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Confidential choice

Trudie Robinson’s seven day guide: Body Worlds, Stewart Lee, Angel Moth and TV Themes

Published on February 21st 2008.

Confidential choice

Body Worlds 4 - Gunther Von Hagens
If you’ve looked with intrigue, albeit through a grimace and a wince, at Von Hagens’ dissections programmes late night on Channel Four here’s your chance to get up close and personal with his corpse collection. Although you can’t prod one, you can at least take a very close look at his fascinating Plastination process invented in 1977 that preserves corpses forever more. On show is a range of full bodies plus both healthy and diseased organs to delight/disgust - delete as applicable.
Manchester Museum of Science and Industry (Liverpool Road, Castlefield, M3. 0161 832 2244
From Fri 22 Feb until 29 June)

Stewart Lee
One of the most intelligent, thought-provoking comedians on the circuit today. So much so, that a recent Channel Four poll ranked him the 41st best stand up ever. Tickled by the nomination he called his latest show just that, but his mum, it transpires, prefers Tom O’Connor having seen him do a joke on a cruise ship ten years earlier about a sardine. It got Stewart musing on how much these polls matter and whether you should in fact be trying to impress anyone but yourself. Slow, deliberating, considered and innovative are just some of the words to describe this unique comedian.
The Lowry (Pier 8, Salford Quays, M5. 08707 875780
Fri 22 Feb)

Jun Nguyen-Hatsushiba
This retrospective is the first UK exhibition for the influencial Asian artist. The range of work on display features bang up-to-date work and his trademark underwater films. Frequently drawing on his Asian heritage, Nguyen-Hatsushiba’s films portray such surreal images as divers depicting Chinese rickshawes traversing the sea bed, a Chinese dragon dance and underwater portrait painting. In much of his work, Nguyen-Hatsushiba explores themes such as tradition and cultural identity and features a pervading ‘explicit and dark symbolism.’
Manchester Art Gallery (Mosley Street, City 0161 235 8888
Sat 23 Feb until 1 June)

Rich Hall
The American grouchy comedian who’s king of the deadpan is on tour. Expect absurdist yet politically astute humour with barbed routines on his native land. Plus he’s bringing along his special Perrier winning creation Otis Lee Crenshaw, a red neck aspiring country star who has spent more than his fair share of time in the clink and married more women called Brenda than you can shake a stick at. Two for the price of one, what a bargain.
The Lowry (Pier 8, Salford Quays, M5. 08707 875780
Sun 24 and Mon 25 Feb)

A play for children or anyone with an imagination, Angelmoth is an enchanting fairy tale about a girl called Pippanouska who works in a dusty library. Regulars come in to escape their daily drudgery, but those troublesome lives are transformed when they encounter the Angelmoth, a magical butterfly-like creature who leads them on a journey of escapism and wonder. Presented by Ballet Lorent, the narrative is portrayed through dance, music and storytelling and like all good fairy tales there’s a dark side to overcome.
The Lowry (Pier 8, Salford Quays, M5. 08707 875780
Thu 21 Feb)

Eels’ 1996 debut album Beautiful Freak contained some of the most memorable tunes of the mid nineties. The band were one the best of a deluge of American indie groups at that time who were moving on from early nineties Nirvana and grunge. Their hit Novocaine for the Soul tripped lo-fi but persistently through your head and helped them cross over from obscure indie kid fodder to the mainstream. Founded by, and focused around Mr E, who was already a solo artist, it almost seemed like he’d stopped recording but apparently not.
Bridgewater Hall (Lower Mosley Street, City, M2. 0161 950 0000
Wed 27 Feb)

TV Themes
TV theme tunes as performed by a real life orchestra is as cheesy as an Edam festival in Amsterdam but you know you’re going to love it. Performed by the Halle no less will be all your favourite theme tunes from times gone by and the present day; from English classics such as Dr Who to soapy Eastenders and from the other side of the Atlantic are the likes of Cagney and Lacey and Dynasty. Warning, you may not get these out of your head for some time.
www.bridgewater-hall.co.ukBridgewater Hall (Lower Mosley Street, City, M2. 0161 950 0000

Alicia Keys
Pianist and vocalist Keys is a well respected artist in soul/jazz circles. She has even been hailed in some quarters as the new Aretha Franklin, though that maybe stretching things a bit. She’s off on this big venue tour having just completed and released her third studio album As I Am. Beginning with 2001’s Songs in A Minor With and up to this latest release, the New Yorker clocks up the achievement of being first female R&B artist to have three consecutive number one debuts in the album charts. Can’t be bad. And if that’s your bag, go see.
Manchester Arena (Victoria Station, City, M3. 0844 847 8000
Tue 26 Feb)

The Crucible
Apart from Romeo and Juliet, Arthur Miller’s the Crucible has to be the play most performed by A level drama students. But professionalism is guaranteed at the heart of this production by Activ 8, The Octagon’s ‘drama club,’ which is open to all ages and background. Based around the stories of the witch trials of 1662 in Salem, Massachusetts, the play draws clear comparisons with Senator McCarthy’s anti-Communist ‘witch-hunts’ of the 1950s, during which time Miller faced prison for not denouncing his friends. The play is an obvious favourite today for its timeless assertion that tyranny can manifest itself in many forms.
Bolton Octagon (Howell Croft South, Bolton, BL1 01204 529407
until Sat 1 March)

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