Cultural What’s On May 2014

What’s on in Manchester – theatre, music, cinema and arts


Lorna McBride


Stepping swiftly into May, we’ve got some top cultural tit-bits for you to enjoy in Manchester this month.

Regular guest blogger Lorna is back on the blog today with her monthly look ahead at what’s coming up at the theatre and cinema, and the music and arts we’ve got to look forward to.





Jimmy Carr, The Lowry

Acid tongued comedian and 8 out of 10 Cats presenter Jimmy Carr comes to The Lowry on Saturday 24th May.

Carr pulls no punches in his stand up and you’re bound to wince as many times as you spit your drink out laughing. A must see on the comedy front, just make sure you don’t sit ANYWHERE near the front or do so at your own risk of becoming part of the show.

For more information visit


Britannia Waves The Rules, Royal Exchange Theatre

The World Premiere of a Bruntwood Prize winning play, Britannia Waves The Rules, comes to the Royal Exchange Theatre between 27th May and 7th June.

Carl doesn’t fit in at home. He doesn’t fit in anywhere. When he signs up for the army, he sees it as a chance to escape the grim reality of life in his hometown. But the army takes him to Afghanistan. And when he comes home, it’s not as a war hero but as a changed man.

For more information visit


Britannia Royal Exchange


Cirque Du Soleil: Dralion, Phones4U Arena

One to book ahead for, I feel like everyone should get to see at least one show by Cirque Du Soleil in their lifetime. Dralion comes to Manchester between 11th and 15th June in a spectacular of acrobatics and costumes that could be high definition if they were on tv.

Dralion draws it’s inspiration from Eastern philosophy and it’s never ending quest for harmony between humans and nature, in it’s first ever UK arena tour.

For more information visit





Tracks, now showing cinema wide

The unbelievable and actually true story of Aussie woman Robyn Davidson (Mia Wasikowska) who abandoned civilisation to embark on a impossible 2000 mile trek across the deserts of Australia in 1977.

Robyn travels alone accompanied only by a few camels and a dog for company, aside from the occasional visit by a National Geographic photographer called Rick (played by Adam Driver, of Girls fame).




Transcendence, now showing cinema wide

As if a film starring Johnny Depp is not reason enough to go and see it, Transcendence is a mind bending sci fi thriller about a scientist whose consciousness is uploaded – in a world where technology is fast replacing natural evolution.

The directorial debut of ‘Inception’ director Christopher Nolan’s regular cinematographer Wally Pfister, also starring an excellent supporting cast including Cillian Murphy and Morgan Freeman.




X-Men: Days of Future Past, in cinemas 22nd May

Original X-Men director Bryan Singer returns to the helm for this mind-bending, time-hopping adventure, seeing the ultimate X-Men cast (including Michael Fassbender, Ian McKellan, Patrick Stewart, Jennifer Lawrence and more) unite to fight a spectacular war for survival across two time periods.

It is 2023 and mutants are on the verge of extinction, hunted by giant robotic sentinels. Magneto (Ian McKellen) and Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) hatch a last desperate plan. They send Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) back to 1973 on a make-or-break mission.






Echo and the Bunnymen, The Ritz

Echo and the Bunnymen bring their dark, swirling fusion of gloomy post-punk and Doors inspired psychdelia to Manchester on Wednesday 14th May ahead of the release of their new album Meteroites.

The band hail from Liverpool and had hits in the 80s and 90s with Killing Moon and Nothing Lasts Forever.

For more information visit


Echo & the Bunnymen


Katy Perry, Phones4U Arena

Pop starlet extraordinaire Katy Perry will be kicking off the first leg of her Prismatic world tour in the UK and will be bringing it to Manchester on Tuesday 20th and Friday 24th May, to showcase her latest number one album Prism.

Expect spectacular costumes and staging, with Perry herself describing the show as “a feast for your eyes”. 

For more information visit


Kings Of Leon, Phones4U Arena

Heads up to grab tickets before they go…American rockers Kings of Leon ride into Manchester on Wednesday 18th June on the back of their sixth studio album, Mechanical Bull.

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past decade or so you’ll be thrilled to hear back catalogue classics Molly’s Chambers and Sex On Fire performed alongside recent hits Supersoaker and Temple.

For more information visit



Art and Exhibitions


From the War of Nature, Manchester Museum

Boxing hares, burrowing parasites, baby birds and prowling wolves are just some of the characters appearing in this story of predation, competition, co-operation and collaboration in Manchester Museum’s current exhibition.

The exhibition reveals that living things resolve conflict in many, often unexpected, ways and aims to challenge the perception that war is an inevitable outcome of conflict. From the War of Nature coincides with the nationwide commemoration of the start of World War I.

For more information visit


Reactions14: Second Breath with English National Ballet, IWM North

For one night only on Saturday 17th May the English National Ballet perform Second Breath, choreographed by internationally acclaimed British choreographer Russell Maliphant,within IWM North’s cavernous Main Exhibition Space.

Part of Museums at Night, the evening will also include music by Manchester’s own Vintage 78DJs and more.

For more information visit


Collider, MOSI

A look into the world’s greatest science experiment opens at MOSI on the 23rd May. Buried deep under the border between Switzerland and France is CERN’s Large Hadron Collider.  This immersive exhibition blends theatre, video and sound art with real artefacts from CERN, recreating a visit to the famous particle physics laboratory.

