3-4 June 2016
Reviewed by Melanie Allen
I haven’t been to the Lyric Theatre at the Lowry in Salford Quays for a few months, so was surprised to learn that the parking charge system has changed. From 4 April 2016, you can no longer get your parking ticket validated when you spend over £5 in a shop in the mall. It is now £1 per hour for the first 4 hours.
This family show looked right up my 9 year old son’s street – he loves anything to do with film production, so it seemed ideal (the age suggestion is 6-14). However, although my son enjoyed it, I was left feeling a bit let down and cheated. I checked on the Lowry’s website beforehand and it said the running time was an hour for each act (there were 2 acts) plus a 20 minute interval, so starting at 7pm, it would finish approx. 9.20pm.
We arrived at 6.30pm, collected our tickets and then had to wait until 6.50pm to enter the auditorium as it was ‘being prepared’ we were told. I took the opportunity to visit the toilets, which were very modern and clean.
Inside the Lyric theatre, the stage was set up with a big screen and surrounded by props from well-known films. The show opened with fake mini explosions, and we were introduced to Sonia, a young American presenter and her sidekick, a scientist boffin. Together they explained how fake blood is made and how pyrotechnics worked and tried out various experiments on the unfortunate unsuspecting Duncan (the third and final cast member). Although the kids in the audience thought this was funny, the adults appeared a little bemused. Clips of various Hollywood blockbuster special effects were explained, and it became like an episode of the Cbeebies program ‘Nina and the Neurons’. The end of the first act culminated in an impressive glimpse of a dinosaur like in Jurassic Park, but it was short lived and disappeared once the smoke had cleared. I checked my watch and it was only 7.25pm – the show had been on for less than half an hour??
After the interval, the audience participation stepped up a level, and was mildly amusing when a chosen lady demonstrated how film sound effects work. Sonia explained the history of sound effects and how the Wilhelm scream has featured in movies since the early 1950’s which was very interesting. They went on to explain how CGI works in the movies, but they were busted by my 9 year old when even he noticed that the ‘motion capture suit’ didn’t match the man on the screen. Queue a few more explosions, a few fireworks and that was it – finished and it was only 8.20pm including the interval? On our way out, I heard a few disappointed parents complaining at the length of it all and I don’t blame them – it was half as long as advertised.
My son thought it was ‘excellent’, however I didn’t think it was as billed – not half as exciting and thrilling as what I thought it was going to be.
Tickets cost from £15.50 to £17 (includes £2 booking fee).
The Hollywood Special Effects Show is at The Lowry in Manchester until 4 June 2016. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 0843 208 6000.
The Lowry, Pier 8, Salford Quays, Manchester, M50 3AZ | 0843 208 6000