It's July in an odd-numbered year: which means it must be time for the Manchester International Festival again. Which also means I've written a review of the festival - or at least five of its performances - for Europe's Best Website, in a piece you can now read there entitled Mostly MIFfy 2015. Which also also means that there's some Red Button backup content for the article to be found right here.
This was a bit of a hit-and-run visit for The Belated Birthday Girl and me - we arrived in Manchester around 11am on Saturday morning, and left around 7pm on the following day. In those 32 hours we saw the five shows I reviewed on Mostly Film, slept at the Premier Inn Portland Street, had two excellent dinners at The Round at The Royal Exchange and James Martin Manchester, and ate breakfast at Gorilla and Home. The last of those is worth expanding on, because it was our first visit to Manchester's newest art centre since its opening in May. It's unnervingly quiet early in the morning, and the cafe bar's brunch menu is a little abbreviated. But the dishes themselves are lovely (including a terrifically oversized croque madame), and we had a very chilled time there, not realising that just twelve hours later Douglas Gordon would be twatting the place with an axe.
As for the shows we saw in the festival, all of them have videos of one sort or another associated with them, so they'll make up the bulk of this page.
The Skriker's a lot more successful, as far as I'm concerned - after the Festival finishes, its Royal Exchange run continues through to the end of the month. It also has a specially-filmed MIF trailer, which pushes that eco-parable angle I mentioned in the review. Visuals by Alice Dunseath, voiceover by Maxine Peake.
The Invisible Dot have recently made an online-only pilot for BBC Three, called People Time: it should be available for viewing until August 12th or thereabouts. Five of the comics from the MIF show we saw are in it - sketch trio Sheeps (Daran Johnson, Alistair Roberts and Liam Williams) and character duo Natasha Demetriou and Ellie White. The latter's Sexy American Girls skit was the lowpoint of the cabaret, which makes it all the more awkward that this is the only bit of the pilot available for embedding...
Next stop: Jonathan Schofield. When he's not hosting walking tours of Manchester (both inside and outside of the festival) or editing the listings site Manchester Confidential, he's making short videos for his YouTube channel about local matters. This one relates to a recent bit of development that's taken place by the Central Library. Let's just say he's not a fan.
And finally, FlexN Manchester. They've embraced the idea of the video trailer to the max with a full playlist of clips and profiles. I've picked two that focus on the dance group as a whole: so these are the Yanks...
...and these are the Mancs.
At the time of writing, there are still four days of the festival to go: a lot of the performances are technically sold out, but they seem to be releasing extra tickets regularly, so keep an eye on @MIFestival if you want to join in the fun. Maybe steer clear of Douglas Gordon, though, just in case.