Happy New Year! Welcome to 2019!
Despite the world seeming stuck in a perpetual purgatory of Brexit, Donald Trump and global warming, there is happiness to be found out there. I get my happiness from going to the theatre, an art form that continues to thrive during these uncertain times.
Whether you want escapism, culture, or simply an evening of entertainment, here are my picks of what theatre to watch in Manchester this January.
Friday 11th January – Saturday 26th January 2019
HOME is one of the most exciting venues in Manchester. It is a thriving hub of art, cinema and theatre, with a cracking restaurant and bar.
They also host an annual festival that shines a spotlight on emerging creative talent. Over two weeks, artists are given the opportunity to stage their works. The Push Festival has something for everyone to enjoy, from theatre to film, dance, music, workshops and exhibitions. Among the theatre being performed are brand new pieces, specifically commissioned by HOME. These include:-
Learning to Swim on an Ironing Board, from spoken word artist, Conor A, about learning to live with fibromyalgia. This is a story about ‘getting better at not getting better’ and the importance of telling stories.
Cuts of the Cloth, a dystopian work, which depicts a Muslim woman being archived in a museum to talk to visitors about her relationship with cloth. In a society where Islamophobia is rising, it is a haunting portrayal of a woman caught in the net of the ‘war on terror’.
Dance Away the Spiders, a piece of performance art which tells of trauma and resistance from the perspective of a refugee, as they seek liberation and a way out.
Sadly, there are clashes in the schedule so it is impossible to watch all the theatre in this Festival.
Click here to find out about the other shows in the Push Festival, and to get tickets.
Runs until 2nd February 2019.
The Producers is the Royal Exchange’s Christmas show and has been so popular, they have extended its run by a week. It was the best play that I saw in 2018. I loved it so much that I am watching it for the third time on Friday.
Failing Broadway producer, Max Bialystock and accountant Leo Bloom realise that they can make more money from a show that flops than one that is successful. They set out to stage the worst play imaginable, Springtime for Hitler, a ‘gay romp with Adolf and Eva’. Believing that it is ‘certain to offend all races, colours and religions’, it pushes the boundaries. Featuring tap-dancing Nazis, an overtly camp Hitler, and more sequins than Strictly, it is the funniest thing I have ever seen in the theatre.
Choreographed to perfection, with a fantastic ensemble cast, The Producers is deliberately controversial, shocking and insulting, yet absolutely brilliant!
Wednesday 9th January – Saturday 26th January 2019
‘It’s just a jump to the left…’
The Rocky Horror Show is a classic, firmly embedded in British culture. It’s time to don the corsets and suspenders and be transported into another world. With sweet transvestites and irresistible musical numbers, this show will have you out of your seat doing the Time Warp down the aisles. The audience are openly invited to heckle the actors, throw toast and a whole host of other customs that have become part of the show. It is an evening like no other!
It stars Duncan James (previously from boy band, Blue) as Dr Frank-N-Furter. It also features Ben Adams (from a1) as Brad Majors, and Joanne Clifton as his fiancée Janet Weiss. Beverley Callard (Liz McDonald from Corrie) steps into the narrator’s shoes for the Mancunian audience.
The Rocky Horror Show is always a great night out and never disappoints. Its enduring popularity is a true testament of Richard O’Brien’s genius.
Click here for tickets.
Thursday 17th January – Sunday 10th February
Part immersive, part musical clubbing experience, Club Mex sounds really exciting and completely different to a standard play.
It is produced by Global Musicals, who are also behind the critically acclaimed musical Six, and written by an emerging stand-up comedian, Tamar Broadbent. Club Mex is a coming of age comedy about the highs, lows, and hangovers of Cancun, Mexico.
It seems that Hope Mill Theatre are showing, once again, that they are committed to staging some of Manchester’s most innovative and contemporary theatre. This is a theatre that always excites me.
Click here for tickets.
Obviously, these are not the only productions in Manchester over January. They are only a handpicked selection of plays that caught my attention most. Manchester has a vibrant arts scene that I am immensely proud of. I encourage everyone to experience it!