Discover how studying the subatomic world can point the way to a fuller understanding of our universe.

For more information visit




Have fun exploring our city of culture this month. If there is anything that you think should be added please leave a comment in the box below.


Lorna x


Photographs: The Royal Exchange Theatre, The Ritz, MOSI


Other articles by Lorna

Cultural preview – March 2014

Cultural preview – February 2014

Cultural preview – December 2013

Review of War Horse at The Lowry

Pantomimes and children’s shows this Christmas

Cultural preview – November 2013

Cultural preview – October 2013

Review of Glamorous Amorous – The Ladyboys of Bangkok






Review of Yves Saint Laurent

A sumptuous biopic about the French designer


Four starsWhen we were invited to a preview of the new French language film about the life of Yves Saint Laurant at The Odeon Printworks, who better to check it out for us than personal stylist Susan Baxter (Susan Styles You).


Over to you Susan ……

Yves Saint Laurent film


When I was asked to review the new Yves Saint Laurent biopic by 4Manchester Women I obviously jumped at the chance!

A much anticipated film which as an avid fashionista was right up my street.

I must start by saying that Pierre Niney was spookily like Yves Saint Laurent in every way and managed to capture his gestures, mannerisms etc. to a fine art.

The film spans two decades, beginning in 1958. I was totally in awe of the way his character aged throughout the film – it was like magic.


Passionate, sumptuous and volatile


So, of course this film was about fashion, but it is more a portrayal of both the tender and passionate and volatile relationship between Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Berge.

This film is decadent, captivating, sumptuous, hedonistic, colourful, seedy, touching, heartbreakingly sad, indulgent and much, much more.


YSL film


Filmed in Paris and Marrakesh, the cinematography is visually breathtaking. From the elegant interiors of Yves and Pierre’s Parisian apartments, to the bohemian Moroccan lifestyle they enjoyed with the likes of Loulou de la Falaise and Karl Lagerfeld.

It was an absolute joy to take in the scenery, the colours, the culture. One minute on a flower filled balcony overlooking Notre Dame, next in the cacophony of pink bougainvillea, water lilies and cacti, and the bright cobalt blue walls of his Moroccan villa, you could almost touch it. Yves Saint Laurent was inspired by the vibrancy, sophistication and the sensuality of Morocco at the time.


Successes and struggles


In the early years, we see Yves Saint Laurent as vulnerable, shy and inexperienced. We journey through his life as he develops and blossoms in his career, and through his battles with alcohol, drugs and infidelity.

It becomes really dark as he struggles with depression and the pressure to develop two collections a year. Be warned! This is definitely not a film for the faint hearted as this contains full on raw sex scenes! Then as he ages, we observe his health declining as he becomes frail and weak.


Favourite scenes


There are too many to mention, but the iconic pop art inspired Mondrian dress is awesome with eye poppingly bright colours.

Then, the one that left me a gibbering wreck was his last catwalk, the Russian ballet collection in 1976 was truly stunning!

I just swooned at every outfit that appeared. It was an amazing collection.


YSL Film


It was more like theatre than a catwalk and the music by Ibrahim Maaloouf gave a very strong impression. The model they used for the wedding dress was so beautiful and it was indeed a very emotional moment for me.


Creating iconic fashion through the decades


I loved the way the film seamlessly (see what I did there) flows from 1950s ladylike fashion, through 1960s revolutionary mini skirts, then the opulence of 1970s fashion and, of course, the legendary ‘Le Smoking’ of which Yves Saint Laurent was quoted as saying “A woman in a pant suit is not masculine at all … a severe and implacable cut only emphasises her femininity, her seductiveness all the more.”

Director, Jalil Lespert’s admiration for Saint Laurent’s art is tangible: “I am very touched by his vision; the very modern vision he had of women, of a free woman, while being aware and understanding her femininity and her power of seduction.”

Actor Guillaume Gallienne who played his business partner and lover, Pierre Berget said:

“It’s the first time in my life I have been moved by a dress, you come out of the film realising that art is not only in museums; that is what Yves would be happiest with if he was able to see this. He brought art to the streets because he decided that women should be masterpieces; they could be a Mondrian, they could be Picassos, they could be avant-garde Ballets Russes beauties. That’s his gift.”


YSL Film


In summary, this film is excellent – a must see film for all Yves Saint Laurent fans, fashionistas and culture vultures alike. Just remember your tissues.




Yves Saint Laurent is now on general release. For more information and to book tickets click here.


Susan x


You can find Susan at

Photographs: Wikipedia







Cultural What’s On March 2014

What’s on – theatre, music, cinema and arts


Lorna McBride


Is it March already? I must have blinked – or nodded off!

So what does this month have in store for us Mancunians – culturally speaking?

We’ve got Lorna back on the blog today with her monthly look ahead at what’s coming up at the theatre and cinema, and the music and arts we’ve got to look forward to.





Much Ado About Nothing, Royal Exchange

One of Shakespeare’s greatest comedies, Much Ado About Nothing comes to the Royal Exchange Theatre between the 27th March and 3rd May. The play chronicles the parallel tales of two pairs of lovers: the wise and witty Benedick and Beatrice, who think love has passed them by and hopeless romantics, Claudio and Hero.

