From customarily unmissable HOME performances to a Mancunian ode in the heart of Liverpool, the North West theatre scene delivers another world-class season in the second half of summer.

Here are some of its standout shows:

Vir Das: Wanted | HOME | Thu 1 Sep | 7.30pm | £25

Following an Emmy nomination for his latest Netflix stand-up special, India’s biggest English-speaking comic brings his world tour, Wanted, to Manchester with a show about freedom and foolishness from an authentic Indian perspective. Praised by the Boston Globe for his ‘mixture of audacity and humility’, Vir Das performs in an intimate setting for one night only as part of a sell-out international run.

2 Tony Wilson Pl, Manchester, M15 4FN, Tel: 0161 200 1500
IDENTICAL | The Lowry | Fri 19 Aug - Sat 3 Sep | 2pm/7.30pm | From £18

Based on Eric Kastner’s seminal novel The Parent Trap – best known as the 1998 Disney movie starring Lindsay Lohan –  IDENTICAL recounts the classic tale of long-lost twins who reunite and swap lives in a bid to reconcile their divorced parents. Directed by multi-award winner Trevor Nunn (Les Miserables, Starlight Express, Cats) with new music and lyrics from the writers behind the smash-hit West End show Honk!IDENTICAL‘s Salford season features accessible shows on 27/28 August with audio descriptions and BSL-assisted performances.

 

The Quays, Salford, M50 3AZ, Tel: 0343 208 6000
As You Write It | Shakespeare North Playhouse | Fri 9 Sep - Sat 10 Sep | From £3.50

‘Bold, generous and confident’, As You Write It showcases three plays based on short stories from talented young writers, in collaboration with The One Show. The show takes place at Knowsley’s Shakespeare North Playhouse, a brand new £30m theatre complex opening this month, with its main amphitheatre modelled on Inigo Jones’ original 17th century cockpit-in-court design.

Prospero Place, Prescot L34 3AB, Tel: 0300 303 4204
New Dawn Fades: A Show About Joy Division and Manchester | Epstein Theatre | Wed 14 Sep | 8pm | £19.50

Celebrating its tenth anniversary, the brand new production of New Dawn Fades vividly captures the unique place and time in which Joy Division caught fire. Written by Brian Gorman, the show follows the four boys who rode the cresting wave of punk revolution to become one of the most influential bands of all time, while charting Manchester’s vibrant history against the backdrop of Ian Curtis’ haunting lyrics. Featuring a soundtrack of Curtis’ favourite songs, New Dawn Fades enlists several Mancunian icons to establish the setting for Joy Division’s rise: inevitably, Tony Wilson acts as spirit guide, whisking the audience along a timeline of Manchester’s resplendent growth, with cameos ranging from Friedrich Engels to Pete Shelley and many others, as they each help form a local yet boundless story of passion and grief.

Hanover House, 85 Hanover Street, Liverpool, L1 3DZ, Tel: 0844 888 9991
Brief Encounter | Bolton Octagon | Thu 20 Oct | 2.30pm, 7.30pm | From £15

Brushing – a little firmly – against the definitive parameters of ‘summer’ for a worthy entry, Noel Coward’s classic Brief Encounter arrives at the Bolton Octagon on 20 October. Directed by Paul Robinson and adapted for the stage by the groundbreaking former artistic director of Shakespeare’s Globe, Emma Rice, Brief Encounter follows the whirlwind extramarital romance of Laurie and Alec after, you guessed it, a chance meeting.

Howell Croft S, Bolton, BL1 1SB, Tel: 01204 520661
Words:
Wolf McFarlane
Published on:
Wed 3 Aug 2022