Taking place throughout all of July at many venues, both big and small, is the Greater Manchester Fringe Festival. A celebration of new and emerging talent, it features 160 shows of various kinds, including theatre, music, comedy, and dance. Here are a handful of the best…
‘Black, And…’ at Gullivers
Playwright Jay Délise presents this one-woman show about growing up as a gay black girl in the USA. With both humour and anger, she tackles subjects like absent fathers, gender, body image, and many other topics that are central to the lives of queer women across the world. She goes through the highs and lows of discovering oneself and acquiring the tools to express that individuality. Born and raised in New Jersey, Délise is a published poet who has performed at the United Nations, the Pulitzer Center, and Carnegie Hall – with notable audience members including Lin Manuel Miranda.
Wed 10 Jul – Fri 12 Jul, Gullivers, 109 Oldham Street, Northern Quarter, Manchester, M4 1LW, Tel: 0161 819 2970, 6pm, £8, www.manchesterfringe.com/events
‘Woman on Fire’ at TMC Waterside Theatre
This original play will take you into the heart of a woman who was considered by the establishment to be one of the most dangerous of her time. Edith Rigby (1872 – 1950) was a mild-mannered doctor’s wife from Preston with a secret identity – that of a militant suffragette. The story covers the turbulent history of the suffrage movement through Rigby’s eyes, including the time she planted a bomb in Liverpool, and burned down a nobleman’s house. Was she a ruthless terrorist or an impassioned freedom fighter? This solo performance aims to let the audience decide.
Mon 15 Jul – Thu 18 Jul, TMC Waterside Theatre, Shena Simon Campus, Manchester College, Chorlton Street, Manchester, M1 3HB, 7pm/2pm, £12, www.manchesterfringe.com/events
‘Barred’ at Antwerp Mansion
Having impressed audiences last Autumn, ‘Barred’ returns to Antwerp Mansion for a handful of performances during this year’s Manchester Fringe. This intimate show invites you to eavesdrop on the conversations of bartenders Immy and Cal as they share a variety of stories about serving drinks to various pub punters. They’ll even invite you to get in on the action too by providing you with a complimentary beer to enjoy while you watch their tales unfold. ‘Barred’ thrives on its loose feel, inspired by an improv-heavy writing process that lends the show an authentic and naturalistic feel.
Thu 18 – Sat 20 Jul, Antwerp Mansion, Park Cres, Manchester M14 5RF, £10 (inc free shot + 2 drink coupons) www.manchesterfringe.com/events
‘Without Malice or Ill Will’ at The King’s Arms, Salford
This spoken word piece is delivered by Ray Castleton, a retired police officer. He tells of his early life as a miner and how he was persuaded to leave that life to join the Force. You’ll hear about his work during the miners’ strike, including the infamous Battle of Orgreave, when he had to confront old friends across the picket lines. Here, he faced divided loyalties between the duty to his oath, and to his community. The play ends with Ray reflecting on how the strike has impacted him and his family, some 35 years later.
Tue 23 Jul – Fri 26 Jul, The King’s Arms, 11 Bloom Street, Salford, M3 6AN, Tel: 0161 832 3605, 8pm, £10, www.manchesterfringe.com/events
‘Mémoires d’un Amnésique’ at the Anthony Burgess Foundation
Equal parts a piano recital, a one-man play, and surrealist film, this show looks at the life and work of the composer Erik Satie. He died in 1925 from cirrhosis of the liver, brought on by a lifetime of absinthe drinking as part of Paris’s hedonistic Chat Noir set. In 27 years, no-one else had set foot inside his apartment but when his friend cleared out the deceased’s belongings, he found evidence of a life of eccentricity, perhaps madness. The script is edited from Satie’s own words, with Alex Metcalfe, in character, performing Satie’s most famous works.
Sat 27 Jul, International Anthony Burgess Foundation, 3 Cambridge Street, Manchester, M1 5BY, Tel: 0161 235 0776, 7.30pm, £10, www.manchesterfringe.com/events
‘10 Things I Hate About Taming of the Shrew’ at The King’s Arms, Salford
This one-woman performance by Gillian English will take you back to the 1990s… and the 1590s. It’s a theatrical, comedic, listicle romp through the world of teenage Shakespeare film adaptations – and their lasting impact on a generation. By examining the constant retellings of the same stories from The Immortal Bard, Gillian delves into the sometimes problematic cinema of the recent past. Expect plenty of deep dives even further back in time to see how old prejudices have new faces. These female characters were written by a man many centuries ago, so should we really keep on recycling them?
Sun 28 Jul – Tue 30 Jul, The King’s Arms, 11 Bloom Street, Salford, M3 6AN, Tel: 0161 832 3605, 8pm, £7, www.manchesterfringe.com/events
Published on: Wed 19 Jun 2019