For more information visit


Much Ado About Nothing



Last Days of Troy, Royal Exchange Theatre

A heads up for the just announced world premiere of The Last Days of Troy at the Royal Exchange from 8th May until 7th June. This new play by nationally acclaimed poet and author Simon Armitage will star Lily Cole as Helen of Troy, and will surely be a sell out.

For more information visit


Wicked, The Lowry

Another (long) look ahead to get tickets ASAP is Wicked, the magical musical which is coming to The Lowry between 3rd June and 25th July 2015. In the days before Hogwarts was every witch’s school of choice, Wicked tells the story of the unlikely friendship between two sorcery students who will ultimately fulfil their destinies as Glinda The Good and the Wicked Witch of the West, in ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’.

For more information visit





The Grand Budapest Hotel, Cornerhouse

I cannot contain my excitement for director Wes Anderson’s newest film The Grand Budapest Hotel, coming to Cornerhouse on the 7th March. Ralph Fiennes leads as the charismatic Gustave H, concierge at the prestigious Grand Budapest Hotel. When Gustave H takes Junior Lobby Boy Zero Moustafa under his wing as a protégé, the madcap adventure begins. Also starring some of Anderson’s favourite collaborators Jason Schwartzman, Owen Wilson and Bill Murray.

For more information visit






Her, cinema wide  

In an age of constant updates and more social interactions taking place through devices and technology than actual human encounters, ‘Her’ tells the story of a modern day romance. A lonely man (Joaquin Phoenix) falls in love with his computer operating system (voiced by Scarlett Johansson) and retreats from the real world, in a witty and moving look at the complexities – and simplicities of relationships. In cinemas now.

For more information visit






The Book Thief, cinema wide

Adapted from the international bestseller by Markus Zusak, The Book Thief tells the moving story of a book-loving girl who bonds with a Jewish refugee in Nazi Germany during the late 1930’s. Directed by Brian Percival, best know for his directing of several episodes of Downton Abbey, the film gives a child’s eye view of the horrors of the Holocaust. In cinemas now.

For more information visit







Rebecca Fergusson


Rebecca Ferguson, Bridgewater Hall

One of the classier ladies to emerge from the ashes of X-Factor series past is Liverpool born singer-songwriter Rebecca Ferguson.

She’ll be bringing a dose of glamour, pop and soul to the Bridgewater Hall on 24th March, following the release of her most recent single All That I’ve Got from her Freedom album.


For more information visit


We Are Scientists, The Ritz

American indie rockers ‘We Are Scientists’ are back with full force timed to coincide with the release of their fourth album TV En Français. They will be playing at Manchester’s bounciest floored venue, The Ritz on the 9th March where you’ll be the first to hear their newest tunes.

For more information visit

gary barlow


Gary Barlow, Phones 4 U arena

A look-ahead-and-get-in-there-fast alert to bag tickets for the first solo tour of all around national treasure Gary Barlow.

Having stolen many a heart and cemented his status as a song writer, Gary Barlow will be coming to/most likely selling out the Phones 4 U arena on the 14th April.

For more information visit



Art & Exhibitions


Vanishing for the Vote, People’s History Museum

The 8th March brings us International Women’s Day and the Manchester born Pankhurst family are some of the most celebrated suffragettes in history for their efforts to gain votes for women. Vanishing for the Vote, at the People’s History Museum until April 2014 explores how women boycotted the 1911 government census in protest at being denied the vote.

*Please note the exhibition will be closed on Wednesday 5th March.

For more information visit


Joana Vasconcelos: Time Machine, Manchester Art Gallery

Manchester Art Gallery has gone all out with a major new exhibition by Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos. Super sized, site-specific installations invade the gallery, including some of the artists larger scale works like War Games 2011, a black Morris Oxford car covered in toy rifles and LEDs, filled with brightly coloured soft and plastic toys – in addition to many never before seen pieces.

For more information visit



Joana Vasconcelos



Sanctuary from the Trenches, Dunham Massey

This month local National Trust gem Dunham Massey, in Altrincham, reopens its splendid house again for the season, with a huge difference. Parts of the house have been turned back in time to when it was a military hospital providing Sanctuary from the Trenches for over 300 soldiers during the First World War.

For more information visit


Have fun exploring our city of culture this month.


Lorna x


Photographs: The Royal Exchange Theatre, Phones4U Arena, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester Art Gallery


Lorna x


Photographs: Royal Exchange, Manchester Gallery of Costume


Other articles by Lorna

Cultural preview – February 2014

Cultural preview – December 2013

Review of War Horse at The Lowry

Pantomimes and children’s shows this Christmas

Cultural preview – November 2013

Cultural preview – October 2013

Review of Glamorous Amorous – The Ladyboys of Bangkok





February’s Cultural Preview

What’s on – theatre, music, cinema and arts


Lorna McBride


So what does February have in store for us Mancunians?

We’ve got Lorna back on the blog today with her monthly look ahead at what’s coming up at the theatre and cinema, and the music and arts we’ve got to look forward to.





Let It Be, Palace Theatre

Help! Dig out your moptop and get caught up in Beatlemania with Let It Be, a swinging show of over 40 rock n roll hits celebrating the rise and rise of the fab foursome.

