Manchester has only just recovered from the summer of Fringe with the success of the inaugral Greater Manchester Fringe. A successful programme of comedy, drama, music and live events exploded over 9 venues in July.
Spinning off from that, and the demise of the Manchester Comedy Festival, a number of independent venues, some new to the ever increasing Fringe scene in Manchester, have got together to form the Greater Manchester Comedy Fringe Festival. From 17 to 31 October 9 venues will host a varied programme of stand-up comedy, comedy drama and some familiar faces.
One of the organisers Gareth Kavanagh comments: “In the wake of the announcement that the annual Manchester Comedy Festival had been cancelled due to budgetary reasons, a group of local comedians, the Greater Manchester Fringe and associated venues got together and decided to organize their own.
Manchester has some of the greatest comedy heritage in the country, and we owe it to ourselves to celebrate it. Manchester is now home to a festival run by its own comedy community for its indigenous comedy loving audience.”
Last Tuesday night saw the launch of the Fringe at the Frog and Bucket on Oldham Street with a preview of this packed programme and entertainment from Hayley Ellis, Flaming Aces, Slap and Giggle, John Cooper and Sean Mason.
The Fiction Stroker has picked out our Top Shows to See!
If the Cap Fits, 17 October, Lass O’Gowrie, 23 October, Taurus, 30 October, Kings Arms and 31 October, Joshua Brooks
Meet Gareth Cheesebody who wants you to read his book “Sex my Way: Not Just a Pleasure, But an Art”, Wiz and Wag, two smart young lesbian wasps living in Didsbury. There’s also the girl who runs into a sexual predator on her first date. You’ll recognize the snide neighbours and the kind of people you don’t want to visit you in hospital. Thomas Jackson, writer and ex-monk (!) comments: “I’m doing what I should have done at 25, not 75! I love all this drama going on in pubs. I don’t think you get that anywhere else in England. It’s like going back to Shakespearean times when the actors toured inns.” (£5/£3)
Do you ever look at a clock and feel humbled because you are watching the passage of time? Do you ever look a goldfish in a bowl and envy its ability to forget? If the answer is yes then join ‘vibrant and mischievous’ double act Norris & Parker as they take you on a journey of dark surreal and musical comedy! (£3)
Games Night, 20-21 October, Lass O’Gowrie
Originally beginning life as one of the scripts submitted for the Sitcom Trials, Games Night has been developed by writer Ed Campbell into a longer play. Join Martin and Martha for a tense game of Monopoly. Who will win and will any blood be shed? (£3)
Kafkaesque, 25-27 October, Taurus
Inspired by the stories of author Franz Kafka, four comic and compelling tales exploring what it means to be human. Co-written by the author of the compelling Einstein’s Daughter, Rob Johnston, this will be an unforgettable journey. (£5)
WRONG: The Musical, 26 October, Lass O’Gowrie, 30 October, Taurus
Members of the acclaimed ComedySportz team take all of your favourite musicals and make them all WRONG! Tremendously received in its preview performance in September, this is not one to miss! (£3)
Festival of the Sci-Fi Nerd: Are You Sci-Curious?, 29 October, The Lowry
Join three of the UK’s best (and nerdiest) performers for an evening of comedy, science, music, maths and interactive experiments as they ask those all-important questions. How can you use a parabola to set stuff on fire? How does the angler fish make love? And how dangerous can things get with just numbers? (£14)
Beat the Frog: The World Series Final, 29 October, Frog and Bucket (also 22 October)
MC Phil Ellis presents the grand final of the competition to end all competitions No X Factor style fallouts here, just you the audience. Eight finalists will step up to try and take the Beat the Frog crown! Plus a bonus headline set from a very special secret guest! (£5/£3)
There are also a number of shows that are back for more:
Award winning MAD Theatre Company are back with their anarchic take on life in the Pickles household. Reviewed here. (£5)
The Sitcom Trials, 20 October, Lass O’Gowrie
The Sitcom Trials is the comedy show where brand new sitcoms compete and the audience vote for the winner. Have we found the new Office? (£3)
The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre, 20 October, Lass O’Gowrie
Boo Lingerie! A brand new Socky Horror Show starring the darlings of stage, screen and YouTube (£10)
The Fiction Stroker’s ‘highlight of a competitive Fringe festival’ returns for two nights only. It’s Sugar vs Sinclair in all out war for the ownership of Sinclair computers. But there can only be one winner… Reviewed here. (£6)
You can find out more, and indeed all the latest information on the GM Comedy Fringe over on their website at: www.greatermanchesterfringe.co.uk