A Different Way Home Oldham Coliseum Annie & Fanny from Bolton to RomeBolton OctagonThere are full houses in Oldham to celebrate 60 years of the Rep, now named the Coliseum. It might seem impossible, but contemporary ceramicists keep coming up with original new shapes. Glenda Cahillane's stem pots, unlike the work of any other potter, are striking because they seem to be made from human anatomical components - shoulders, neck, torso. They also have a front and a back, which few pots do, and the high-fired earthenware is warm to the touch. This one, 38cm high, price pounds 360, is seen from the front. Cahillane, 42, born in Lurgan, Northern Ireland, has been developing the shape for 15 years. Grant- Adamson is scrupulous about Fifties detail, but - like the Humber cars, grosgrain dresses and seamed stockings - her Fifties characters seem to come out of a box marked "stock".And yet.
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When it comes to the moments of real drama, Grant-Adamson's lack of pizzazz, her mundanity and understatement, are arresting. This thriller is not a pacy page-turne, but it does have a soap- opera-ish fascination; and you do keep turning to be sure you've guessed right.. and once, spectacularly, she figured in the tearing down of the Berlin Wall."The principal revelations of the murder are not a surprise, but the very fact that the ending is half-predictable is an incentive to keep reading. Anna sees her dead mother's face everywhere: "Since she died she has been on television, taken part in an Australian soap opera, won a lottery ticket ...
The quiet ellipses with which she describes cruelty, grief, fear, violence and tragedy invest them with power: the power of what is unsaid In these moments her language has a redeeming grace And she has flashes of wit. Bit by bit, Anna recalls the circumstances of a black deed in a youth full of stereotypes: her father who was not quite right after the war, her fast mother who was no better than she ought to be, and her mother's spivvy fancy man. Anna has a PR job, a taste for expensive classic clothes and, as it turns out, a sad marital history to add to her lamentable childhood. But her life now is hardly less staid and uneventful than her cousin's.