Direct from the West End the show runs from the 28th February until the 8th March 2014 at the Palace Theatre…What’s that, you’ve already gone to dust off your vinyl?

For more information visit letitbe/palacetheatremanchester


Orlando, Royal Exchange Theatre

Manchester born actress Suranne Jones (Corrie, Scott & Bailey) brings to life this adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s novel Orlando.  Described as ‘a magical comedy of time travel and gender swapping’, Orlando is a young man about town, or should that be about court, during the reign of Elizabeth I.

He wakes up one day to find himself with the body of a woman, and as time spins forward through the centuries we glimpse what being a woman and a human being can actually mean.  Showing at the Royal Exchange Theatre between 20th February – 22nd March 2014.

For more information visit


Suranne Jones as Orlando





Inside Llewyn Davis

Super directing duo the Coen Brothers are at it again, this time with comedy / drama Inside Lleywn Davis. Set in uber cool 1960’s New York the film tells the tale of struggling folk singer Llewyn Davis – who is juggling a music career with cat sitting duties, helped along by his friends Jim (Justin Timberlake) and Jean (Carey Mulligan).




The Butler

Based on a true story, The Butler has an all star cast including Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, Jane Fonda and Alan Rickman to mention a few.  Starting an incredible 34 year career as a butler in the White House in 1957, Cecil Westfall serves eight presidents and is afforded a unique President’s eye view of some of the most notable historic moments in American history from the Civil Rights Movement to the Vietnam war.




The Railway Man

A sure fire tear jerker starring Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman, based on the incredible memoir of Eric Lomax, a British Army officer who is tormented as a prisoner of war at a Japanese labour camp during the Second World War. Having suffered silently for decades with the post traumatic stress of his captivity, Lomax discovers his torturer is still alive decades later and goes in search of revenge, to an emotive and surprising end.






Tom Odell, O2 Apollo Manchester

Young singer songwriter Tom Odell will certainly be one to watch this year, fresh off the back of his 2013 Critics Choice BRIT award. Best known songs from his acclaimed album Long Way Down are likely to be ‘Another Love’ and ‘I Know’ – well worth a ticket to his gig at the Apollo on Tuesday 11th February 2014.

For more information visit tomodelltickets





Bastille, O2 Apollo Manchester

If you listened to the radio at all last year you’ll know Bastille’s ‘Pompeii’ became an anthem of 2013. Nominated for 4 BRIT Awards this February, including Best Breakthrough Act and Best Album, this London four piece are coming to the O2 Apollo on Friday 28th February 2014.

For more information visit Bastilletickets





Elbow, Phones 4U Arena

Looking into the not too distant future and still with time to grab tickets, alt rockers Elbow are back on home turf and sure to fill the Phones 4U Arena to the brim on Wednesday 9th April with a storming set.  Throw those curtains wide and get your hands on tickets before they go.

 For more information visit




Art / Culture


Syria: Humanity in Conflict, IWM North

A concise but powerful exhibition of photographs taken by award winning Italian-Syrian photographer, Ibrahim Malla.  The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) have been at the front line of the humanitarian response in Syria since fighting erupted in March 2011.

This display of powerful images, accompanied by extracts of volunteer’s personal accounts, depicts the work of SARC volunteers who are putting their lives on the line in the current conflict and humanitarian crisis. Opens Saturday 8th February 2014.

For more information visit


Ossie Clark, Gallery of Costume

The small but perfectly formed Gallery of Costume takes a retrospective look at iconic British designer Ossie Clark.

Originally born in Cheshire and starting out his studies at the former Manchester College of Art (now Man Met uni), Clark went on to become one of the most influential designers of the 1960s and 70’s.  He is also known for collaborating and marrying textile designer Celia Birtwell, whose fashion forward prints feature in many of his creations.

The exhibition showcases 25 outfits from the Gallery’s collections, many on display for the first time in Manchester.  Runs until June 2014.

 For more information visit


 Ossie Clarke 1968


Gone Fishing, Gallery Oldham

Oldham was the birthplace of fish and chips and now you can appreciate this British classic without breaking your new year diet.  Gallery Olham’s Gone Fishing exhibition pays homage to all things fishy in an eclectic exhibition featuring paintings, fossils and models – many on display for the first time!

For more information visit


So you see – February isn’t just about Valentine’s Day! I hope this gives you some ideas for things to do this month.


Lorna x


Photographs: Royal Exchange, Manchester Gallery of Costume


Other articles by Lorna

Cultural preview – December 2013

Review of War Horse at The Lowry

Pantomimes and children’s shows this Christmas

Cultural preview – November 2013

Cultural preview – October 2013

Review of Glamorous Amorous – The Ladyboys of Bangkok






Cultural preview – December

Theatre, music, cinema and arts – what’s on


Lorna McBride


We’ve got Lorna back on the blog today with her monthly look ahead at what’s coming up at the theatre and cinema, and the music and arts we’ve got to look forward to.

This month we’re definitely in the Christmas groove, with some great shows and heads up where the tickets are expected to sell out quickly!


Over to you Lorna ……




1. War Horse at The Lowry Based on Michael Morpungo’s 1982 novel, the critically acclaimed stage adaptation of War Horse comes to The Lowry.

