The Manchester International Festival takes place every two years. There isn’t one this year. But there is a Greater Manchester Fringe. We do things differently here.
With over 100 events taking place at venues across the region, ranging from the serious to the surreal via the downright wacky, there’s bound to be something to tickle your fancy.
There’s drama, stand-up comedy, children’s shows, clowns, mime, poetry, puppetry, musicals and live music. There’s ex-Benidorm star Hannah Hobley in a brand new comedy which takes place in a pop-up saloon in the car park of 53two. There’s even a play by a 16 year-old Salford schoolgirl.
Here’s a selection of some of the wackier sounding shows, in no particular order. They’re not necessarily the best shows. We just like the sound of them.
Come ‘ere You Daft Cow
Come ‘ere you Daft Cow explores female friendships, mental health, crappy sexual encounters and the fact everything can be solved with pizza and margaritas. Winner of this year’s I Love MCR Award for Show with the Best Title at the Greater Manchester Fringe.
Monday 30 July and Tues 31 July, 9pm, £8. King’s Arms Theatre, 11 Bloom Street, Salford M3 6AN
Blackpool, What a Shit Place to Die
Billy Costello is a young, gay, depressed, autistic actor with a drug problem. He is a man on the brink. It’s 5am. The sea is slowly rising up his body. The lights have just gone out on Blackpool Prom behind him. Billy looks back on his life and laughs at the tragedies and cries at the happy times. Is this it? Runner-up, I Love MCR Award for Show with the Best Title at this year’s Greater Manchester Fringe.
Thursday 19 and Friday 20 July, 8pm, £10/£7. Three Minute Theatre, Affleck’s Arcade 35-39 Oldham St, Manchester M1 1JG
HG Wells, Caesar, Nostradamus, Wordsworth, Sid Vicious, and many more are all brought together courtesy of Percy and his time travelling wheelchair. May contain nuts and foul language.
Monday 2 July, 7pm, £8. 53two, 8 Albion St, Manchester M1 5LN
Confessions of a WordPress Fanatic
Got WordPress? Evert forgotten your password? Uploaded images the wrong size?
Is there a nasty widget in your footer? Do you suffer from unresponsive design?
An hour of niche comedy about the world’s most popular online software web app thing.
Thursday 5 July, 6pm and 8pm, £5. King’s Arms Studio 1, 11 Bloom Street, Salford M3 6AN
Enjoy a night out in the gay village at a fraction of the cost as you follow the escapades of a group of queer women on a night out. Featuring drunken pep talks, a cat fight in the toilets, and a feverish search for Lindy’s friends (who may or may not be imaginary).
Friday 6, Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 July, 7pm, £6/£4. Eagle Inn, 18 Collier St, Salford M3 7DW
Garry Starr Performs Everything
Save money on expensive theatre productions by watching Garry Starr perform every single genre of theatre in under 60 minutes following his recent dismissal from the Royal Shakespeare Company due to ‘artistic differences’.
Friday 6, Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 July, 9pm, £10/£8. King’s Arms Theatre, 11 Bloom Street, Salford M3 6AN
Eddie Summers – Rocket Fuel
Explosive Eddie’s looking for one lucky new flatmate. Expect toast, kissing, rap, cat whiskers, violence, flirting with an apple crumble, and a giant rabbit.
Saturday 7 July, 9.15pm, £6/£5. King’s Arms Vaults, 11 Bloom Street, Salford M3 6AN
Part kitchen table drama, part B-movie horror. The show follows the life of a young woman – Janet – who constantly tries to abscond from her destiny in the oven and follow her dreams against all odds. Members of the cast are represented by a 1950s milk churn, a packet of French flour and a rather handsome rolling pin. Janet is portrayed by 1.5 kg of uncooked bread dough. Probably a better actor than Emma Watson.
Monday 9 July – Thursday 12 July, 1.30pm, £8/£6. King’s Arms Theatre, 11 Bloom Street, Salford M3 6AN
A 6 foot woman and a sex doll take on femininity. In a world where femininity obsesses over smallness in size, voice, opinion, ambition, one 6-foot woman and a sex doll converted into a feminist robot, smash through walls and ceilings to explore how women can embrace bigness in a big physical romp.
Thursday 12 July, 7.30pm, £6/£4. King’s Arms Theatre, 11 Bloom Street, Salford M3 6AN
Romeo and Juliet
We all know deep down that Shakespeare can be, well, a little bit boring. Shakespeare’s classic tale of young star crossed lovers is made less boring by the Rubbish Shakespeare Company. Ideal for the whole family (4+).
