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  • Writer's pictureSTEVE COOKE AATA


previews, reviews, interviews, and recommendations with Steve Cooke


The stunning, funny, one-man masterpiece CRUISE at Home Manchester

REVIEW By Steve Cooke

CRUISE is a stunning, funny, one-man masterpiece from Jack Holden set in 1980s Soho with an uplifting soundtrack from John Patrick Elliott - a musical celebration of queer culture.

Fresh from London’s West End and garnering an Olivier Award nomination for Best New Play, this production at HOME is its regional premiere.

The story follows what should have been Michael Spencer’s last night on Earth. In 1984 he is diagnosed with HIV, and told he’ll have at most four years left to live. Under this death sentence Michael and his partner, Dave, put their house on the market, sell the car then spend everything they have to go out with a bang. Dave dies two years later and Michael, immerses himself in a world of drink and drugs.

The last night of his four-year countdown arrives, 29 February 1988, and he heads into Soho wearing his favourite jacket, says goodbye to familiar faces and places, and says yes to everything and everyone. Then, with everything spent and tied up perfectly…Michael survives.

This performance at HOME is a rollercoaster of emotions - a searingly honest, poetically written and beautifully performed one-handed tribute to AIDS veterans.

Cruise at HOME Theatre 1 Until Sat 12 Aug

Running time: 1hr 40mins (no interval)

Suitable for 16yrs+

This production contains smoking, smoke, and haze.

There are adult themes throughout this production including references to self-harm.

Tickets from £12

Box Office 0161 200 1500

Restaurant 0161 212 3500

2 Tony Wilson Place, Manchester

Visit: Visit:


Jack Holden, Writer & Performer, John Patrick Elliott, Composer, Performer & Sound Design

Creative Team

Bronagh Lagan, Director, Nik Corrall Set & Costume Designer, Stufish Entertainment Architects

Set & Projections Design, Prema Mehta, Lighting Designer, Max Pappenheim, Co-Sound Designer

Sarah Golding, Movement Director, Aria Entertainment, Producer.


PREVIEW By Steve Cooke

Prior to the 12 August closer for refurbishment [for about 18 months] we have a chance to catch two excellent exhibitions.

Helene Appel: Among Trees, Among Sand Grains until 12 August in Gallery 3 & 4

Helene Appel creates images that straddle the threshold between realism, sculpture, and abstraction. Using paints and different techniques allow the close emulation of each individual subject she paints. The materials she uses, such as oil, watercolour or encaustic, start to resemble the object itself, giving the painted object a physical and three-dimensional presence.

Depicting ordinary objects from everyday life, her work sees the inherent aesthetic qualities of trees, seashores, fishing nets, headlights, and loose folds of fabric. Whilst never avoiding the less pleasant details of domestic life, we may also encounter discarded vegetable peelings ready to be thrown onto the compost pile or a kitchen sink full to the brim of murky washing up water.

Through the process of painting, the artist activates the objects she portrays, empowering them with a sense of autonomy or agency. In this sense, Appel’s paintings can be understood as portraiture, where the objects depicted belong to their own non-anthropocentric world.

This exhibition will feature key works from Appel’s career alongside a new series of paintings inspired by the streets of Rochdale.

Among Trees, Among Sand Grains will tour to the Williamson Art Gallery & Museum.

Shezad Dawood: Leviathan: From the Forest to the SeaL on until 12 August in Gallery 1 & 2

Leviathan: From the Forest to the Sea premieres Episode 8: Cris, Sandra, Papa & Yasmine, the latest episode in Shezad Dawood’s epic film series, Leviathan Cycle, which considers some of the urgent issues of our time such as climate change. Episode 8 was developed remotely in collaboration with Guarani scriptwriters, directors, and activists Carlos Papá, Cristine Takuá, Sandra Benites, and Brazilian artist and researcher Anita Ekman. This film not only expands the collective and horizontal filmmaking method that has become a central feature of the cycle’s second half but reduces its own environmental impact through an intimate yet remote co-authorship.

