Premiering this July, venues across Manchester are joining forces for a month of comedy, drama, music, dance, cabaret and comedy bringing some of the finest talent to Manchester as well as premieres of all new shows.
A platform for experimentation, the GM Fringe allows performers to hone their skills. Alongside established venues known for theatre performances (The Kings Arms, Taurus, The Lass O’Gowrie), additional venues like Satan’s Hollow and Fab Café will be adapting to host Fringe performances.
The full listings are available on www.greatermanchesterfringe.co.uk and the venues taking part include Fab Café, The Kings Arms, The Lass O’Gowrie, O’Shea’s, Sandbar, Satan’s Hollow, Taurus and the Tiger Lounge.
The Fiction Stroker has been perusing the listings for the pick of the Fringe, and without further ado, here are our Top 10 to see:
1-3, 22-24 July, Lass O’Gowrie
Following on from the recent critical hit of Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads, The Lass O’Gowrie brings classic BBC sitcom Porridge to the stage. Adapted from the original scripts, visitors to HMP Slade will get to see the episodes ‘Poetic Justice’ and ‘Rough Justice’ – these are the two famous episodes where Fletcher discovers he has a new cellmate – the Judge who sent him down..
Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer
10 July, Lass O’Gowrie
Recently championed by Radio 1, chap hop with a stiff upper lip, ditties about drinking tea, pipe-smoking, high society, Cricket and sexual misadventure!
Norris and Parker’s Comedy Wake
26-27 July, Lass O’Gowrie
Described by Mancunian Matters as having “an original and hilarious take on sketch comedy” and stars of the Fringe launch in April, favourites Norris & Parker return to the Lass O’Gowrie with their unique blend of surreal sketch comedy with a dark twist.
Lets See What Happens, Sat 28 July, Lass O’Gowrie
Comedysportz bring their improvisation show to the Lass O’Gowrie
The Scottish Sock Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre, Fri 20 July, Lass O’Gowrie
A brand new Edinburgh preview special – the Socky Horror Show!
The Robots of Death & Storm Mine
Premiere with Paul Darrow at Fab Café Sunday 1 July
Robots of Death 22-24 July, Fab Café
Storm Mine 28-30 July, Lass O’Gowrie
This adaptation of a Doctor Who story, and its audio sequel are sure to be big sellers throughout the Fringe. The premiere features Paul Darrow reprising his role as Kaston Iago. Although neither The Doctor nor his companion Leela features in this adaptation, Robots of Death has been adapted from the original rehearsal scripts adding a new dimension to this classic murder mystery. Storm Mine picks up the story eighteen months on – with Kaldor City in quarantine, Blayes finds herself trapped in a claustrophobic, dreamlike environment – that could be the end of the world – or it’s beginning.
Together in Electric Dreams
4-5, 8, 26 July, Lass O’Gowrie
Dan Thackeray’s (The Ballad of Halo Jones) new play concerns a tense and tactical dinner date between two goliaths of the electronics industry. Sir Clive Sinclair, inventor of the pocket calculator and Sinclair ZX81 (the first personal computer) is forced to strike a deal with arch-rival Amstrad – the newest name in home computing, managed by one Alan Sugar. A tense dramatisation of a little-known historical encounter.
Gin and Chronic Arthritis
12 July, Lass O’Gowrie
MaD Theatre Company will take Manchester back to the 60s in this drama. Centering on the complicated romances in the Pickle family home, Wheelchair Barry takes Nanna Pickles on a date to a psychic supper where she is contacted by a lover from long ago making Wheelchair Barry jealous of the fella from the other side. Combining Northern humour with Mike Leigh-esque acting, this is sure to be popular.
16/17 July, Kings Arms
Spend an academic year with the staff of Parkview Behavioural Support Unit through the eyes of the people who work there in this darkly comic play from Time2Shine Productions. The ups and downs of OFSTED inspections, clashing personalities and tested friendships are laid bare. Writer Rachel Creeger has based the play on experiences gained from her time as a School-Home Liaison Officer, Child Protection Specialist and Drugs Worker in Pupil Referral Units across London.
July 25, Lass O’Gowrie
Forever 27: An exclusive club for the brightest stars. But even if you’re not rich and famous, everyone wants to be remembered for something! Mark is Mr Average, who is trying to make his life more interesting, like trying to create a tick list of amazing things to do before you die. He feels that if he cannot be successful in his life, then he will be instead successful in Death. He plans an elaborate suicide before his twenty eighth birthday in order to be remembered, leave a legacy and join the host of stars that burnt out before their time in the ’27 Club’.
Einstein’s Daughter, 6-7 July, Lass O’Gowrie
A powerful drama about a father’s struggle to maintain calm in his daughter’s autistic life
Have a Very Nice Day, 31 July, Kings Arms
One Play, One Day’s Barry Evans debut play set in the loneliest place on Earth – a telesales office
Guns, Gangsters and Varos: An Afternoon with Philip Martin
21 July, Lass O’Gowrie
Rarely interviewed, Philip Martin, writer of Gangsters and Doctor Who will spend an afternoon talking about his career. Illustrated with clips and episodes from some of his key works, this is an essential afternoon for TV enthusiasts and dramatists.
Arthur Bostrom: An Actors Life
29 July, Taurus Bar
Join Fringe patron Arthur Bostrom, best known for his role in hit BBC comedy ‘Allo ‘Allo! for an informal evening talking about his life in theatre and TV with personal stories and anecdotes along the way. In the second half, there will be an audience Q&A for questions about Arthur’s career, or indeed acting in general.
Funny Women Stand Up to Stand Out Workshop, 10 July, Kings Arms
Learn self-confidence and enhanced communication skills with other women in this interactive workshop
Organised Chaos Presents Once Upon a Time – A Writing Workshop, 21 July, Lass O’Gowrie
A play-writing workshop that looks at how well we tell a story
Keep checking The Fiction Stroker throughout the Fringe for reviews and updates on the festival!