Today: Greater Manchester Fringe Special

Tune in to Hannah’s Bookshelf on North Manchester FM today from 2pm (Saturday 30th June) for a Greater Manchester Fringe Special! The Greater Manchester Fringe is a multi-venue open access arts festival, which takes place across Greater Manchester throughout July. There are hundreds of performances on this year’s programme (across 30 venues)  – on this week’s show I’ll be talking to some of the writers, directors and performers who are taking part.

Here’s what’s coming up on the show…

Once a Year on Blackpool Sands

Set in Blackpool 1953, not long after the Coronation, this real-life true story is packed with gritty northern comedy coupled with a heartbreaking emotional punch. Yorkshire miners and secret lovers Eddie and Tommy head to Blackpool with most of their town for the annual wakes holiday. As events unfold, Eddie will reveal a shocking truth, leading to his lifetime fight for LGBT Pride. I spoke to cast members Wendy Laurence James(Gladys), Macaulay Cooper (Tommy) and Kyle Brookes (Eddie).

A Surgeon’s Photograph

Rising Shadows Productions brings the premiere of this musical to the Greater Manchester Fringe 2018. In 1956 Robert’s father disappeared after a storm ravaged Loch Ness, 20 years later he is seeking answers. Haunted by the myth of the monster and facing questions of faith, sexuality and trust, the story is told with a mesmerising original score. I spoke to producer Ella Dufton to find out more.

Pronoun Trouble

While sitting in a lecture about a series of Chuck Jones cartoons, Ben’s thoughts drift off in various directions. Pronoun Trouble combines a fact-adjacent lecture about three great films with a ton of other topics that sometimes come to mind. I spoke to writer and performer Ben Moorabout the show.

 

King Lear (alone)

Join one of Shakespeare’s most famous characters on the heath as he battles his demons to come to terms with the destruction of his world and his own contribution to those tragic events. Using Shakespeare’s original words alongside new dialogue from writer/director Frank Bramwell, this unique and fascinating one-man play has captivated audiences throughout the UK. Now in it’s fourth year with Bob Young as Lear, the play returns to Manchester for 5 performances before moving on to the Edinburgh festival in August. I spoke to actor Bob Young.

The Big Things

The Big Things brings us into the world of Grace, a woman living to a different rhythm. When she and Malcolm decide to have a baby, the ensuing challenges leave her questioning everything she knows about life. Shortlisted for the BBC Alfred Bradley Bursary Award 2016, The Big Things is a tragi-comic play about love, parenthood, and defining and defying what it means to be normal. I talked to writer Mike Heath to find out more.

The Black Stuff

Rubber – a miraculous substance! But until Charles Goodyear came along in the 1830s, it was sticky and useless. In a race against his rivals and battling incredible odds, Charles turned natural rubber into a product that revolutionised industries around the world. Through theatre, art, humour and song, The Black Stuff tells the dark true story of how a bankrupt button-maker became one of the most important inventors of all time – and the terrible price he and his family paid for it. I chatted to writer/composer Holl Morrell, director Liz Kearney and narrator Andy Pilkington about the show.

On Behalf of the People

A powerful and engaging story of a post-war Yorkshire mining family coming to terms with their rapidly changing world and a new Britain, told with warmth, humour and authenticity. Tom Mason returns from the war to the arms of his grateful mother and fiancée – and to the bosom of the pit. On Behalf of The People is based on true stories and extensive research and was originally commissioned by the National Coal Mining Museum for England. I caught up with writer Ray Castleton to find out more.

Janet

Janet is an emotional, high-energy, poetically performed tragi-comedy, celebrating the life of Janet. A quirky look at trying to defy the inevitable and the struggle to be oneself using objects and unconventional puppetry (Janet herself is played by a lump of uncooked bread dough). A very human story told by objects with a dark comic edge – think Emmerdale meets Monty Python, plus a little B-Movie Horror.

Cheaters: A Play About Infidelity

One sordid evening, non-bachelors Kevin and Dave bring two married ladies back to their house for an evening of pre-meditated adultery. But very quickly things do not go according to plan… Echoing the classic farces by the likes of Noel Coward, but updated for modern audiences, Cheaters is a frantic, silly and raunchy take on marriage, monogamy, and infidelity. I talked to writer Lewis Charlesworth and actor Rosie Charlesworth about the show.

 

The Love Calculator

If ‘proximity x tolerance over time = relationship’ then surely there’s a formula for true love? Join Rosa as she uses playground maths and poetry to explore her misadventures in multiplication (and the inevitable divisions) as she attempts to find and carry The One… I caught up with writer/performer Rosa Wright to find out more about the show.

Hanging

One room. Two executioners. A convict, a man, his family. A big fat show. Tangled Theatre presents Hanging, M.W. Biasioli’s best-known tragicomedy. 7 and a half characters are reflecting on your existence. Looking for entertainment. Looking for a victim. I caught up with producer Elena Spagnuolo and actor Jasmine Oates to talk about the show.

 

Paisley

Paisley is a deeply personal piece of theatre focusing on culture and its development from a woman’s perspective. Set in the intimate space of the bedroom, it explores the societal problems placed upon us and the lingering scars left behind on our psyches. Paisley is about women supporting each other through real-life issues that a makeover can’t fix. I talked to writer/director/producer Andre Anderson to find out about the show.

You can hear all of these interviews today (Saturday 30th June 2018) at 2pm on North Manchester FM 106.6 (if you’re in the North Manchester area), or listen online (if you’re further afield).

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