Northern Soul

Articles relating to: HOME

The Lighthouse

Beware the light: Northern Soul braves HOME’s FilmFear season to watch a preview of The Lighthouse

November 16, 2019 No Comments

Director Robert Eggers may only be two films into his fledgling career as a director and writer but he has already proven himself a master of psychological horror.

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Phil Cheadle in Reasons to Stay Alive. Photo by Johan Persson

Theatre Review: Reasons to Stay Alive, HOME, Manchester

October 31, 2019 Comments Off on Theatre Review: Reasons to Stay Alive, HOME, Manchester

I am nothing if not a Matt Haig fangirl.

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The Day Shall Come

Film Review: The Day Shall Come

October 12, 2019 Comments Off on Film Review: The Day Shall Come

When Chris Morris made his first feature film, Four Lions, back in 2010, it felt like an unexpected move, albeit within a career full of unexpected moves.

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Red Dust Road National Theatre of Scotland / HomeEdinburgh International Festival

Theatre Review: Red Dust Road, HOME, Manchester

September 14, 2019 Comments Off on Theatre Review: Red Dust Road, HOME, Manchester

Ever since it was published nearly ten years ago, Jackie Kay’s memoir Red Dust Road has been in on-off development as a stage play. As a project, it’s a big ask. The book follows Kay’s journey of discovery as an adopted child from Scotland to Nigeria, taking in a whole host of different times, places and people along the way. Now the stage version, adapted by Tanika Gupta and directed by Dawn Walton, arrives at HOME in Manchester after several Scottish dates. In the event it’s very easy to like, but harder to adore.

It’s extremely ambitious, using a minimum of devices and trickery to conjure up Kay’s tale. The achievements of the cast vary, but as Kay’s adoptive parents, Lewis Howden and the mighty Elaine C. Smith loom large, proving to be the life and soul of the piece, appropriately enough. As Kay herself, Sasha Frost is an appealing presence, all the more impressive because she doesn’t have a great deal to go on. It’s an oddly slight, underwritten part. As events unfold, Jackie remains simply, unremittingly nice, with no edge and hence no depth to her, emerging almost as a bystander to proceedings rather than the protagonist.

The shape of the narrative has a similar problem in terms of drawing in the audience. Kay’s story is by no means a conventional quest, but one key destination point – meeting her birth father Jonathan (Stefan Adegbola) – is thrown in almost at the start, pulling away any sense of anticipation or dramatic tension. Frustratingly, the scene even begins after the first moment of meeting, so we never get to see it.

Red Dust Road ©The Other RichardTo be fair, Red Dust Road is aiming to create a subtle, lyrical tapestry, leaping back and forth in terms of time and place. In that respect though it’s an uphill struggle, not helped by the curious lack of enveloping intimacy in the HOME theatre space. It’s hard to feel engaged by Jackie’s tusslings with her roots and identity when they meander so, never settling in one setting for long enough to  resolve in a satisfying way. That said, individual scenes often feel long and woolly and overall the piece, which runs at two and a half hours, lacks a concerted sense of pace and snap. 

The second half coalesces a little better than the first, and it’s never less than enjoyable, with some great lines and decent laughs. Along the way there are some elegant, beguiling moments but for all the boldness and ambition on show here, it remains pleasant but underwhelming. There might be a much better play in there somewhere, or possibly Kay’s wide-ranging, highly personal memoir just poses insurmountable hurdles where staging is concerned.

By Andy Murray

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Red Dust Road is at HOME, Manchester until September 21, 2019. For more information, click here.

To read Andy’s interview with Jackie Kay, click here.

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Jackie Kay (photo by Denise Else)

“A reader has their own way of interpreting your whole story.” Poet Jackie Kay talks to Northern Soul

September 9, 2019 Comments Off on “A reader has their own way of interpreting your whole story.” Poet Jackie Kay talks to Northern Soul

Jackie Kay’s 2010 acclaimed memoir Red Dust Road is the story of a journey as Kay comes to terms with the fact that she’s adopted and gradually wends her way from Scotland to Nigeria in search of her birth parents. But the book has since gone on a journey of its own.

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Jason Wood

“I just think the two things go together really well.” Jason Wood from Manchester’s HOME talks about Pop Stars on Film

July 18, 2019 Comments Off on “I just think the two things go together really well.” Jason Wood from Manchester’s HOME talks about Pop Stars on Film

Received wisdom usually has it that pop stars shouldn’t act.

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David Lynch at Home, MIF 2019

Review: David Lynch artist talk and Twin Peaks: Series 3 Episode 8, Manchester International Festival, HOME

July 12, 2019 Comments Off on Review: David Lynch artist talk and Twin Peaks: Series 3 Episode 8, Manchester International Festival, HOME

The David Lynch at HOME season has an inescapable problem – an elephant man in the room, if you will.

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Charlie Bubbles

Film Review: Charlie Bubbles, HOME, Manchester

April 24, 2019 Comments Off on Film Review: Charlie Bubbles, HOME, Manchester

More than half a century after its partial release, it’s difficult to prise Charlie Bubbles apart from the cultural resonances that have aggregated limpet-like to its slender framework over the intervening decades.

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Kingdom 10 - photo by Vicenç Viaplana

Theatre Review: Kingdom, HOME, Manchester

April 15, 2019 Comments Off on Theatre Review: Kingdom, HOME, Manchester

Barcelona-based theatre company Señor Serrano, contributing to the theatre element of this year’s year’s ¡Viva! Spanish & Latin American Festival 2019 at Manchester’s HOME, create what they call “cinema-in-real-time”, in this case using a live-feed camera, keyboard, guitar, microphones, drum kit, amplification and a huge number of smaller props carefully arranged across three large tables, as well as a willingness to show off their manly bodies.

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Wise Children, directed by Emma Rice, presented by Wise Children - pic 10 (photo by Steve Tanner)

Theatre Review: Wise Children, HOME, Manchester

March 2, 2019 Comments Off on Theatre Review: Wise Children, HOME, Manchester

This is jolly good fun. Based on Angela Carter’s final novel, a picaresque romp through the lives of twin sisters, Nora and Dora Chance, all human life is there even if director and writer Emma Rice has cut quite a lot of the plot.

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