The moving and harrowing experiences of the First World War are told through the eyes of Joey the horse, a spectacular life sized puppet, as his young owner Albert searches for him through the turmoil of the battlefileds. On until the 18 January 2014 – tickets are going fast or you can book now for next summer if you miss it this time around.

For more information visit


Theatre in Manchester


2. That Day We Sang – Royal Exchange  Victoria Wood’s That Day We Sang is billed as ‘a big-hearted and nostalgic Manchester love story for all the family’. 

First commissioned for the Manchester International Festival in 2011 the uplifting play tells the story of Tubby and Enid in 1969, looking back 40 years to when they sang at the Free Trade Hall as school children. Showing at the Royal Exchange throughout December, until 18th January 2014.

For more information visit


3. Shrek The Musical – Palace Theatre Here’s an advance notice for next year! Everyone’s favourite grumpy ogre rocks up at The Palace Theatre between 2nd December 2014 to Sunday 11th January 2015, following its West End run.

Accompanied by his trusty steed Donkey, follow Shrek’s adventures to rescue princess Fiona from a fire-breathing dragon and defeat the dastardly Lord Farquaad.

For more information visit





1. Saving Mr Banks Saving Mr Banks is the true but little know story behind the making of Disney’s Mary Poppins. Featuring Tom Hanks as Walt Disney, as he tries to persuade English author P.L Travers (Emma Thompson) to let her character Mary Poppins have the Disney treatment – much to her distain. In cinemas now.

Cinema December


2. Frozen Disney’s new film Frozen, from the creators of Tangled and Wreck it Ralph, comes to cinemas on the 6th December.

A reinterpretation of the fairytale The Ice Queen, Frozen follows the adventures of young Anna and her quest to save the kingdom from the freezing wrath of her sister, with a little help from Sven the reindeer and a talking snowman.


3. The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug A small book turned into a huge film trilogy, this is the second big screen instalment of J.R.R Tolkein’s classic fantasy adventure, The Hobbit.

This time around Bilbo, Gandalf and the thirteen dwarves are on a journey to reclaim the lost dwarf kingdom from the terrifying dragon Smaug.  Released in cinemas on Friday 13th December.





1. Primal Scream at Manchester Academy Following a storming set at this years Glastonbury festival, alt-rockers Primal Scream, whose hits include ‘Country Girl’ and ‘Rocks’ are headed to Manchester Academy on Sunday 15th December.

For more information visit Primal-Scream-tickets


Music Montage


2. Boyzone at Phones 4U Arena Boyzone are back! The Irish pop crooners come to the Manchester Phones 4U Arena on 22nd December for one night only, and it’s guaranteed you’ll be able to sing along to every word.

For more information visit


3. Maroon 5 at Phones 4U Arena Looking ahead to bag tickets for January, super cool American quintet Maroon 5 head over to our side of the pond for a gig on Monday 13th January.  Also Robin Thicke, of recent Blurred Lines/ Miley Cyrus fame is supporting – but don’t let this put you off the headliner.

For more information visit



Art/ Culture


1. She Choir and Sunday Shopping at Manchester Craft and Design Centre A chance to listen to one of Manchester’s top singing collectives, She choir will be performing at the Manchester Craft and Design Centre as part of the Christmas All Wrapped Up events programme. What better way to shop for beautiful, independently made gifts while being serenaded as you shop, on Sunday 15th December.

For more information visit


Arts Manchester


2. Something Rich and Strange at Manchester Museum Something Rich and Strange comes to Manchester Museum, and that something is one of the ocean’s most precious and incredible treasures, Coral.

The exhibition, on until 16th March 2014, places decorative artefacts and artists’ works alongside the museum’s collection of natural specimens – and explores how coral, once an object of curiosity to be plucked from the ocean must be conserved more responsibly.

For more information visit


3. Everyday Relics at MOSI Become a curator and see everyday objects from MOSI’s collections come to life to tell a story about Manchester’s role in the Industrial Revolution, as a modern city and about the lives of its people.

Animations, photographs and oral histories reveal the fascinating stories behind objects as diverse as a Boddington’s beer pump handle to a 1930’s mantle clock.  On until 29th Jun 2014.

For more information visit


I hope this whets your appetite for some of the fabulous cultural events taking place in Manchester this month. Enjoy!


Lorna x


Photographs: Frozen, Saving Mr Banks, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug on Wikipedia


Other articles by Lorna

Review of War Horse at The Lowry

Pantomimes and children’s shows this Christmas

Cultural preview – November 2013

Cultural preview – October 2013

Review of Glamorous Amorous – The Ladyboys of Bangkok












Review of Frozen 3D

Preview screening of Disney’s new Christmas film




We sent regular guest blogger Victoria off to the cinema for a preview screening of Disney’s new Christmas film.

She didn’t need much persuading!

To say that she loved it is an understatement!

The makers of cinematic hits Wreck it Ralph and Tangled bring us yet another blockbuster in the form of the latest Disney family film presented in exquisite 3-D.


Over to you Victoria ……

5 stars


Frozen tells a tale of a two Royal sisters – Princess Anna and Princess Elsa.


They were once close, but later forced to separate when a curse, which the older sibling was born with, spirals out of control and must be kept isolated to avoid further damage.

