February brings us Chinese New Year celebrations, Pancake Day and St Valentine’s Day…but it’s not all about dragons, roses and Jif Lemon. Here are my picks for the Manchester theatre scene throughout February…
Kate O’Donnell -Big Girl’s Blouse (Contact Manchester)
Contact Theatre Manchester have a whole bunch of good stuff to offer as part of Queer Contact 2015 celebrating LGBT arts and culture in Greater Manchester. The event runs from Thursday 5th February until Sunday 15th February, to coincide with LGBT History Month in the UK. For the full rundown please check out Contact Manchester here.
Using humour, music, and high kicks, Big Girl’s Blouse tells the story of a girl, Kate, who was born a boy and became a woman. Who knew what being transgender was in the 1970s? Not Kate’s family. The path to becoming a woman doesn’t always run smooth and with a lifetime of coming out, Kate has had to use every trick- theatrical and otherwise – to get by.
- Created in collaboration with Olivier Award-winning director Mark Whitelaw.
- There is a post show Q & A on 12th February with Dr Rachel Morris (Cosmopolitan).
Kate O’Donnell – Big Girl’s Blouse will be performed on the 11th and 12th February at 9pm. Tickets are £10 and £6 for concessions.
Laugh Local (Chorlton Irish Club) – Friday 7th February
Laugh Local is held on the first Friday of every month at Chorlton Irish Club. This Friday, Justin Moorhouse is joined by Jamie Sutherland, Holly Walsh and Iain Stirling. It’s a popular night in South Manchester, doors open at 6:30pm and tickets are £12.00 on the door (that’s if there are any left)! The comedy commences at 8pm and finishes up at around 11pm. All this comedy and a (free) pasty supper included in the price – what’s not to like?
The Mist in the Mirror (Oldham Colliseum)
Oldham Coliseum are proud to present the world premiere of The Mist in the Mirror. The original novel by Susan Hill has been adapted for stage by Ian Kershaw.
Hill is very well known for penning the original novel for chilling West End smash hit, The Woman in Black. This new production promises to be just as unsettling and atmospheric and is staged as if the audience are eavesdroppers to a fireside ghost story.
Visual theatre innovators, imitating the dog, will be on hand to scare you out of your wits. Their visual antics will create an unsettling feeling, on stage and off, that might just follow you home at the end of the night …
Runs from Friday 30 January to Saturday 21 February 2015 in Oldham then tours nationally
Check out this creepy trailer:
Enough of the scary stuff – isn’t February the month of amour…
Top Hat (The Opera House, Manchester)
And so we move on to a love story to set the pulse racing, Top Hat brings us all of the glitz and glamour from Hollywood’s golden age.
With tap dancing a plenty and celebrating all of that 1930’s song style and romance, Top Hat tells the tale of Broadway sensation, Jerry Travers who dances dances his way across Europe to win the heart of society girl Dale Tremont.
It’s won three Olivier awards for Best New Musical, Best Choreography and Best Costumes and it features Irving Berlin’s most popular toe tapping swoon tunes – Cheek to Cheek, Top Hat, White Tie & Tails, Let’s Face the Music & Dance and Puttin’ on the Ritz.
How can we resist!
Top Hat runs from the 10th February until the 21st February at Manchester’s Opera House.
Moving on to our beautiful Royal Exchange Theatre – there are a couple of shows I want to tell you about…
Scuttlers (The Royal Exchange)
Scuttlers tells the story of Manchester in 1885 as workers pour into Ancoats to power the Industrial Revolution – this is the worlds first industrial suburb, the air is thick with smoke and life is lived large and lived on the street. The young mill workers, the living cogs on its machines form the very first urban gangs. Inspired by the Manchester riots in 2011 and the stories of all of the Manchester gangs between the nineteenth century and today. This new play, written by Rona Munro, promises to give us an artistic commentary on youth gang culture and the cyclical nature of urban violence. And I believe, there are plenty of references to contemporary Manchester through the language, stage design and casting as we watch a nineteenth century Ancoats collide with twenty first century sensibility.
Running from the 5th February until the 7th March 2015.
Yen (The Royal Exchange)
Anna Jordan’s Yen won The Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting in 2013 and is receiving its world premiere in The Studio at The Royal Exchange.
The play explores a childhood of living without boundaries, where you are forced to grow up on your own. It tells the story of sixteen year old Hench and thirteen year old Bobbie, who live alone with their dog, Taliban, playing Playstation, watching porn; surviving. But when Jenny knocks on the door, the boys discover a world far beyond that which they know – full of love, possibility and danger…
Yen is running from the 18th February until the 7th March 2015.
And finally a trip up to The Lowry for some quality children’s theatre…
I Believe in Unicorns (The Lowry, Salford)
We are big fans of Michael Morpurgo in our house – of course, he is the author of The War Horse and we have a lot of his books. This story, adapted by Daniel Jamieson promises to be spellbinding and moving, telling the story of Tomas – who doesn’t like books or stories of any kind. He would rather be enjoying the great outdoors, clambering up a mountain or tobogganing with his father. That is until the Unicorn Lady comes to town and reels him in with her irresistable tales…
I Believe in Unicorns runs from 19th February until 22nd February 2015.
What a lovely treat for a half term theatre trip – you can catch the trailer here: