BELOW you'll find ten of the best theatre and comedy shows in and around Manchester throughout September and October. Not your bag? Well then how about the Top 10 Exhibitions or Top 10 Gigs and Concerts instead?
FAULTY TOWERS THE DINING EXPERIENCE | The Lowry | 1-4 September
This is one meal we wouldn’t want to review... When the audience become diners in the ‘Faulty Towers’ restaurant, pretty much anything can happen, especially with two-thirds of the show improvised. After sold-out runs at the likes of Singapore Raffles and Sydney Opera House, Basil and crew hit the Lowry for this immersive dining experience. Expect a seventies-style three-course meal with a whacking side of mayhem.
The Lowry, Pier 8, The Quays, Salford, M50 3AZ (7pm & 12.30pm; tickets £45 at thelowry.com).
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD | Bolton Octagon | 8 September - 15 October
She released second novel Go Set a Watchman last year but it’s inarguably Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, published 55 years earlier, that remains her seminal work. Bolton Octagon’s run of the Pulitzer prize-winning story - whose relevance is echoed in reports of racial attacks post-Brexit - promises to be a poignant one. The Octagon season follows with another iconic adaptation, The Winter’s Tale; celebrating Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary.
Octagon Theatre, Howell Croft South, Bolton, BL1 1SB (various times; tickets from £11 at octagonbolton.co.uk).
To Kill a Mockingbird
40th NEW YEAR SEASON | Royal Exchange | 8 September 2016 - 25 February 2017
The Royal Exchange turns 40 this year and, as ‘Regional Theatre of the Year 2016’ winner, is doing it in style. Celebrating four decades of unforgettable drama, and the appointment of new Executive Director Mark Dobson, the Exchange’s birthday season sets the bar with Maxine Peake in A Streetcar Named Desire - followed by a series of original, highly relevant plays like Wish List, Breaking the Code, Sweet Charity and The House of Bernada Alba.
Royal Exchange, St Ann's Square, M2 7DH (various times and prices; check the website).
MANDELA TRILOGY | The Lowry | 23-24 September
To have a ‘journey’ has become something of a cliché but Nelson Mandela’s - from freedom fighter though imprisonment for 27 years and to President of South Africa - merits the term, being arguably one of the most inspiring ever told. Cape Town Opera pays tribute to the revolutionary’s life; told in three parts by a cast of over 60 performers and the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra.
The Lowry, Pier 8, Salford Quays, M50 3AZ (2.30pm & 7.30pm; tickets from £23 at thelowry.com).
ORBIT 2016 | HOME | 29 September - 19 October
Staged primarily in the intimate surroundings of its newly fitted-out Theatre 2, HOME's inaugural Orbit Festival will showcase eleven of the most exciting and critically-acclaimed productions from Edinburgh Fringe: from the poignant (A Gambler’ Guide to Dying) to the topical (Women’s Hour) to the absurd (O No!). The festival also includes workshops for everyone from mothers to would-be comics. Full programme here.
HOME, 2 Tony Wilson Place, M15 4FN (various times and prices; ticket pass available for £72).
JUMPERS FOR GOALPOSTS | Oldham Coliseum | 7-22 October
Barely Athletic are at the bottom of their town’s LGBT league. Yes, they’ve had their triumphs, like trouncing Tranny United, but let’s face it, Utd’s striker was wearing a leopard print mini skirt and the rest of the team were sporting stilettos. With such victories a rare occurrence, Coach Viv wants to up their game - but, with as many sharades going on off-pitch as on, can she keep her players’ eyes on the ball? Enter a small but stellar cast and witty dialogues aplenty.
Coliseum Theatre, Fairbottom Street, Oldham, OL1 3SW (2.30pm & 7.30pm; tickets from £18.50 at patronbase.com).
Tom Wells' Jumpers for Goalposts
DIRTY DANCING | Palace Theatre | 10-15 October
The eighties blockbuster is back in town, following two sell-out West End runs and two hit UK tours. When Frances ‘Baby’ Houseman stumbles across an all-night dance party whilst vacationing at a resort with her family, it’s not only the heady moves that catches her eye... as resort dance teacher Johnny Castle whisks her into the what will be the most challenging and triumphant summer of their lives.
Palace Theatre, 97 Oxford Street, M1 6FT (various times; tickets from £12.50 at atgtickets.com).
MISS SAIGON - 25th ANNIVERSARY PERFORMANCE | Vue Lowry | Sunday 16 October
You know those annoying occasions when you really want to see a show but the West End is still hogging it - or tickets sold out long ago? Vue at the Lowry has the solution, bringing some of the year’s most explosive events to the big screen. The cinema’s autumn season includes the 25th anniversary of Miss Saigon, the Royal Opera’s NORMA and National Theatre Live: The Deep Blue Sea.
Vue, Lowry Outlet, The Quays, Salford M50 3AG (various times; tickets from £15 at myvue.com).
SUSAN CALMAN | Dancehouse Theatre | Wednesday 19 October
Despite being of the funniest women in the UK (OK, the world), that doesn’t mean Susan Calman doesn’t have the occasional down day - frequent down day, in fact. Calman - patron of the Women in Comedy Festival, which starts tomorrow - will be in conversation with fellow Fringe performer and host Viv Groskop about Cheer Up, Love: Adventures in Depression with the Crab of Hate; her funny, moving and honest new memoir.
Dancehouse Theatre, 10A Oxford Road, M1 5QA (8pm; tickets from £8 at quaytickets.com).
GHOST | Palace Theatre | 25-29 October
Taking its inspiration from the Double Academy Award-winning movie, Bill Kenwright’s debut production promises all the emotion of the original; which was the highest grossing film in the year of its release. When a tragic encounter sees Sam murdered, his partner Molly is left alone and in a grave danger. Can a phony psychic help Sam - trapped between this world and the next - warn her before it’s too late?
Palace Theatre, 97 Oxford Street, M1 6FT (2.30pm & 7.30pm; tickets from £14.90 at atgtickets.com).