It is a power so great that it needs to remain concealed to protect the Royal family of Arendelle and save them from humiliation. It’s only a matter of time before the gates to the castle are finally opened to the public.

Frozen poster


But what happens when the inevitable happens and Princess Elsa’s powers are exposed for all to see and the town gets frozen into an eternal winter wonderland?

Something needs to be done to save the kingdom from the magical yet dangerous spell that has been cast upon it.

It is a mystifying story of love and true dedication which will evoke every emotion, with heartache and upset as you see the lengths the characters go to in order to save their loved ones.

Along with the impact of the bad guys who will do anything to cheat their way to the throne.


But there is also laughter brought to you by the fantastic personalities of Olaf – the talking snowman who ironically dreams of summer, the mystical trolls who just so happen to be experts in love, and Sven, the loyal Reindeer with a hearty addiction to carrots.

Disney have done it again and created a brilliant captivating film that children and equally the bigger kids amongst us, will simply adore.

The musical-esque nature of this film and the 3-D animations within it make the characters explode into life and contribute hugely to the execution of this Christmassy themed spectacular, which is definitely a must-see over the festive period. Five stars from me!




Frozen hits cinemas across the UK on December 6th 2013. Thank you to The Printworks Odeon IMAX cinema for inviting us to the official screening. To look up viewing times in Manchester city centre, visit

Run time: 1h 48 min

Rated: PG


Victoria x


Photographs: Wikipedia


Other articles by Victoria:

National Days December

National Days November

National Days October

National Days September

Mumpreneur of the Year

Places to see Santa in Manchester

Vintage Manchester Awards Best of 2013

A-Z of Vogue’s Fashions Night Out

Top 10 places to go and see animals

Top 10 family adventure days out

Top 10 picnic spots











Cultural preview – November

Theatre, music, cinema and arts – What’s On


Lorna McBride


We’ve got Lorna back on the blog today with her monthly look ahead at what’s coming up at the theatre and cinema, and the music and arts we’ve got to look forward to.

As usual she’s picked three things for each category with a mix of what’s happening this month, and announcements, where the tickets are expected to sell out quickly!


Over to you Lorna ……




1. Wanted! Robin Hood at The Lowry If, like me, you’re eagerly awaiting the next series of Game of Thrones (sad, yes I know) then get your men-in-tights fix with the Library Theatre’s upcoming production of Wanted! Robin Hood, on at The Lowry.

Written by award winning playwright Charles Way, this new adaptation of a classic is described as a ‘magical adventure’ perfect for families to go and see together. Preview showings are from 29th November.


November's theatre


2. Sweeney Todd at The Royal Exchange Shaving cream at the ready as Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street comes to the Royal Exchange for a month long run throughout November.

The grisly musical is put bought to us in collaboration with West Yorkshire Playhouse and is sure to be a sell out, even if it is minus Johnny Depp.


3. The Northern Ballet Theatre presents A Christmas Carol at The Palace Theatre, combining traditional ballet with captivating theatre to transport you back to the Victorian era of mean old Ebenezer Scrooge and plucky little Tiny Tim.  Performances are between 19th and 23rd November.





1. Captain Phillips Tom Hanks once again stars in a drama on the high seas, although this time there’s no Wilson to keep him company.

Captain Phillips is based on the true events of 2009, which saw a U.S container ship hijacked by pirates off the coast of Somalia. Adapted from Captain Phillips own book of his terrifying ordeal, there’s no doubt Hanks will do the brave Captain’s story justice on the big screen.


November's Cinema


2. Thor The Dark World at Route 66,  is a date night choice to keep you both happy. Your other half will be satisfied with the comic book inspired action side of things, while you can appreciate the brilliant acting (read hunkiness) of Chris Hemsworth.

See it at Route 66, Salford– Europe’s first drive in cinema experience between 1st and 7th November for an extra special night at the movies.


3. National Theatre Live’s Frankenstein at The Odeon Printworks Catch a National Theatre Live Encore Screening of Frankenstein, directed by Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire) and starring Jonny Lee Miller.

This dramatic tale of a grotesque creature, cast out cruelly into the world by his creator, only to be met with horror, is showing at Odeon Printworks on Monday 18th November.





1. Stereophonics If the husky voice of Kelly Jones does it for you then Christmas just might have come early this year. Welsh rockers Stereophonics will be performing at the Phones 4 U Arena on Thursday 14 November. Grab tickets while you can.


November's music


2. The Magic Numbers, best known for their melodic tunes like Love Is A Game play at the RNCM on Thursday 28th November - an additional date added to their first ever acoustic tour. Ahead of their yet–to-be titled album release early next year, this is a really special chance to see an intimate gig.


3. Albert Hammond Jr Looking ahead to tickets just released, Albert Hammond Jr, one fifth of The Strokes, plays solo at Night and Day Café in the Northern Quarter on Sunday 8th December.

Another chance to catch a brilliant gig in an intimate setting, where you can actually see the stage without standing on your tiptoes / having to watch it via a big screen a million rows back.


Art / Culture


1. Christian Dior Exhibition If you’re already planning your Christmas party wardrobe then look no further than the Gallery of Costume’s stunning exhibition Christian Dior: Designer in Focus for your inspiration (until 12th January 2014).