Friday 13 July, 6.30pm, £10/£6. Salford Arts Theatre, Kemsing Walk Off Liverpool St Salford M5 4BS
Neil Davidson: the Thermos Museum
Thermos flasks displayed in such a way so as to stun the audience plus a surreal commentary from your confused tour guide.
Sat 14, Sun 15, Sat 21 and Sun 22 July, 3pm, 5pm, 7pm and 8.30pm, £3.50/£2.50.
King’s Arms Theatre, 11 Bloom Street, Salford M3 6AN
One Man Bond: Every Bond Film In 60 Minutes
Save money on expensive James Bond box sets. Watch Brian Gorman play over 200 characters in one hour, including every James Bond from Sean Connery to Daniel Craig plus M, Moneypenny, Q, and the infamous villains Dr No, Goldfinger, Blofeld, Mr Big, Scaramanga, Jaws, and Raul Silva.
Tues 17, Wed 18 and Thurs 20 July, £9, £10/£8. King’s Arms Theatre, 11 Bloom Street, Salford M3 6AN
How to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse
A Yorkshire love story. Life seems pretty much sorted for Phil (job, partner and coach holidays) and Mark (girlfriend, potholing and zombie films). Time may be ticking but it’s a tick easily ignored. Their chance meeting raises some tough questions about the choices they’ve made. Dare they face their own personal Zombie Apocalypse?
Thursday 19, Friday 20 and Saturday 21 July, 7.30pm, £9/£7. King’s Arms Theatre, 11 Bloom Street, Salford M3 6AN
John Porter Can’t Help Falling (in Love)
When you’re disabled and unlucky in love, the thing you know the best is falling – in and out of cars, off chairs, and in and out of love. Join John Porter on an epic journey from Chorley to Cheadle, Blackley to Bulgaria, and Saltburn to Salford, as he talks through just about everything. Why does he hate the Courteeners and just why he can’t help falling in love?
Saturday 21 July, 8pm, FREE. Gullivers, 108 Oldham Street, Manchester M4 1LW.
The Little Pink Book of Masculinity
Come and see John strip, dance and crack jokes all in the name of saving masculinity! Whether you’re in need of help to becoming a real man, or your masculine ego just needs a gentle rub, then this show is a must-see.
Sunday 22, Monday 23 and Tuesday 24 July, 7.30pm, £8/£5. King’s Arms Studio 1, 11 Bloom Street, Salford M3 6AN
A Dance in the Dark
It’s decision time for Gerald – to get up and get out into the world and face his blind date or not to bother and eat another pizza?
Mon 23, Tues 24, Wed 25, Fri 27, Sat 28 July, 8pm, £10. Footlights, 48 Kansas Avenue, Salford, M50 2GL.
The Very Perry Show
Not the Katy Perry. This Kate Perry is an actress, radio presenter and writer from Dungannon, Co. Tyrone and she’s presenting a happy hour of comic monologues featuring a can of WD40, a pair of goggles and a rubber hat.
Tues 24, Wed 25, Thurs 26 July, 9.30pm, £10/£8. 53two, 8 Albion St, Manchester M1 5LN
Conspiracy Theory: a Lizard’s Tale
Marlon Solomon is Jewish. This didn’t bother him much until he discovered that some people he knew didn’t believe the Holocaust happened. From 9/11 to shape-shifting lizards and Holocaust denial, this is a darkly comic tale of one man’s journey through the conspiracy underworld.
Thurs 26 at 7pm, Fri 27 at 7pm, Sat 28 at 4pm and Sun 29 July at 7pm, £9/£6. 53two, 8 Albion Street, Manchester, M1 5NZ.
Four storytellers wearing western outfits sourced from charity shops and eBay tell the ultimate Wild West story in the car park of 53two with a live sound track of original country & western songs. Members of the audience who turn up in Western outfits get a prize.
18-28 July, 53two, 8 Albion Street, Manchester, M1 5NZ.
The Black Stuff
A musical about rubber. The Black Stuff tells the dark true story of how a bankrupt button-maker became one of the most important inventors of all time – and the terrible price he and his family paid for it. Featuring eleven songs, 69 rubber ducks and one condom gag.
Friday 13 July at 8.30pm, £10/£8. Cross Street Unitarian Chapel, Cross Street, Manchester, M2 1NL. Saturday 14th July, 4pm at Kings Arms Theatre