As regular readers will know, we’re stalwart supporters of the Fringe scene in Manchester and beyond, and the Greater Manchester Fringe returns for a third year with even more shows and more venues presenting a mix of drama, comedy and music over the next 31 days.
The Fringe is a place for new and existing talent to try out new material and treat audiences whilst keeping prices low. As a grassroots festival the GM Fringe tries to keep ticket prices as low as possible. Most are under £10, some are a donation on the door, and even better some are free!
Comedy highlights include Mitch Benn (Kings Arms, 1 July), Phill Jupitus (Kings Arms, July 8/9) and The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre (Taurus, 23 July). Local acts performing include Gein’s Family Giftshop (Kings Arms, 7/23 July), Tom Short and Will Hutchby (Kings Arms, 19 July), Hayley Ellis and Katie Mulgrew (Kings Arms, 28 July) and An Evening of Filth and Despair from Jenny May Morgan and Sinead Parker (Kings Arms, 30 July). To round off the hilarity, compare Red Redmond hosts Jonathan Mayer, Kate McCabe, Lee Peart and Simon Ramsden as they take part in Queer as Jokes (Taurus, 30 July) to raise money for the Queerchester exhibition.
Music interludes include Voices and Lyrics (Kings Arms, July 10/11), a musical theatre concert with a twist. Promising show stopping numbers from new writers as well as famous songs for classic musical theatre lovers, it’s an irresistible mix of old and new. John Watts’ The World Go Round Tour pitches up in Manchester (The Castle Hotel, July 18) whilst The Happy Soul and Other Miserablists pop up in Salford (Kings Arms, July 26).
For fans of the Manchester music scenes, then This is Manchester (Apotheca, July 15/16), a one man multimedia show, will discuss how the history of the Manchester music scene reflects the evolution and attitude of the city. A bit later in the month Hacienda Tales (Joshua Brooks, July 26) showcases Northern humour, whilst shining a spotlight on the recent past and the youth of post-Thatcher Britain – a new show previewing ahead of the Edinburgh Fringe, it’s an irresistible chance to see this new show in its spiritual home.
Drama fans need not worry with premieres of exciting new writing and new plays from great talent over the next month. Friends in Low Places (Joshua Brooks, July 4/5) see two convicts on the run win big on the slot machines of Las Vegas who have to avoid the attention of the law, the mob and a possible German invasion of Nevada..
The Tour de France is being celebrated over in Dobcross in Life Cycle (The Swan Inn, July 9) as a lone cyclist riding towards us looks back at his life, the gearshifts corresponding with significant moments of his life. Lucia Cox directs Be My Baby (Kings Arms, July 10-12) which follows the lives of four teenage girls in the 1960’s hidden in a religious Mother and Baby Home.
Len Johnson: Fighter (Kings Arms, July 15-18) follows the extraordinary story of black boxer Len Johnson, banned from fighting for the British title because he was black. The fight against racial discrimination even continued outside the ring as Johnson tries to get a seat on Manchester City Council. Starring Jarreau Benjamin, the story is inspired by Michael Herbert’s book ‘Never Counted Out’ and all proceeds will be donated to the Working Class Movement Library in Salford.
Elsewhere there’s a comedic flim noir presentation of Hamlet Private Eye (Joshua Brooks, July 20/27), Derek Lawson’s adaptation of Sheila Quigley’s crime novel Run for Home (Dancehouse, July 16) has a special one-off performance, Rob Johnston (Einstein’s Daughter) shines An Extraordinary Light (Taurus, July 17/18) on Rosalind Franklin’s innovative work on the structure of DNA. Whilst Quentin Crisp, Sappho, Gladys Bentley and Harvey Milk are drawn together in the afterlife and asked Would You Change? (Taurus, July 20, 26/27).
The list of venues hosting events is like a Where’s Where’s of Manchester and includes fine venues like: Albert Square Chophouse, Apotheca, Three Minute Theatre, The Bay Horse, The Briton’s Protection, Castle Hotel, Contact Theatre, Dancehouse, The Eagle Inn, Fab Café, Frog and Bucket, Gullivers, The Hatters Hostel, Kraak, Joshua Brooks, Lower Kersal Social Club, O’Shea’s, Oasis Theatre Academy, Salford Arms Hotel, Satan’s Hollow, Taurus Bar, The King’s Arms, The Marble Beerhouse, The Millstone, The Retro Bar, The Roadhouse, The Swan Inn Dobcross, The Vine Inn, Tiger Lounge, Town Hall Tavern, and Bar21 Café bar.
For more information on the Greater Manchester Fringe including the latest listings, pop along to the website.