The Grade 2 listed building, located in Platt Field’s park at the bottom end of Rusholme, holds the most significant collection of costumes in Britain – second only to the V&A in London don’t you know.


Exhibitions November


2. All That Is Solid Melts Into Air Head to Manchester Art Gallery in the city centre for a look at the new exhibition All That Is Solid Melts Into Air, curated by installation artist Jeremy Deller (until19th January 2014).

The exhibition looks at the impact the Industrial Revolution had on British Popular Culture – combining contemporary music, film and photography with a range of 19th century images and objects.


3. The People’s Business – 150 Years of The Cooperative exhibition at the People’s History Museum celebrates the history of a business which began in1863 as the Co-operative Wholesale Society in Greater Manchester.

Discover the surprisingly interesting social history and mission behind a business owned not by shareholders but by over 7 millions of it’s consumers.



Enjoy a busy cultural November!


Lorna x



Photographs: Royal Exchange Theatre, Palace Theatre, The Lowry Theatre, Wikipedia: Captain PhillipsThor the Dark World, Kelly Jones, The Magic Numbers, Albert Hammond Jnr, Christian Dior, All that is solid melts into air: Adrian Street and his father, 1973 (photo: Dennis Hutchinson) ©Dennis Hutchinson 2012. The Co-Operative Group


Other articles by Lorna

Cultural preview – October 2013

Review of Glamorous Amorous – The Ladyboys of Bangkok









Cloudy with Chance of Meatballs 2

Film review of this animated sequel – a half term cracker!



4 out of 5 starsI didn’t see the original critically acclaimed 2009 film Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.

Although I did read the Wikipedia entry (here) before I went to view the sequel.

It wasn’t essential though as there’s a mini summary at the start of the film which brings you right up to speed.


Cloudy with a chance of meatballs 2.

For Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 we’re back on the island of Swallow Falls with rookie inventor Flint Lockwood, his monkey Steve and the rest of the gang, in the aftermath of the great tomato and spaghetti storm – created when his masterpiece invention (the FLDSMDFR) went wrong and started creating monster foods from water.

Master inventor and Flint’s hero Chester V and his company LIFE Corp come to clear up the island, relocating it’s inhabitants and whisking Flint off to San Franjose to join the LIFE Corps inventors. It’s Flint’s dream come true.

Needless to say, it’s not all as it’s seems and Chester V’s motives are a lot less than altruistic.

Flint is charged with going back to Swallow Falls to deal with the deadly cheese spiders – giant cheese burger spiders, who have been terrorising the LIFE Corp ‘scientists’ and stringing them up on cheesy webs. It seems that the FLDSMDFR wasn’t destroyed after all and that the cheese spiders are trying to learn how to swim away from the island, which means only one thing – they are trying to take over the world!

He’s not supposed to, but he takes the gang back with him.

What they discover is an island populated by Foodimals – animals made from food. Imagine the scene from Jurassic Park where they first see herds of diplodocus grazing freely amongst a whole prehistoric ecosystem – and the wonder and awe it generated. Here we’ve got Flamangos, Buffaloaves,  Tacodiles, Shrimpanzees,  Hippotatomuses, Peanut Butter & Jellyfish and lot’s more.

It is so imaginative, it’s just gorgeous!

Flint and the gang set off to try and find and destroy the FLDSMDFR and all the mutant foodimals. As you can imagine, Chester V is pulling all the strings, but Flint soon realises the amazing beauty that the FLDSMDFR has created and with the help of a talking strawberry emerges victorious.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 (in 3D) is a really charming film which both adults and children will enjoy – and you’ll certainly come away with some great inspiration for making meal times more interesting.

“What are we having for tea mum?”

“Meatbalruses and Apple-piethons!”



You can keep up with all the latest news on the Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 Facebook page here.

Release date in the UK is 25th October – a big thank you to The Odeon Printworks Manchester for inviting us to the preview. If you want to see the film on the big screen in the city centre visit


Alison x  (your 4Manchester Women Editor)


Photographs:Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs Facebook page

Disclaimer: We were invited to the film preview. We were not asked to write about the film and opinions are our own.









Theatre, music, cinema & arts

October Cultural What’s On


I’ve felt for a long time that we needed to give more blog time to Manchester’s cultural scene. There’s so much going on – but I’m still only stumbling across things once they’ve happened – and then kicking myself for not being more on the ball!

Lorna McBride


To redress this, we’ve got a new guest blogger, Lorna who is going to trawl the what’s on listings and give us her top three picks each month (mainstream and more niche) for theatre, music, cinema and arts.

Lorna works in the arts, so she’s perfectly placed to scout out what’s on!


The plan is for her monthly round up’s to be a mix of what’s happening that month, and announcements, where the tickets are expected to go fast and you’ll need to get a wriggle on if you want to see it!


Over to you Lorna ……






1. Wicked comes to the Palace Theatre for a premiere run of performances in Manchester. The hit musical tells the story of the two witches of Oz, well before Dorothy came onto the scene. On throughout October until 16th November, it’s worth booking early.


2. Get your deerstalker and magnifying glass at the ready for Agatha Christie’s suspense filled whodunit, Go Back for Murder. Showing at the Opera House on Quay Street between 14th – 19th October, with an all star cast of familiar faces from our TV screens.


