Against all the odds, the Fringe has returned with events at venues across Greater Manchester until 30 September. More than 60 shows are taking place throughout the month, including plays, concerts, and stand-up comedy. Many established writers and performers are taking part, and you’ll also find experimental pieces from up-and-coming artists. Below is a list of five of the best shows…

‘All Above Board’ | Salford Arts Theatre | Mon 13 Sep | 7.30pm | £12/£10

Chaos reigns in the brand-new play from the pen of comedy legend Nigel Planer (‘The Young Ones’, ‘The Comic Strip Presents’). Timothy has quit the world of banking to help the less fortunate. So, he recruits a geriatric artist, a shameless PR agent, and a narcissistic TV personality for a charity auction. The unlikely bunch of do-gooders lose the plot, their morals, and even their clothes, in this modern-day British farce.

Kemsing Walk, Off Tunbridge Square, Liverpool Street, Salford M5 4BS, Tel: 0161 925 0111
‘The Church of The Fall’ | Lock 91 | Thu 23 and Tue 28 Sep | 7.30pm | £7/£3

As a youth, Stephen Titley was a practising Christian. He’s now an atheist… and also a writer, actor, and stand-up. However, he misses the love and certainty that came from having faith. People often feel the need to believe in something greater than themselves, and for Stephen that thing is legendary local band The Fall. In this one-man show, he will tell a generation raised on Oasis about the wonderful and frightening world of Mark E. Smith.

9 Century Street, Castlefield, Manchester, M3 4QL, Tel: 0161 819 5444
‘The Formidable Lizzie Boone’ | International Anthony Burgess Foundation | Fri 24-Sat 25 Sep | 7.30pm | £7/£5

Lizzie catapults us through her life: from the torment of school bullies to recent events that led to a breakdown. A one-woman show, it features voice-overs that bring to life other characters, such as her supportive therapist and wild-child friends. The play touches on serious topics, but sprinkles in some humour and even a burlesque dance scene. Creator Selina Helliwell is also showcasing the coming-of-age drama ‘Fruit Salad’, which is available online (£8/£6).

3 Cambridge Street, Manchester, M1 5BY, Tel: 0161 235 0776
Comedy Double Bill | The King’s Arms | Fri 24 Sep | 7pm | £9/£8

Joanna Neary (‘Ideal’, ‘Mitchell & Webb’) brings her podcast ‘Wife On Earth’ to the stage. She stars as buttoned-up throwback Celia, who along with her equally quirky friends, will be discussing the history of ‘wifery’… whilst drinking wine out a teapot. Next, Ben Moor (‘The Queen’s Gambit’, ‘Man Down’) presents ‘Who Here’s Lost?’. This funny, melancholy, and surreal show is a look at what we value and what we make of our lives.

11 Bloom Street, Salford, M3 6AN, Tel: 0161 832 3605
‘Krapp's Last Tape’ | The King’s Arms | Sun 26-Tue 28 Sep | 7.30pm | £10

Samuel Beckett’s classic is here revived with Colin Connor (‘War Horse’, ‘A View from the Bridge’) as the sole character. Every birthday, Krapp sits down to record his memories from the past year. Now aged 69, he listens to some old recordings and hears of lost loves, disappointments, and fascinations. Sensing that the best years of his life have been and gone, Krapp begins to regret some of the choices he made.

11 Bloom Street, Salford, M3 6AN, Tel: 0161 832 3605
Wed 1 Sep - Thu 30 Sep, Various venues across Greater Manchester
A. James Simpkin
Published on:
Thu 2 Sep 2021