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and that includes p+p: £1.60 (saving £3) –
because reading magazines helps judge the best match with your work
in order to maximize publication opportunities.

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down from £10 each, saving £4

NB, ‘back issues’ does what it says on the can,
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because they’re still on sale,
although most issues sell out pretty swiftly:
#170 – #173, and #175- #178.

Information is posted virtually every day,
regardless of what the date counter says, unless –

I’m busy wondering why a male journalist would praise a book
for its ‘womb-trembling quote’? What does that even mean?

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Orbis 185, Autumn

£5 (Overseas: £11/€14/$16); Subs: £18/4 pa (Overseas: £40/€50/$60)

Front cover artwork: ‘The Travellers‘ by Jane Indigo Moore

back cover, detail from image:

Fancy a taste of
The Full English Brexit, offered up by Michael Henry?
Or fed up already, perhaps that’s why
Frederick has gone to ground;
Anne Osbourn has a puzzle to solve, 
And if you’d also like to escape
the gloomy weather,along with
Maxima Kahn
in this Gathering Fall,
lose yourself in Art, and enjoy
Kevin Cahill’s description
How They Met Themselves. Well, better than giving cause for concern:
Stratford A. Kirby’s Sheep Worrier –
even more so with the
Cow Trespassing, from Bill Dodd;
could end up thinking, may as well Make me a wilderness, like Matthew Smith
or even a Red Brick Wall (John Bartlett). But one thing’s for sure,
reading Orbis helps build up inspiration.

Featured Poet

Fokkina McDonnell: Animate and inanimate objects relating to J Abraham;
Just another week; 
Partial view of a loch

Poems from: Chrissy Banks, An Agnostic’s Christmas; Kevin Cahill,
How They Met Themselves; Chris Raetschus, Limerence;
Frank Wood, Pericles, His Diary

Prose from: María Castro Dominguez, Blind Insight;
Phil Knight, Campanula Capratica;
Fokkina McDonnell,This is a portrait if I say so;
Vincent Smith, Love that will not let me go

Translation: Ranald Barnicot, From the Italian of Gabriele D’annunzio

Past Master: Jocelyne Thébault on Arthur Rimbaud

Article: ‘His Chosen Islands: Richard Murphy’ by Benjamin Keatinge

Reviews by Angelina d’Roza, Philip Dunkerley, David Harmer,
Clairr O’Connor, D. A. Prince, Andrew Taylor and Noel Williams

Orbis 185 Contributors also include

Nick Burbridge; David Burridge; Malcolm Carson; Eileen Casey; Ian Caws;
Doreen Duffy; Attracta Fahy; Carol Featherstone; Lorna Grinter;
Claire Louise Hunt;
Simon Lewis; Ray Malone; Probal Mazumdar;
Dave Medd; Stuart Pickford;
Marilyn Ricci; Sheila Spence;
Jill Townsend; Davide Trame; Frank Wood



The Wizard of Oz

Until January 6

Storeyhouse, Chester


Follow the Yellow Brick Road? Well, plenty of interesting encounters en route, in the company of an exemplary cast, with lively music and dance routines (despite rather jarring gesticulation), and as a whole, the show captures the essence of the book, in the coming of age of its heroine, the

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Alice1400x700_Still-Alice-title-V2Still Alice

November 6-10

On tour until November 17

Liverpool Playhouse


Is it just me, or do we tend to think of Alzheimer’s as peculiarly British? In fact, am I allowed to say, there seems plenty of evidence that it seems to be rife in America… One thing’s for sure, it’s something we must all dread, especially as we grow older; every time we forget something , become disorientated or do something daft (how can you possibly mislay a slice of pizza? OK, binned or eaten most likely, but still). Yes, of course, we all do all of those things, and we still all worry.

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They Don’t Pay? We Won’t Pay!

October 30 – November 3

On tour until December 2

Liverpool lLayhouse


What a difference a day makes, or a decade or several of them, since ‘Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay’ was originally written in 1974, and yes, indeed, plus ça change. So how does it translate? Exceedingly well, thanks to Deborah McAndrew, and what a difference is made by those two pronouns, plus a slight tweak for the title, and for Marx’s statement that history repeats itself, ‘ first as tragedy, then as farce’. What we have here is even more than that: the tragic situation of far too many people today, underlined by the use of surreal farce.

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Reviewed for North West End:

The Unreturning

October 16-20

On tour until March 1

Liverpool Everyman


‘War, war! That’s all you ever think about, Dick Plantagenet!’ has to be the worst opening line for a review; dreadful piece of film dialogue. But a subject damn near as old as the human race is one which presents any number of obstacles for any playwright and any theatre company. We’ve seen and heard it all a million times; how do you create something different to evoke the pity of war, and all its horrors? And that yearned for homecoming, to comfort and security? Or isolation?