3. Arthur Miller’s acclaimed play All My Sons comes to the Royal Exchange Theatre until 26 October. Set in 1947 and centred around all-American couple Joe and Kate Keller, the play explores ethics, greed and corruption in this production by the Talawa Theatre Company.





Films October 2013


1. A perfect one for date night, newly released Runner Runner is showing across cinemas, including the AMC throughout October. This fast paced thriller features Gemma Arterton, Justin Timberlake and Ben Affleck and shows you why gambling is always, well, a gamble.


2. Halloween is coming up, but if you’d rather not sit watching a film through your fingers for two hours then what about going to see R.I.P.D? Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges star in this adventure comedy as two undead cops trying to protect the world of the living, showing at the Odeon Printworks throughout October.


3. The cinema isn’t just about seeing films these days, so if you want to make like a culture vulture take a trip to the fabulously restored 1930’s splendour of the Stockport Plaza. A special Bolshoi Ballet Encore Screening of gladiator adventure Spartacus will be showing on Monday 28th October.







1. Billed as ‘the new voice you don’t want to miss’ the up and coming singer songwriter Gabrielle Aplin performs at The Ritz on Thursday 31th October. With her debut album English Rain reaching no. 2 in the UK album chart and her latest single, Panic Cord notching up her third Top 20 catch her at a smaller venue while you can.


2. Tickets are going fast for 90’s chart toppers M People, who will be performing at the Phones 4u Arena as part of their 20th Anniversary Greatest Hits Tour. Catch Heather Small and the gang on the 10thOctober only for what is sure to be a sell out show.


3. Not strictly in October, but worth bagging your tickets early – Scottish stunner K T Tunstall is coming to the Bridge Water Hall on Monday18th November, performing new material from her 2013 album ‘Invisible Empire // Crescent Moon’.



Art & Culture


Arts & culture


1. The Lowry’s hotly anticipated new series of Performer as Curator exhibitions features it’s first offering by musician, Alison Goldfrapp: Performer As Curator.  The eclectic exhibition explores Goldfrapp’s fascination with the darker side of folklore and fairy tales and gives a unique insight into some of her own artistic inspirations. Opens Saturday 19th October.


2. Just across the water IWM North launches new special exhibition Catalyst: Contemporary Art and War. In an age of 24-hour news and digital media what motivates people to create art about conflict? Showcasing over 70 works by artists including Steve McQueen and kennardphillips – ranging from the highly moving to the humorous, philosophical or outraged. Opens Saturday 12th October.


3. With a million and one things happening as part of the Manchester Weekender it’s hard to choose, so we’ve done the hard work for you. Try a bit of everything at  Manchester Craft: Illustrated and Unplugged at the Craft and Design Centre. 4 days, 10 bands, 26 illustrators, 1 alphabet. Sorted.  Thursday 10th – Sunday 13th October.


Enjoy a busy cultural October!


Lorna x


Photographs: Wicked Poster on Wikipedia, the remainder as listed above.


Other articles by Lorna

Review of Glamorous Amorous – The Ladyboys of Bangkok








Review – Monster’s University

Pixar’s Summer film fun


four stars


We sent busy mum of five Amy to test drive this new Summer film at The Odeon Printworks.


Our junior reviewers and their parents loved this latest offering from Pixar.


Monsters University



Over to you Amy ……

Amy Sheridan


Monsters University is a very welcome prequel to the original Pixar film Monsters Inc.

In this film we get to follow lovable but scary monsters Mike and Sulley as they become the best scaring team – whilst facing all the trials and tribulations that come with going to university.



Without spoiling the story there are plenty of twists and turns to keep both young and adult audience gripped. While the main part of the story takes a little while to unfold, it’s definitely worth the wait as you get to meet some new and very entertaining monsters, as well as catching a glimpse of more familiar characters such as Randal in their youth.

New monsters include Art, a funny, fluffy hippy. Don, the mature student with a bat wing moustache, Terri, a two headed, dancing comedic duo and Squishy, the shy, uncool kid who turns out to be actually rather fab.

Of course we have some not so pleasant characters who try their best to put Mike and his team Oozma Kappa off from winning the Scare Games, so they can be re-enrolled on the scare school programme. And the fraternity of Roar Omega Roar (the ‘cool kids’) cause them more than a few hiccups along the way.

The funny bits are too numerous to list, and there are some scary parts too – the daunting presence of Dean Hardscrabble (voiced by Helen Mirren), casts a shadow of darkness across the whole business of scaring humans.

Watch out for messages in the story of how hard work pays off, honesty is the best policy and how friendship and teamwork prevail.

All in all it is a fantastic film which will entertain all ages, and while some younger children may find it a bit of a long haul in the cinema, I’d say it’s a must see for all the family – especially in 3D.

So get your best scaring face on, warm up for the Scare Games and head over to the cinema this summer for a roaring good time.

Monsters University goes on general release across the UK 12th July 2013 – click here for times.



Amy x


Amy is a freelance writer, blogger and poet – and

Photographs: Amy Sheridan, Wikipedia under Creative Commons

Disclaimer: Thank you to The Odeon Printworks for inviting us to the preview of Monster’s University. We were not asked to write about the film and opinions are our own.



Other articles by Amy:

Whit Friday Brass Band Contests
























  • A A A