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On the good ship Lowry
Member Name: cswann
Date: 24/01/01, updated on 24/01/01 (38 review reads)
Advantages: Looks great, lots going on there
Disadvantages: Garish colour scheme, will get hemmed in by yet more shops and retail parks
I visited The Lowry in the first week after it was completed, last summer. We already knew from the news reports that it was a bit of a rush job, towards the end, and it definitely showed in those first few days. The interior décor left much to be desired - many a carpet edge needed tacking down, there were lots of places where it looked like they'd run out of paint... And on that Sunday when I visited the cafes simply weren't prepared for the huge numbers of visitors - no sandwiches, no ice creams? just Snickers bars if your were peckish. Not very good if you were planning to have a pre-concert bite to eat there! Anyway, all of that seems to have changed now, they've got more organised, and all is forgiven.
It's a very impressive building - especially from the outside. The interior feels very much like an ocean liner, as it's all steel railings and portholes. The colours are somewhat garish (bright orange, bright purple) but, hey this is a modern building, an art gallery? it's making a statement.
Sitting in virtually any of the bars, you get excellent views of the waterside - verging on the industrial by day, but wonderful in the evening.
It's a strange development, Salford Quays - lots of new upmarket flats, and across the river, some heavy industry, and now, in their wisdom, the developers are plonking a huge big retail park right next to the Lowry. So it will become surrounded by mediocre buildings, and any effect the wonderful architecture might have had will soon no doubt be lost.
There are 2 theatres there. The large one (The Lyric) hosts touring productions (opera and ballet as well as the usual musicals), and I have seen acts such as Ruby Wax there.
I've also been to several concerts in the smaller Quays Theatre, which is an excellent venue, everyone has a good view of the stage. It also feels fairly plush, and quite intimate, in an old-time Good Old Days kind of way.
yet to explore the Art galleries fully - although the Lowry (the artist, I mean) exhibition is very good. The rooms are suitably light and airy, and you are led naturally round the rooms, so that you don't miss anything on display.
The restaurant is, by all accounts, a top notch affair (I know of people who visit the Lowry just for a meal there) called Steven Saunders at The Lowry.
If you're likely to be a frequent visitor, it could be worth getting an UpFront discount card, because although it costs £15, you get 10% off theatre tickets, priority booking, and 10% off in the restaurant.
You can get there by tram, the Metro station is very close. Parking is not a problem as there's a huge dedicated multi-storey car park right next door.
Well worth a visit if you've not been to the Lowry, just for a look round, and, if you live in the area, a good venue to keep an eye open out for top class theatre productions and concert tours.
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