Set in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest – one of the most ecologically diverse and threatened biomes on earth – Episode 8 blends indigenous cosmology with fictional narrative, shot footage and especially commissioned animation by Anita Ekman, to chart an embodied, spiritual, and ecological journey along the age-old Guarani path that links the forest to the sea.

Alongside this new film in Gallery One, Dawood will also be showing a series of existing Leviathan works in Gallery Two. The plurality of voices involved in the Leviathan universe is manifested in the multiplicity of media on show: from watercolour to textile-based painting, and from traditional craft techniques to the research papers that contribute to each part of the process. The accompanying works interrogate our evolving relationship to the forest and the sea, land-use, histories of economic and social process, deep time, and future marine environments.

Touchstones Rochdale, The Esplanade, Rochdale OL16 1AQ

Contact Information

Touchstones Rochdale: 01706 924492

Visitor Information Centre: 01706 924928


Opening Times

Tuesday: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Wednesday: 10:00 am – 9:00 pm

Thursday – Saturday: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Sunday – Monday: Closed

Slice Cafe

Tuesday – Saturday: 10:00 am – 3:30 pm

Sunday – Monday: Closed


Thursday 03 August - Saturday 05 August

Visit Fireground Museum

Join us at Fireground this week to discover Greater Manchester's firefighting story.

Fire museum attractions are on show inside the museum including our collection of historic firefighting artefacts from the 18th century to present day, plus home-made refreshments in the new Fireground Café, and souvenirs from our fantastic new gift shop! We have a wide choice ranging from toddler to collector.

Fireground is open to visitors on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, 10am - 4pm.

Under 4s are free, Children (aged 4-15) and Concessions £5, Adults £7, and Family (4 people) £20.

Phone: Fireground 01706 341219


Open Thursday, Friday & Saturday from 10am - 4pm

Fireground, Maclure Road, Rochdale OL11 1DN

Saturday 05 August

The Magic of Motown

Seen by over a million people, now in its 18th year touring the UK.

It’s no surprise that this show is one of the biggest success stories in British theatre history. Come celebrate our brand-new show for 2023 as we Reach Out and show you there ain’t no mountain high enough with the biggest Motown party of the year.

Get ready for all the hits, glittering costumes, dazzling dance routines and outstanding musicianship in this breath-taking live concert spectacular.

You will be going Loco down in Acapulco as we take you back down memory lane with all the Motown classics from artists such as, Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, The Supremes, The Four Tops, Martha Reeves, The Jackson 5, Smokey Robinson, and many, many more.

Celebrate the sound of a generation with one very special night of The Magic of Motown!

Tickets from £32

Phone: Middleton Arena 0300 303 8633 


Sunday 06 August

Alkrington Village Craft Market

Pop along and support your local small businesses and community.

With over 30 stalls we have a fantastic range of brilliant crafters selling their handmade and unique crafts not available on the high street.

Free entry and hot food and refreshments available.

We have free customer parking outside Alkrington Community Centre, plus additional parking outside Tesco Mainway Alkrington.

Everyone welcome, see you soon.

Phone: Lee Yates 07807 457 703


11am - 4pm

Alkrington Community Centre, Hardfield Road, Alkrington, Middleton M24 1TQ

Sunday 06 August

Friends of Hare Hill Park Band Concert - Besses o'th' Barn Band

Kick back and relax to the sound of a brass band in Hare Hill Park.

Refreshments will be on sale. Please bring your own chair or picnic blanket as we only have a limited number of chairs available.

All these events are possible thanks to volunteers who give up their time to make them happen. If you would like to get involved and help with the events in Littleborough, please submit your details here:


Phone: LEAF 07931 992393


3pm - 5pm

Hare Hill Park, Hare Hill Road, Littleborough OL15 9HE

celebrating creative arts and artists - an oasis of positivity supporting individual and community wellbeing.

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