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The Confidential Choice

Trudie Robinson’s seven day guide: A week of film, Sleeping Beauty and Afflecks chat

Published on January 24th 2008.

The Confidential Choice

Arthur Wesker’s Roots
The big production for the New Year in the round is Arnold Wesker’s 1959 play Roots. The narrative tells of Beatie Bryant who is attempting to cast off her Norfolk background having spent time in London where she met and fell in love with Ronnie, a man she perceives as her intellectual superior. Returning to her family home for a visit, Ronnie is to join her later so she spends the time preparing – cleaning the house and priming her mother in ‘high culture.’ The middle section of a trilogy of plays, Roots is a voyage of self-discovery and explores the importance of finding your own voice.
Royal Exchange Theatre, St Ann’s Square, City, M2. 0161 833 9833
Wed 30 Jan – 1 March.

Sleeping Beauty
Within the space of a week you get not just one, but two major ballet productions at the Opera House. But more of The Nutcracker next time, up first is Ellen Kent’s 120 strong troupe with their version of the Russian ballet Sleeping Beauty. Starring Kristina Terentieva, Grand Prix winner of the International Dance Competition in Vienna 2007, and principle stars of the company, the performance employs Marius Petipa’s original choreography and, of course, Tchaikovsky’s music woven into Perrault’s fairy tale narrative all aided in being brought to life by a live orchestra.
Manchester Opera House Quay Street, City. 0870 163 3402
Mon 28 – Wed 30 Jan.

Jewish Film Festival
The UK Jewish Film Festival heads off on its travels once more, returning to the city and this time adding another venue to its longstanding residency at Cornerhouse with some screenings at the Odeon Trafford Centre. The festival, whose aims include inviting a dialogue for worldwide Jewish issues and building bridges with other communities, showcases the best ten films from the London event. Cherry picked from the London leg, films include Joseph Cedar’s Beaufort a war film, which was the first Israeli picture to receive the Silver Bear Award at the Berlin Film Festival, and Sweet Mud, which tells a young boy’s story of life on a kibbutz.
Cornerhouse Oxford St, City, M1. 0161 200 1500
www.cornerhouse.org and Odeon Trafford, The Dome, The Trafford Centre, Barton Dock Road, Trafford Park, M17. 08712 244007 www.odeon.co.uk
Sat 26 Jan – Tue 12 Feb

Hobson’s Choice
Ah, how we’ve missed John Savident’s bellowing voice ricocheting across the Corrie cobbles as butcher Fred Elliot. Many a comedian was deprived of a lucrative impression when he left the soapy series, though many carry on as if he’d never left. Well console yourself, he’s back albeit for a short time at the Exchange as the eponymous Henry Hobson in Harold Brighouse’s Salford set play Hobson’s Choice. Though a versatile actor (he was in A Clockwork Orange you know) he’ll probably have opportunity to bellow as the obstinate Hobson who likes nothing more than the Moonraker Inn and verbally whipping his daughters into line. On banning them from marriage, his eldest Maggie, rebels setting her sights on her father’s master boot maker.
The Lowry Pier 8, Salford Quays, M5. 08707 875780

No Country For Old Men
The Coen Brothers’ latest film is a faithful adaptation of the Cormac McCarthy novel of the same name. More in the line of Blood Simple and Miller’s Crossing than The Big Lebowski, the result is a beautifully sparse, unrelentingly violent picture set in the dustbowls of Texas that unfurls with barely any sound track rendering the characters movements ponderous and the moments of violence explosive. Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) runs into to big time trouble when he stumbles across a botched drug deal, bags the lucre and finds himself followed by a deadly hitman by the name of Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem). Meanwhile an old school sheriff on the verge of retirement (Tommy Lee Jones) is in pursuit whilst trying to make sense of it all.
On general release.

Jason Byrne
Once again the Lowry has a fine line up of big name comedians on their respective tours. First up this week is Jason Byrne, the once Perrier nominated Irish comedian who fills out the theatres every year in August at the Edinburgh Fringe. Last year’s Shy Pigs With Wigs Hidden in Twigs was no exception and this date sees him on tour with the show. Though there are no pigs, there is plenty of observational humour but before you sigh, thinking you’ve heard it all before, Byrne injects a chaotic energy to proceedings plus there’s a surreal edge to his rants. He’s also fond of a little audience interaction from which madness reliably ensues.
The Lowry Pier 8, Salford Quays, M5. 08707 875780
Fri 25 Jan.

Rhod Gilbert
The second comic at the Lowry this weekend is also a Perrier nominee, Gilbert was nominated for his debut Rhod Gilbert’s 1984 in 2005. Though often referred to as having a doom and gloom stage presence as his early appearances were delivered deadpan, his latest show is more playful. The early stories he would tell were surreal narratives taking many turns for the unexpected. The latest show claims to tell the story of how he met his girlfriend framed against the Johnny Depp film What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? Though he claims the tale as truth this time – what is truth and what is a fiction is anybody’s guess.
The Lowry Pier 8, Salford Quays, M5. 08707 875780
Sat 26 Jan.

Orchestre de la Suisse Romande
The orchestra originate from the French-speaking region of Switzerland and were founded by Ernest Ansermet in 1918. But the company have found themselves with a different influence since the Polish born and German schooled Marek Janowski took over as artistic director in 2005. Janowski’s liking is for the great German orchestral tradition which he will interpret here in the 112 strong orchestra’s rendition of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.21 in C, K467 and Bruckner’s Symphony No.5. Janowski conducts proceedings whilst Nikolai Lugansky takes the piano.
Bridgewater Hall Lower Mosley Street, City, M2. 0161 950 0000
Fri 25 Jan.

Sweeney Todd
With the Coen Brothers’ latest pic out last week and this week Tim Burton’s, it’s a big old month for cinema-philes. Burton’s latest is a film interpretation of the 19th century urban legend based on the Stephen Sondheim Broadway musical version of the tale and featuring regular Burton collaborator Johnny Depp and the missus aka Helena Bonham Carter. Depp takes the lead as the demon barber of Fleet Street who’s out for revenge at being sent to Australia (who wouldn’t be) on a trumped up charge and returns to slash his victim’s throats. Kindly neighbour Mrs Lovett (Bonham Carter) just so happens to be handy with the pastry so happily pops the remains into pies for him. Burton’s Todd fully occupies his signature Gothic horror, this time realised in gloriously muted tones and what with all the singing too it’s set to be quite a spectacle.
On general release from Friday.

The Circle Club
Should we save Afflecks?
A look at the fate of independent retailers. After the closure of the Corn Exchange and the Coliseum a few years ago now Affleck’s is facing another closure threat, will it be the end this time? The Debate: What are the major problems facing independent shops and brands and are they ever commercially viable? Are small businesses good for the community and retail environment? Does the council value and support small businesses? Do the general public prefer independent traders? Guest speakers on the night will be David Mallon the owner of Independent fashion brand Ringspun, Gordon Reid the Head of City Co and John Robb the writer and broadcaster. Jonathan Schofield Editor of Manchester Confidential will be chairing the debate.
The Circle Club (Barton Arcade) Tues 29 Jan, 6.30pm, £5 on the door - To reserve your place or book a table

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