theatre festival is a compact, vibrant few days of creative new work. Its difficult to know what to go to - and I got the times wrong of the show I was planning to go to so had to change at the last minute. The show I attended "Anonymity", I cannot recommend enough. Gareth George's play sees two strangers working at either side of a white line working in the basement of an anonymous building. They both have secrets - are unknowable - and the job that they are doing they have only the vaguest understanding what it is. There are elements of Magnus Mills's "Restraint of Beasts" though its more obvious theatrical precursor is Pinter's early work "Dumb Waiter". Like that we are in a world of hidden motives, lies and conspiracies. When the woman from upstairs comes down to see if they might help her out, the story becomes even more sinister. If it doesn't all quite add up, the three actors are great at heightening the tension of a terse, funny script. There's a sense of our contemporary milieu where everyone is trackable in the desire of these three characters to stay anonymous.

As well as 24:7 there's the  Manchester Jazz Festival on all week in Albert Square, so plenty of opportunities to stay out if the sunshine keeps the rain away. (And as ever in Manchester, we make sure our outdoor events are still under cover.)

Friday I'm at a sold out Will Self talk at MMU's Holden Gallery, accompanying the excellent "Urban Psychosis" exhibition.

On Monday after next, the Wolf Magazine, one of the country's better poetry magazines, is coming up to  Manchester for a free reading at the  Anthony Burgess Foundation. Book (free) tickets here

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