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Confidential Choice

Trudie Robinson’s seven day guide: Literature live, Juno and Kung Hei Fat Choy

Published on February 7th 2008.

Confidential Choice

Circus of Horrors – The Asylum
The freakish yet familiar characters that regularly populate the Circus, in this incarnation, are aptly transplanted to an asylum. The undead ringmaster Doktor Haze has bought a ‘mad house’ on the edge of Paris to present his new show Bloody Thirsty and Burlesque but as the city sleeps, old Horrors favourites and new characters escape and run amok through town. A host of Witchdoctors, Voodoo Acrobats, Bendy Bodies, Demon Dwarfs and Flying Vampires and even a Pickled Person are rounded up by Doktor Haze plus the live ‘devil driven’ rock ‘n’ roll of The Interceptors From Hell provides the music and a cast of Burlesque Beauties some extra visual stimulation.

Manchester Palace Theatre Oxford Street, City, M1. 0161 228 6255
Thu 7 Feb.

Yep, they did indeed only play Manchester a couple of months ago but whether Pete Doherty got his diary in a bit of a pickle or not, they’re certainly at the Apollo this week. The band were originally formed by Doherty during a break from his main band the Libertines when Carl Barat and co got fed up with his ‘addictive’ personality, but when the Libertines split permanently, Babyshambles became Doherty’s main project. The band take their inspiration from punk and ska and after having a few gigs where Doherty didn’t last the course or forgot to turn up at all, they seem to be more on an even keel.

Manchester Apollo Stockport Road, Ardwick. M12 08444 777 677
Sun 10 Feb.

The press has been full of, partially astonished, comment that Juno should be written by a former lap dancer - Cody Diablo, albeit one that was already known for her blog Candy Girl: A Year in the Life of an Unlikely Stripper. As surprisingly as it might appear that a stripper could put pen to paper, the consensus is that the result is a charming indie flick. Following a one night stand with her best friend, Juno finds she is pregnant. So starts her quest for suitable adoptive parents for her imminent arrival. Ellen Page has been praised for her sensitive yet humorous portrayal of the teen mum and the feature also stars Arrested Development’s Jason Bateman as one of the prospective adoptive parents.
On general release.

Literature Live
The Centre for New Writing at the University of Manchester marks a successful first year with another of its Literature Live events. Reading this time around are Jonathan Trigell and Clare Wigfall. Both graduates of the MA in Creative Writing, the pair return to mingle with students from the course and pass on some of their wisdom. Trigell was first noted for the novel he wrote whilst on the course, Boy A, the story of a young man released from a juvenile detention centre after being convicted of murder a child. The novel was adapted into a film which screened on Channel 4 late last year. Whereas Wigfall’s debut book of short stories The Loudest Sound and Nothing was published by Faber last year.

Martin Harris Centre, The University of Manchester (Oxford Road, Manchester M13. 0161 275 8951) Sun 11 Feb.

Importance of Being Earnest
Oscar Wilde’s popular comedy of manners centring upon two caddish figures who take on alter egos to woo ladies receives another outing. Jack Worthing lives in the country with his ward Cecily Cardew, but in London he is known as Ernest and is in love with Gwendolen Fairfax. Miss Fairfax’s cousin Algernon Moncrieff by strange coincidence is also using the pseudonym of Ernest. He visits the country and in turn falls in love with Cecily. As perplexing as it may sound all will be made clear by the Middle Ground Theatre Company, founded back in 1988, and the cast which features Fern’s dad Tony Britton no less.

The Lowry Pier 8, Salford Quays, M5. 08707 875780
Until Sat 9 Feb.

Waiting for Godot
Not seen on the Library Theatre since 1971, the play in part inspired Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, which was part of last season’s offerings at the theatre. Samuel Beckett’s most famous play is a fine example of his most befuddling best. At first glance nothing much happens, Vladimir and Estragon wait for someone called Godot; enter Lucky and briefly Pozzo and the play ends. But between the opening line and the closing words, Vladimir ponders philosophical thought, whilst Estragon preoccupies himself with the base desires of hunger and bodily function. Though they are outside standing beside a tree they are apparently imprisoned by their wait for Godot who may or may not exist. Read of it what you will but if only see one play in a lifetime let it be this one.

Library Theatre Central Library, St Peter’s Square, City, M2. 0161 236 7110
Fri 1 Feb - 8 March.

Mind-Forg'd Manacles: William Blake and Slavery
Originally exhibited in Hull and Glasgow last year, this exhibition neatly commemorated the 250th anniversary of Blake’s birth and the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade. The collection consists of Blake’s work exploring contemporary attitudes towards slavery. Blake was heavily opposed to the trade, and supported successful campaigns that led to its abolition in 1807. In addition to the physical nature of slavery, Blake also believed that it was a state of mind and attitudes held such as having limited perceptions or following conventional religion was to be enslaved by the 'mind-forg'd manacles' of one's own making and much of his art sees a confrontation between repression and freedom.

Whitworth Art Gallery University of Manchester, Oxford Road, M15. 0161 275 7450
Until 6 April.

Art Treasures in Manchester 150 Years On - Community Exhibition
The Art Treasures exhibition currently running at Manchester Art Gallery not only commemorates the original exhibition of 1857, it’s inspired art in the community too. Nine community groups in areas such as Rusholme in the south, Collyhurst in the north and Wythenshawe on the outskirts of the city, have created work that celebrates their heritage over the past 150 years. People have been aided by a variety of artists in many different fields from photography, textiles, sculpture to sound recordings. After being exhibited in centres within the community they now hit the ground floor of the gallery whose exhibition inspired it originally.

Manchester Art Gallery Mosley Street, City 0161 235 8888
Until 20 April.

Richard Hawley
He’s a friend and collaborator of Jarvis Cocker, he’s critically acclaimed whilst well respected amongst his peers and in 2006 was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize for his fourth album Coles Corner. Hawley can’t seem to lose at the minute. Stylistically he has the hallmarks of an old school rock ‘n’ roll, bluesy crooner, a little bit Roy Orbison and elsewhere akin to a slowed up Chris Issak. Some of his lyrics and their delivery do teeter on the cheesy though you get the impression it’s unashamedly so. It’s worth checking out the be-quiffed one from Sheffield. He’s one of the most down earth musicians you’re likely to hear.

Manchester Academy (Manchester University Students Union, Oxford Road, Chorlton on Medlock, M13. 0161 275 2930) Fri 8 Feb.

Chinese New Year
Kung Hei Fat Choy: Manchester welcomes the year of the rat with a glittering array of festivities including Dragon and Lion Dances, Kung Fu demonstrations, folk dance performances and stalls and workshops.

In time-honoured fashion, the Golden Dragon Parade leaves Albert Square at 12.30pm (approx) and winds its way towards Chinatown. Around the streets of Chinatown, there will be special stalls and fairground rides, plus the chance to sample the delights of the surrounding restaurants and oriental shops. The official celebrations end with a stunning firework finale at 6pm (approx).

Sun 10 Feb, 12.30pm – 6.30pm (Albert Square and Chinatown)

Circle Club
Property debate No 3
Is Manchester over developed? As the city centre is full to bursting with apartments and shows no sign of slowing down the Circle Club takes a look at the residential capacity of Manchester. Many apartments are now in negative equity according to some investors and the shop units beneath them lie empty as the retail sector struggles. Is the housing market something to worry about or is the media simply creating hype over nothing? Have developers got greedy? Are there too many apartments or has the city go it right?

Free for Circle Club members, £5 for non member email
rsvp@thecircuitseries.com to book.
Tues 12 Feb, 6.30pm (Circle Club, Barton Arcade)

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