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I assume that, like Chekhov’s gun, this would not go undeployed by the night’s end — perhaps I and the other packet minions would be required to stand at the side of the stage and issue bubbles while Neo and Trinity kissed — but no. It was just one loose end amongst a rat king of loose ends.”

Like all great reviewers who wish to stay on the right side of hard working performers and their respective press officers, Sophie Atkinson damns with faint praise. She makes “Free Your Mind” sound like a long Sunday morning in an Evangelical congregation, assembled in an industrial shed, and lavished with a large budget by a shadowy cult leader. And there are ‘human statues’ for god’s sake: ‘You’d take a picture of this poor woman, mounted to the wall like antlers in a stately home, and her eyes would be flicking frantically about behind those same sunglasses every twenty-something in the White Hotel now wears.’

I haven’t seen the show yet, I don’t think….but Matrix-like (or do I mean Minority Report?) I might just have experienced it enough not to bother.

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Oct 21, 2023Liked by Sophie Atkinson

I have so many thoughts about the launch but the main thing I’m going to say is that to see something like this created and debuted in Manchester is undoubtedly a massive deal.

The most important thing now is making sure everybody in that room convinces enough of their non arty friends to come along and witness the spectacle.

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I remember going to see the Matrix when it came out in late 90s. I sat through the whole thing without having a clue what it was all about, and I still don't know what it's all about to this day. I don't know if this immediately marks me out as the child who says the Emperor's stark naked, or whether it just makes me look dim-witted and uncool. Either way, I'll be giving this Aviva Studios offering a miss as it sounds even more off the wall than I thought the film was .

I always enjoy Sophie's reviews though, they're witty and informative.

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Oct 21, 2023Liked by Sophie Atkinson

Thanks for your well thought critique of the show. It sounds visually impressive and very avant garde. Behind all the hype and expense of Aviva and Factory, it has to deliver amazing arts experiences to a wide and substantial audience. I hope this show achieves that.

I’ve been to a few MIF shows all wonderful but I could have watched them in a more comfortable setting in the Lowry! So the MIF programme has to be different.

The first MIF performance I went to in the Aviva theatre the audience could distinctly hear music from the stage outside. I wasn’t impressed for £242 million!

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Oct 21, 2023·edited Oct 21, 2023

Not sure why at the opening of a fantastic new Manchester Institution you would be so offended at a 5 minute nod to its Manc roots! Not so baffling really using Allan Turing to open the show, when the Matrix coding is clearly linked with his genius decoding triumphs. We also certainly weren't "constantly encouraged to get drinks" and every theatre I've ever been to tries to make me buy a drinks package. Finally, its so enourmous you got vertigo. Really 🤣 !!! Whether you liked the show or not is your choice but this review sounds very much like you were desperate not to.

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A bit long, rambling (like a lot of Mill articles) and inconsequential. Sorry!

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