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Reviewed for North West End:


October 9-15

On tour until October 20

Liverpool Everyman


So this is a modern fable? It could certainly be classed as a fairytale, being extremely grim in places, the tale of orphan Tiny, adopted by his apparent reprobate of a grandfather. The boy grows up to be obsessed with building fences, literally keeping things in as well as out. And having lost father then mother under tragic circumstance, still haunted by the latter, he takes to caring for the eponymous Fup, yes, it has to be said, like a duck to water…

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Reviewed for North West End; shorter version appears on their website:

October 9-13


On tour until April, 2019

Liverpool Playhouse


Yes, you may be familiar with the story, yet this production keeps you on the edge of your seat: will Anne Elliot ever find true love with Frederick Wentworth, the happy ending she truly deserves? It’s been eight long years since her family dissuaded her from accepting his proposal: no means; no

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Reviewed for North West End:

The Animals and Children Took to the Streets

October 17-20

Liverpool Playhouse


We’re off to a good start, free bags of sweeties being passed around. Or are we? Along with the not so goodies, there’s no indication in the notes as to who plays which main role. And the title does not do what it says on the can: no animals appear, apart from one cat. However, easy to imagine the anarchic 1927 company having a giggle about that. Or simply indulging in a Gallic shrug.

And we’re off to the seediest of slums, Bayou Masions, along with Agnes Eaves (and daughter Evie), and she is full of good intentions despite the horribly grim environment where nobody dares venture out at night because of the feral children swarming everywhere. Agnes is convinced they just need a little love and understanding; the sinister Council has ideas of quite a different nature to solve the problem.

Her love interest, well, he should be so lucky because she really is not interested, is the Caretaker, and the two other main characters are the owner of the Second Hand Shop and her daughter, Zelda, head of a gang of the children, known as the Pirates, their clarion call being ‘we want what you have out there’. But it’s impossible to tell who plays what, particularly as The Caretaker, with a shock of Struwwelpeter hair, and Robert in ‘The Golem’ look similar yet are played by different actresses. By a process of elimination, Rowena Lennon, I think, is the delightful, demure Agnes as well as naughty Zelda, then perhaps Felicity Sparks is the Caretaker, who, along with Agnes, garners most of our sympathy; both of them stubborn yet reluctantly brave. Which leaves Rowena Lennon, maybe, as the enchantingly roguish Madame Whateverhernamewas, dry wit, dodgy dealer and Molly Parkin lookalike.

The basic design is the facade of the tenements, windows popping up all over the place, and scenes and scenery change at a bewildering pace, sometimes split with each half left and right of the stage. The scattergun switching of images can be confusing; when news headlines are projected on the backdrop, words and letters are every which way making them difficult to read. Again, you suspect this is all done on purpose, so you should just sit back and enjoy the show, admiring the Russian and Parisian influences on what is basically a cartoon or graphic novel brought to life before your very eyes. However, quite a few devices are the same as those in ‘The Golem’, particularly the animation and the pounding music accompanying the Caretaker when administering silly walks as he marches along or runs around. The whole thing, nevertheless, is startling, and bizarre, and very, very clever with delicious word play and exquisite rhymes, interrupted by the occasionally rude and risqué, and enhanced by wonderfully jaunty music and satirical comment enunciated in cut-glass tones.

Such a vividly original story, created with a loving, old fashioned attention to details, it could easily become a classic. You may not believe you should clap hands if you believe in fairies, but this dystopian fairy tale earned plenty of applause from a thoroughly captivated audience. Think Roald Dahl, think ‘Cabaret’, think Tim Burton – and just think what’ll you be missing if you don’t experience this show for yourself.

Reviewed by Carole Baldock

October 17

Alan Bennett’s The Habit of Art

Liverpool PLayhouse

October 23-27; on tour until December 1


Take two famous actors playing two famous actors playing two famous people… complicated enough but you also have Alexandra Guelff dazzling in the disparate roles of ditsy George, the enthusiastic but rather inept Assistant Stage Manager who then, incongruously and inconsistently, rises to the

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The Lovely Bones

September 25 – October 6

On tour until November 17



The Lovely Bones

No, it isn’t relevant but I just couldn’t resist googling Charlotte Beaumont to see how old she is – her portrayal of 14 year old Susie Salmon is all the more impressive. You would swear she really is a stroppy teenager, just becoming aware of burgeoning sexuality,

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